Robot polishing is a great way to improve safety, quality, and consistency of polished products. Both big and small businesses can use robots to improve their polishing tasks.
Polishing and buffing are finishing tasks that improve the surface quality of a product. An abrasive is run over the material, making it smoother, shinier, and sometimes more sanitary.
In the past, there were only two real options for polishing in manufacturing:
- Manual polishing — This involves using a power tool and running it over the surface of the material by hand. It is a very common approach, but can cause musculoskeletal problems and the quality can vary wildly.
- Autonomous polishing machines — These are like CNC machines with polishing tools instead of machining tools. Each machine is suited to a particular polishing process.
Recently, robots have become increasingly more popular for polishing tasks. Their flexibility and large workspace means that they can be applied to a wide range of polishing applications. They are also easy to reprogram for completely new tasks (not necessarily polishing tasks) which would be impossible for an autonomous polishing machine.
In this video a FANUC R-1000iA/80F 6-axis robot picks up four door handles and quickly presents them to the first of three buffing and polishing stations. The R-1000iA robot was selected for its compact footprint, high speed motion and energy efficiency. It is 25% more energy efficient than larger general purpose robots. A FANUC servo motor incorporated into ACME’s patented end of arm tool rotates the parts at various angles to ensure the entire handle and shank are buffed as the robot moves the tool across the wheels. The R-1000iA series includes a 100kg payload version. Both versions can be mounted on the floor or inverted to accommodate tight floor space requirements.
Here a FANUC R-2000iB/165F robot picks a running board from a fixture table and presents it to a series of sanding and buffing wheels to achieve a smooth mirror finish. During the process, the robot uses a gripper stand to re-orient the running board to ensure all areas are finished properly and consistently. This process utilizes multiple polishing and buffing wheels on each electric motor to maximize floor space, and minimize equipment and energy use. The robots six axis flexibility and long reach makes it ideal for processes requiring multiple stations and a large work envelope. The harsh environment created by the debris and high speed sanding and buffing motors makes it unsuitable for manual labor.
Contact us if you need a polishing and buffing robot.