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Delcam to present on robot machining at European Robotics Forum

Extensive trials of machining with robots were carried out within the COMET project

Delcam will present its latest developments in the use of robots for machining at the European Robotics Forum to be held from 12th to 14th March in Rovereto, Italy.  The Delcam presentation will include details on the eight-million-Euro COMET project for which Delcam was the Co-ordinating Partner.

The thirty-month project, which was part-funded by the European Commission under the Factories of the Future umbrella, aimed to overcome the challenges facing European manufacturing industries by developing innovative, robot-based machining systems that are flexible, reliable and predictable, with an average 30% cost-efficiency saving in comparison to machine tools.  Examples of applications where robots are being used successfully include sculpting stone and wood, machining of foam and resin models, and trimming, deburring, linishing and grinding of a range of materials. 

One of the key outcomes of the project was new software that makes it as easy to program a robot for machining as it is to program a five-axis machine tool.  With the interface software, robots can be programmed for tool-to-part applications, making them ideal for machining large parts, such as composite panels that need to be trimmed, or for part-to-tool applications, such as grinding or linishing.  The working area can be extended with linear tracks and rotary tables for even greater flexibility over the size and types of parts that can be manufactured.

The system can then be used to simulate the complete machining operation and to control the robot’s movements through different variables, such as axis limits, axis priorities and workplane constraints.  Various aspects within the configuration of the robot cell, such as axis limits, tool constraints and home position, can be defined, and the simulation of the robot completed within those constraints.

The robot’s working envelope can be displayed to optimise the position of the part or initial stock, and so give maximum access to the material.  The maximum range of movements required of each axis can be viewed to analyse the robot’s behaviour and movements throughout the operation.

Any issues that may prevent the toolpaths from being completed successfully are highlighted, with notifications of the robot potentially reaching axis limits, singularities and collisions.  Graphs display the axis limits, wrist singularity and axis reversals, to give a better understanding of how the robot will move.  Similarly, the acceleration and deceleration of the robot’s axes are shown on time-based graphs.

Once the results of the simulation have been reviewed, and modified if necessary, the program can be output in the appropriate robot native language, for example for KUKA, ABB, Fanuc, Yaskawa Motoman or Stäubli equipment, eliminating any need for third-party translation software.  Acceleration, smoothing values and other robot-specific parameters can be defined as part of the output.  Full support for external axes, such as rotary tables and linear tracks, can be included, as well as dedicated tools for spindle calibration.

10 March 2014

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