Machine-integrated and robot-based grinding and polishing processes
Automated fine machining saves both time and money, particularly in the tool and die making sector, giving the predominantly small and medium-sized enterprises active in this branch of industry a competitive edge.
In the "Automated Fine Machining" division at the Fraunhofer IPT we develop robot-based and machine-integrated technologies and production systems for tool and die production, for the manufacture of turbomachinery and for medical engineering. These technologies create the conditions for the production even of high-gloss surfaces destined for use in both technical and optical applications. Grinding, lapping and polishing processes can be programmed and conducted automatically on free-form tools and molds using industrial robots and special-purpose force-controlled spindles and tool holders in conjunction with a CAD/CAM link. The aim of our research and development work is to achieve a significant reduction in the amount of manual finishing work required and to improve consistency along with time and cost reduction.
In the course of international research projects, we have completed a number of developments to date, including the following new systems and process technologies:
- An industrial robot, capable of reproducing kinematic features of human motion – with the added advantage of greater consistency and resilience
- Force-controlled spindles and tools which mimic human sensitivity to input and disturbance variables of the process
- A CAD/CAM module to implement an optimum machining strategy using a diverse range of tools, oils and pastes
- Machine-integrated grinding and polishing solutions
- Enhanced grinding and polishing processes even on ultra-hard steel and on alloys for turbomachinery.
- Optimized processes for the manufacture of plastic injection molds, for sheet metal forming and in the turbomachinery components sector
- Customized solutions for grinding and polishing tasks