ABB Australia has developed a 'Force Control for machining applications' which it has incorporated into a new Flex Finishing Cell. The result is an easy to use technology that challenges the traditional way a user programs a robot.
"The introduction of three Force Control (FC) functions, FC Graphical Programming Interface, FC Press and FC Speed Change adds a new dimension to the use of robots in machining operations," says Olivier Coquerel, ABB Sales Manager.
“The Flex Finishing Cell will be of particular benefit to casting companies, particularly those doing small production runs as Force Control features reduces the robot programming time by approximately 90 percent,” explains Olivier.
The conventional way in which a user programs a robot is to define the path and the speed which are constant and independent of the process forces. If the path does not coincide with the surface there will be quality problems and potential damage to the tooling.
Force Control for machining applications changes this with the use of the FC Graphical Programming Interface where the robot is made 'soft' so the operator can move it by to the correct positions defining the path and save these. The manually taught paths will now be used as the basis for automatic path learning.
FC Pressure will make sure that the robot will always follow the surface as the tool travels along the programmed path which can be linear or circular. FC SpeedChange will keep the process forces constant by changing the robot speed when the burr along a part line changes. This will keep the material removal rate below a maximum value when the depth of cut is increasing.
The benefits that Flex Finishing offers are:
- Ease use – fast integration due to the shorter programming
- Quality improvement in production with a reduced risk of damage to work pieces, tools and robot.
- Improved working conditions with minimised injury and health risks for personnel
- Lower costs due to the predictable tool wear and extended tool lifetime
- Higher productivity with the ability to handle variations in location of burrs and flashes
- Better process results due to the ability to control the process force
The ABB Flex Finishing Cell package includes:
- An IRB 140 industrial robot
- Function Package Force Control Machining
- A manual 2 station turntable
- Base plate that is 2 meters in height and width
- Tool buffer for use up to 5 tools
- Graphical User Interface (GUI)
- Human Machine Interface (HMI)