Taking It Off: Robotic Deburring

The majority of finished manufactured parts require some type of material removal process such as deburring, polishing or some other type of surface preparation/finishing. Robots have been increasingly implemented for these processes in almost every industry due to their advantages.

Robotic Material Removal Advantages

  • Improves quality & consistency
  • Eliminates manual applications, which are dangerous. (emitting harmful dust and fumes)
  • Robots are flexible which allows the material removal process to be applied to a wider range of applications
  • Reduces costs, energy consumption & scrap material
  • Shorter cycle times. Cycle times can be decreased up to 80%
  • Ability to access hard-to-reach places, such as small cavities & unusual contours with ease

Deburring is a process in which unwanted raised edges or small pieces of metal are removed from a part. Typically, manually deburring operations account for a significant portion of manufacturing costs, so the shift to robotics has been a popular choice for this process. In some companies, employees doing manual material removal are amongst the highest paid. Switching to robotic deburring work cells have a return on investment of approximately 18 months.

Servo Drives & Sensors

Robots have many of the same capabilities as machine tools. You are able to implement servo drives for the machine tool spindle, to control and track RPMs. Then the customer can define a number of different tools that are necessary for the various surfaces and finishes. A variety of sensors such as deflection plates or laser sensors can also be used to check the tool’s wear after each operation.

Workers’ Health & Safety

Manual deburring processes are extremely taxing on workers. There is a high amount of consistent force necessary to achieve the desired results and over time can be a risk to the overall health of workers. Robots have the ability to remove people from these time-consuming and repetitive processes while increasing the quality of your end product.

Removing Forward

Other material removal applications that are highly benefited from Robotics include metal grinding, polishing, sanding, milling, buffing, water-jet cutting, and many others. While robotic material removal is heavily used in the automotive and industrial markets, it is becoming more prevalent in other industries such as agriculture, aerospace, & healthcare.

Read more about Midwest Engineering System’s robotic material removal expertise in the featured article on Association for Advancing Automation.

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