Category: Robotic Milling

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Can Robot milling replace a traditional CNC machine?

Robot Milling

Robot 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, 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 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 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 – Robotic 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.

CAD-CAM Solutions

Phoenix Control Systems will guide through the robot automation and complete the project. We will design, implement and test the complete systems.

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