Gate grinding, filing, polishing and other material removal operations rely substantially on physical labour and require skill and experience to perform correctly. These tasks seem difficult to automate due to their complexity and subtlety, according to a paper from ATI Industrial Automation. Removing material from curved, rounded or irregular surfaces presents several process difficulties that require a delicate touch.
Researchers and students at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute have found an answer to two of the world’s most difficult manufacturing problems. Along with Yaskawa’s application assistance and support, the team includes research and development specialists from Siemens Technology. These automation specialists devised a device that uses robots to remove weld seams from pipes.
A variety of companies require material removal procedures, which can range from minor finishing to the removal of heavy doors. Inconsistencies are widespread in traditional material removal techniques, which can put workers at risk of injury. By automating these procedures, manufacturers can dramatically improve employee safety while reducing costs and cycle times.
The use of robotic material removal techniques is spreading to other industries. This is because the technology is becoming more versatile and accessible. These advances provide the opportunity to innovate processes and methods to create safer and more flexible systems.

One of the most recent developments in robotics is called integrated compliance, which allows a robot using a tool to react in real time to changes in the work surface. It can be passive or more complicated, and can regulate a certain amount of force when precise processing is required.
The robotic weld bead removal technology has been created by a group of researchers at the Robotics Institute at the University of Michigan. Their goal was to create a reliable and cost-effective system. The automated method is able to quickly and efficiently remove material from tubular welded parts. The weld bead is first recognised thanks to external vision technology.
The Yaskawa arm can measure and react to the weld bead once it has found it using multi-axis information from an ATI force/torque (F/T) sensor. It can then decide how much pressure to apply and remove the bead with the cutting tool, and its compliance with standards is confirmed by a profilometer. According to ATI, the F/T sensor is essential in this application.
The manufacturers claim that the integrated compliance, whether active or passive, facilitates the programming of robotic applications and generates a consistent finish despite variations in the part or path. Using the force sensor, this robotic system detects, evaluates and rectifies the weld bead while continuously monitoring and modifying the cutting force.
A robot capable of quickly and easily measuring and removing a weld bead from an inside curve has been developed by researchers at the Yaskawa Research Institute in Japan. The researchers claim it can minimise safety risks, reduce cycle times and improve overall process quality. The active compliance system provides a closed-loop process for maintaining and adjusting force control.
Based on the information it gathers over time, the weld bead extraction system actually learns to improve. According to the company, adaptive solutions are necessary for low-volume, high-mix producers to remain competitive.
According to ATI, its F/T sensor enables active compliance and provides high-resolution readings in real time, allowing the robot to exert constant force on component features. This ensures a consistent finish and fast cycle times, which can save manufacturing costs and increase production. According to the researchers, the initiative contributes to the ARM Institute’s goal of driving US manufacturing through innovation.

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