The milling process involves carving out a structure by the use of spinning multi-toothed cutters. Milling requires collaborative robots to make precise cuts and movements to produce the highest quality parts of different sizes and shapes through robot programming and end-of-arm tooling.
The result of prototyping and mold creation is achieved through milling robots and traditional Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines. A debate then ensues on which one between milling robots and traditional machines offers advantages.
Determining the winner boils down to their features and which one offers more benefits that outweigh the shortfalls. The result is not to replace one with the other but to develop new configurable technology.
Differences between Traditional CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Machines and Milling Robots
Robots are now able to do milling machining tasks, thus narrowing their differences with CNC machines. CNC machines have got an undisputed feature of accuracy. The following are specific tasks that one can achieve with CNC machines:
- Milling: Involves directing a rotary milling tool to remove layers of material.
- Drilling: This includes holding a drill to poke holes in a material.
- Turning: The machine directs a tool that removes material from rotating workpieces.
- Controlling a broaching tool that cut out polygonal shapes.
- Controlling a sawing tool to cut lines.
Below are some tasks performed by a milling robot, though the general tasks that a robot can perform are innumerable. One can produce various shapes and sizes and process different materials by choosing the right milling robot arm.
- Picking and moving around objects in the workspace
- Spot welding, arc welding, and resistance welding
- Picking and sorting materials by type through sensors
- Painting, coating, and pressing.
Advantages of Milling Robots Over CNC Machines
We compare the two and break down their differences by looking at the advantages against the other.
CNC machines are accurate to the fraction of a micron. One disadvantage of robots is that they are not as accurate as CNC machines because they are not as rigid. The accuracy of robots can be improved through calibration.
2. Working Space
Robots occupy an ample space in a given workstation. On the other hand, CNC machines take up a smaller cubicle of the workstation. Workspace issues with robots can be maneuvered by adding an external axis.
Robots perform multiple tasks in different production lines. One can move them around and program them to perform other tasks. Traditional CNC machines perform one specific task to perfection.
A robot can do milling, turning, and drilling at once while CNC only performs one task at a time. Unlike CNC, robots can maneuver complex passages.
4. Rigidity or Stiffness
Less stiffness leads to vibrations and deflections when they encounter hard materials, and this affects accuracy. Although robot machining handles soft materials pretty well, strong surfaces may affect their accuracy. Here, CNC machines win the case.
5. Value for Money
The advantage that robots have over CNC in terms of versatility and workstation space make them cheaper. Robot milling work cells are designed to accommodate other fixtures depending on intended usage.
Types of Robotic arms
- Cartesian robot arms are used to draw geometric curves into a graph using algebraic equations. Such robots have three joints programmed to follow three-dimension linear movements. They are used to position a tool either horizontally, vertically, or overhead.
- Cylindrical Robotic Arms have their movements to take cylinder-shaped space and are suited for assemblies, machine tool handling, and welding.
- Polar/Spherical robotic arms have got same features as cylindrical and are useful in welding, casting, and handling machine tools.
- SCARA Robotic Arms stands for Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm and are used in assembling and for picking materials. They combine rigidity and flexibility depending on the production line.
Functions of Milling Robot Arm
Researchers seek to incorporate the functional old the two tools by coming up with a prototype. The machining process run by traditional CNC is fitted with a milling robot arm. The aim is to achieve the accuracy of the machining tools.
With a milling robot arm, you can achieve any or more of the following tasks:
- Yacht robot milling
- Milling architecture on wooden surface
- Precision metal machining
- Robotic art milling
- Polystyrene milling
- Orthopedic milling
- Robot on a linear track
- Marble machining
- Robotic hot wire cutting
- Foam milling
- Carbon fiber milling
The Future of Robotics
AI, initialization, and automation are disruptive technologies that have unsettled our lives. What with their ability to complete tasks in no time. In reality, robots are enhancing jobs by releasing employees to attend to more significant tasks.
For the organizations, the robotics industry is experiencing a boom as they embrace the automation of their processes to achieve efficiency. Robots present speed, safety, quality, and socially distant surrounding. Future organizational training needs will delve into robotics.
Robot builders, on the other hand, are redesigning and fine-tuning their robot accuracy. Such improvements include software that will allow the robot to recalibrate itself. A lot of funds have been put into research to address calibrations and improve accuracy. The limited precision capabilities of milling robots stand in the way of earmarked elimination of traditional machine tools.
Milling robot arms offer flexible automation to manufacturers, whether small, medium-sized, or large corporations. Robotic milling abounds in several industries, including aerospace, automotive, model making, architecture, woodworking, fashion, motion pictures, and many other segments.
Milling with a robot arm allows accuracy and consistency. A milling robot arm is designed for use with all mediums, whether soft or hard. Milling robots can present diverse functions in a shop, unlike milling machines. Furthermore, a robotic arm does not require human control as long as it has been well configure.
Apart from the milling robot arm, robots come with various programming languages depending on the manufacturer. It is advantageous to use specialized software, which comes with additional costs.
Another essential factor to consider is the life and in-between maintenance. A continuously used robot arm requires lubrication and replacement of parts. The frequency of service also depends on models.