Category: Robot Application

Robot Application solutions for all manufacturing process from large automotive companies to small and medium size companies. Contact the experts.

Can Robot milling replace a traditional CNC machine?

Robot Milling

Robotic milling involves adding the flexibility to replace a traditional CNC machine

Robot milling can now replace a machine tool in certain applications, bringing a high level of flexibility to use different tools in the 3D space. Robots are capable of producing the highest quality complex and unusual geometries parts. For example, robotic milling systems can have flexible tooling for specific material removal.

Robot Milling can process a variety of different materials from alloys to plastics and from foams to timber. A robot is capable of milling any object of any size or shape by just adjusting the robot programming and end-of-arm-tooling.

We can find Industrial robots in a great variety of applications such as handling, welding, assembling and robot milling operations. Especially for machining operations, industrial robots represent a cost-saving and flexible alternative compared to standard machine tools. With the knowledge of interaction along the milling path, a general model-based path correction strategy is presented to significantly improve accuracy in robot milling operations.

Why working with an industrial robot?

Automotive Industry is using Robotics, where the robot usually execute a single routine following a set of 3d-Curves (circular or linear interpolations or PTP (Point to Point) movements). You just need to program the robot once to do the same operation for the whole lifecycle.

milling automation is a fairly new application for robots and not widely used. Programming is still a big challenge because the robot’s programming software does not support automatically programming of multiple tasks and spline-geometry.

With using CAM or robot simulation software, we have the advantage that we can use the CAM-strategy of contour milling, the end mill can follow the splines according to the surface normal.

 Robotic milling is advantageous in several aspects:

  • Increase Flexibility – Robotic milling greatly increases the flexibility of milling.
  • Lower Cost – Robot milling can be cheaper than CNC.
  • Through the flexibility in a workspace, the robot supports undercuts and can work from all directions.
  • A further advantage is the (non-cubic) workspace. In contrary to portal milling machines, a robot does not operate within a fixed frame.
  • Calibration and self-reference of the robot: the robot can reference its own position to the model.
  • Industrial robots can work in diverse areas as 3-D-printing as well as for milling or drafting.

CNC Disadvantages:

  • CNC machines require substantial space in the floor plant.
  • They are very expensive machines and the initial investment is greater than industrial robots
  • No skilful CNC machine operators and it is hard to find them
  • Technology is moving to smart factories instead of manual operations.

Robotic Technology

For a lot of people, numerically controlled CNC machines are what tends to come to mind when they think of automated milling machines. However, it does not mean that this is the only option or that robotic milling is less competitive than the traditional CNC machine. Technology has moved forward at a pace, and robots are now very popular for milling applications particularly when requires a large envelope.

CNC machine supplier intends to sell the idea that the specific, fixed position tasks are the solutions to the manufacturer. In this article, we are not talking about competing between them. CNC machines are very reliable in repetitive tasks once they had been programmed as well as robots are.

The traditional CNC machine very much has it’s place where high tolerances are required or for machining particularly hard materials. Nevertheless, in our role as an integrator, we need to look at the project being planned and guide our customer. Whether it be robotic or a traditional CNC we will recommend the solution most adapted to their needs. As mentioned earlier a milling robotic cell is nearly always a more economical solution where milling large work pieces.

At Phoenix Control, we design, implement, test and install complete robot cell systems. For example, milling cell, welding, palletising, assembly, painting just to mention some. Check also Welding tomorrow

Why you should invest in robotics & robot automation?

Robot automation & Robotics equipment

Robot automation & robotics equipment are easier to calculate the Return on Investment (ROI)  than when you are investing in a share or stocks market.  In fact, we can say that manufacturing is probably losing money if they don’t have robots in their automation process.

By 2019, more than 1.4 million new industrial robots will be installed in factories around the world. The strongest growth drivers for the robotics industry are found in China. So says the 2016 World Robotics Report, as published by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).

The current global leader in industrial robot automation is South Korea (478 units), followed by Japan (314 units), Germany (292 units) and USA (164 units).  See more Survey: 1.3 million industrial robots to enter service by 2018

Lower levels of robot automation investment among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) may be due to the concerns over the costs, although the falling cost of robotics technology may make automation more accessible to small and medium companies.

In which areas your business has the greatest opportunity for future investment in Industrial Robots & robotics equipment?

Manufacturing parts see an opportunity for automation, many other areas such as assembly, packing, machine loading and palletisation are also increasing. Therefore, these and others applications are increasing each year.  Companies may have the opportunity to invest where there is greater potential to increase productivity.

Why more and more companies are investing in robots?  Big enterprises as Google Inc. has been acquiring multiple robotics companies for over two years, but Google is primarily an online adverting company that trades. Others big enterprises as Apple Inc. and Inc. are interesting, but not pure investment plays in robot automation.

Companies would like to have more information from suppliers about how automation will improve their business before their invest in robot automation or any robot equipment, Phoenix would provide you with the most recent information to help you to take this very important decision.

Where does automation have the biggest impact?

Sectors indicating the highest levels of robot automation are heavy industry, medical devices and building products. Our economic also highlighted different between UK manufacturing sub-sectors.

robot automation

What areas will impact on investing in robot automation or robotics equipment?

There are numbers of areas that will increase when investing in robot or robotics equipment, some of them are:

  1. Productivity and quality of the products
  2. Consistency with minimum or none errors
  3. Better cycle time of manufactured the products
  4. The number of health and safety issues
  5. Increased waste created by the operation of the business

Our economic suggests increased in automation would not only have a positive impact but would also safeguard manufacturing jobs in the future and it would also benefit in creating new jobs opportunity in other related industries. People perception is that increasing automation has a negative effect on the manufacturing workforce.

See more interesting data and graph: Survey from Barclays “Future-proofing UK Markets”