Material removal is a manufacturing process involving the removal of excess material from a workpiece. There are a number of material removal applications including polishing, buffing, grinding, deburring, cutting, and milling to name a few. These applications can be challenging when performed manually as they require workers to have a high level of skill and precision. They can also be costly to companies since they can be very error prone through manual labor. These reasons are why manufacturers are turning to robotics in order to automate material removal applications.
Material removal robots such as the FANUC M-710ic/50 can be fitted with various types of end of arm tooling allowing them to be further customized towards a specific removal process. They can also be equipped with vision systems and force control systems providing them with the accuracy needed to consistently remove the correct amount of material from a workpiece without any deviation. The high level of repeatability provided by robots like the KUKA KR 16 help manufacturers to save on material costs. Manual material removal can result in errors, such as too much material being removed from a part. This may lead to increased cycle time to try to correct the mistake or the product being too damaged to be completed. With less time having to be spent to correct errors or to produce replacement parts for damaged ones, manufacturer products can reach consumers at much faster rates. This is just another on of the advantages to automating with robots
A Yaskawa Motoman HP20D can be easily programmed for the path to follow, amount of material to be removed, and the pressure to be applied to the workpiece. The programmability of material removal robots ensures accuracy is met with every product completed. Operation efficiency is significantly increased while production time becomes streamlined. The high level of repeatability of material removal robots results in uniform, high quality products for consumers.
Material removal robots are not only increasing product quality for manufacturers, but also helping eliminate the headache of high turnover and labor costs. Many material removal applications require the use of highly skilled workers. It can be very difficult to find these workers especially since these jobs are often viewed as undesirable due to their tedious, hazardous, and dirty nature. For example, deburring and grinding applications oftentimes involve repeated operation of heavy equipment. This can become strenuous on the worker leading to extreme fatigue and even injury. Workers can also be at risk of developing serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions from the inhalation of toxic fumes or particles that become airborne during these applications. Robots like the ABB IRB 4400-45/1.95 are designed to handle the messy and hazardous environments of material removal jobs without failure. In fact, one robot can do the workload of several workers while also requiring no down time. The savings in cycle time, injury claims, and labor costs are a huge driver behind the automation of material removal.
In an era where production demands are increasing due to the global market, manufacturers are turning to robotics to automate the material removal process in order to retain an edge on their competitors with increased quality and efficiency.