ABB innovation makes foundries more productive

2008-11-24 - A groundbreaking ABB robotics innovation has improved foundry machining operations by up to 80 percent and brought speed and quality consistency to machining applications. “This has the potential to impact our business more than any ABB product to date,” says a U.S. robotics integrator.

By ABB Communications

Foundry finishing is a complex process consisting of a set of demanding applications – grinding, deburring and polishing – that traditionally are performed manually or, when robots are used, subject to long programming times and limitations in speed and trajectory.

Both sets of disadvantages have been eliminated by the new ABB innovation. Known as Force Control Machining, the innovation has achieved some outstanding results:

  • 80 percent reduction in programming time
  • 20 percent reduction in cycle times
  • 20 percent improvement in tool life

    And, perhaps most significantly:
  • Improved and consistent product quality

    Robot with Force Control Function package
    The innovation combines several powerful elements into a single product package:

    IRC5 controller - the industry’s most advanced operating system for controlling robots and peripheral equipment – enables as many as four robots (36 axes) to be controlled at a time.

    A unique programming environment based on ABB’s FlexPendant handheld robot interface device enables the operator to guide the robot by hand and teach it the approximate path it has to follow. The robot automatically translates this into an exact path and generates a robot program.

    Pressure control software – FC Pressure - which enables the robots to grind, polish or buff castings to a consistent and high-quality finish by “feeling” and following the casting surface and maintaining a constant pressure between the tool and the surface.

    Speed adjustment tool – FC SpeedChange – enables the robots to deburr or deflash casting surfaces at a consistent speed, slowing down when encountering excessive burr.

    The combination of these elements results in faster programming, shorter cycle times and longer, predictable tool life. The previously labor-intensive finishing process and inconsistent quality levels are a thing of the past.

    “The force control product has the potential to impact our business more than any past ABB product,” says John Kuhn of the Rimrock Corporation, a U.S.-based premium supplier of automation products and integration services.

    Click here to read an in-depth article on the innovation in ABB Review (pdf, 0.38 MB)



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      Grinding process where the robot slows down when encountering excessive burr.
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