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Flex­i­ble robotic debur­ring cell for sur­face pro­cess­ing of vary­ing, com­plex components

GREENE TWEED, USA

THE CHAL­LENGE

The amer­i­can com­pany Greene Tweed pro­duces a wide range of engi­neered ther­mo­plas­tic and com­pos­ite com­po­nents in rel­a­tively small batches and value solu­tions that are adapt­able. Due to the large num­ber of vari­ants, it is impor­tant that the automa­tion solu­tions used can be flex­i­bly adapted and that dif­fer­ent sur­face pro­cess­ing tasks can be car­ried out. Because of that rea­son the engi­neer­ing team of Greene Tweed decided to design, install, and pro­gram a new robotic cell that can per­form a vari­ety of mate­r­ial removal tasks.

Greene Tweed’s Xycomp® is an extremely durable and light­weight ther­mo­plas­tic com­pos­ite mate­r­ial. It can be molded into a vari­ety of com­plex shapes, which makes it a desir­able replace­ment for metal in aero­space and sim­i­lar appli­ca­tions. While the dura­bil­ity and mold­abil­ity of Xycomp® makes it an ideal fit for the tar­get mar­ket, this com­bi­na­tion also cre­ates geo­met­ri­cally com­plex flash lines that are dif­fi­cult to remove consistently.

THE APPLI­CA­TION

Greene Tweed ini­tially removed the flash from small molded Xycomp® parts using a com­bi­na­tion of man and machine power; a UR cobot grips the part and a wire brush attached to a com­pli­ance mech­a­nism removed the flash, then the part was fin­ished with a man­ual debur­ring process. This worked well, and is still in use, but was not scal­able to the larger com­po­nents in the prod­uct range. As a result, larger parts were still deburred man­u­ally. This process was incon­sis­tent and took 15-25 min­utes to com­plete depend­ing on the com­po­nent and amount of flash pro­duced from the mold­ing step.
After becom­ing famil­iar with ArtiMinds at a trade fair, Greene Tweed reached out for assis­tance with their robotic deflash­ing process.

The Automa­tion Engi­neer­ing team from ArtiMinds sup­ported Greene Tweed by prepar­ing, review­ing and opti­miz­ing robot pro­grams remotely. Andrew Laich, Engi­neer­ing Super­vi­sor at Greene Tweed, sum­ma­rizes “It was a two-way-street part­ner­ship with ArtiMinds. That made it pos­si­ble for us to real­ize such a com­plex robot application.”

WHY ARTIMINDS

“It was a two-way-street part­ner­ship with ArtiMinds. That made it pos­si­ble for us to real­ize such a com­plex robot application.”

ANDREW LAICH
Engi­neer­ing Super­vi­sor at Greene Tweed

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THE SOLU­TION

To imple­ment the debur­ring appli­ca­tion for their geo­met­ri­cally com­plex parts, Greene Tweed used ArtiMinds RPS robot pro­gram­ming soft­ware. The intu­itive soft­ware, ArtiMinds RPS, gives the user an open plat­form to eas­ily design and imple­ment new robot pro­grams. With it, users can pre­pare pro­grams offline, set up the com­mu­ni­ca­tion between off-the-shelf automa­tion equip­ment, inte­grate log­i­cal con­di­tions, and val­i­date pro­grams through sim­u­la­tions before they are trans­ferred on the real sys­tem. The coach­ing and sup­port ArtiMinds pro­vided Greene Tweed short­ened their devel­op­ment time­line and gave them a soft­ware frame­work to grow into. 

Andrew Laich shared that, “Artiminds RPS allowed us to eas­ily cre­ate com­plex motion paths that could be used between mul­ti­ple mate­r­ial removal tools, as well as sim­pli­fy­ing the com­mu­ni­ca­tion between the robot and PLC, and HMI to cycle through dif­fer­ent tool­ing in the cell. In my expe­ri­ence there is no com­pa­ra­ble soft­ware solu­tion avail­able in the market.” 

Once deployed, the updated robotic mate­r­ial removal cell more than halved the over­all pro­cess­ing time for Greene Tweed’s parts and elim­i­nated all but the most minor post-process fin­ish­ing by hand. Thanks to the close and suc­cess­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion, Greene Tweed was able to sig­nif­i­cantly reduce their time­line to develop and deploy a fully auto­mated debur­ring cell. Choos­ing the right part­ners enabled the Greene Tweed team to build a pro­gram for their cell that meets their needs exactly.

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„Our inte­gra­tion team is now able to apply what they´ve learned to cobot-dri­ven man­u­fac­tur­ing solu­tions in the future. That´s enabling us to act even more inno­v­a­tively and flexibly.
In my expe­ri­ence there is no com­pa­ra­ble soft­ware solu­tion avail­able in the market.”

Andrew Laich, Engi­neer­ing Super­vi­sor at Greene Tweed

Take Aways of the debur­ring application:

  • ArtiMinds RPS sim­pli­fies path plan­ning for com­plex com­po­nents: With the CAD2Path fea­ture, robot paths can be gen­er­ated more accu­rately and auto­mat­i­cally based on CAD mod­els of the parts.
  • Inten­sive con­sult­ing and sup­port dur­ing plan­ning and imple­men­ta­tion of the debur­ring cell by the ArtiMinds engi­neer­ing team.
  • ArtiMinds RPS sim­pli­fies com­mu­ni­ca­tion between the robot, PLC and HMI.
  • Robot cell can be eas­ily adapted for fur­ther new processes: ArtiMinds RPS min­i­mizes pro­gram­ming effort and sim­pli­fies chang­ing paths and parameters.
  • Inde­pen­dent and flex­i­ble imple­men­ta­tion: the soft­ware allowed Greene Tweed to develop the robotic debur­ring cell inde­pen­dently and they can apply the know-how gained to future robotic man­u­fac­tur­ing solutions.
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ArtiMinds-Robotics-Handling-Anwendung-Bin-Picking-Bestückung-Siebdruckmaschine

GET STARTED AND LEARN MORE IN A FREE ONLINE DEMO

In just a few min­utes, we will show you how to plan, pro­gram, oper­ate, ana­lyze and opti­mize robot appli­ca­tions cost-effi­ciently, intu­itively and eas­ily with ArtiMinds RPS.

The non-bind­ing free online demo is the per­fect way to get a first impres­sion of the soft­ware, the appli­ca­tion port­fo­lio and if it suits your needs.

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