What is robotic trimming?

Robotic trimming is when robots automate the process of removing pieces from working material with the goal of either dividing them, shaping them, or both. This tedious process is essential in order to prep these working parts for further steps in their production process and ultimately establish the final design for the part(s) being robotically trimmed. These trimmings must be consistent, even, and error-free in measurements. The precision necessary to get the job done correctly is the main reason why robotics are used for the trimming process.

Cutting robots can be implemented to automate the following types of robotic applications:

• Laser Cutting – Laser welding robots, such as the FANUC Arcmate 120ic, can double as laser cutting robots. This non-contact cutting method uses a laser beam to melt and separate materials.

• Plasma Cutting – Plasma cutting is another process that can be automated by industrial robots. During plasma cutting, plasma is accelerated at a faster rate to separate materials instead of welding them. Plasma cutting can only be used to cut through electrically conducive metals. The ABB 2600-12 is an example of a plasma-cutting robot.

• Waterjet Cutting – Robotic waterjet cutting involves using a high-pressure jet of water to wear away material until the material separates. This method produces clean and even cuts while maintaining a work environment free from dust or fumes. A waterjet cutting FANUC M10ia can cut through textiles, composites, and plastic. Metals and stones can also be cut with this method by adding an abrasive to the water.

• Oxyfuel Cutting – A combination of fuel and oxygen is used for oxyfuel-cutting applications to separate thick metals. Fuel creates a flame to melt the metal, while oxygen is used to push the slag away to reveal a cut. The Motoman MH50-20 is ideal for automating oxyfuel applications.

• Ultrasonic Cutting – For this process microscopic vibrations are sent through a cutting instrument, creating a powerful force of ultrasonic energy to produce precise cuts of both soft and hard materials. Ultrasonic cutting robots are very useful for cutting flexible material. The FANUC Arcmate 100ic can cut through food, foam, or plastic using this method.

The Benefits

  • Robotics allow for the trimming process to become streamlined and much more efficient
  • Cleaner cuts
  • Robotic technology is considered eco-friendly
  • Higher uniformity
  • Extra flexibility provided for modified cutting methods
  • Compared to other automated forms of cutting, such as waterjet cutting, robotic trimming is more affordable due to only needing to change out the blades on a moderate basis
  • High consistency of results

In summary…

Robotic trimming allows manufacturers to automate the tedious process of trimming various materials to fit their final design in the production process. The reason robotics have been chosen to be used for this process is because it allows for even and consistent measurements to get the job done right the first time, ultimately saving time and money.

There are various benefits as to why robotic trimming is a worthwhile investment for design businesses. This automated process allows for the trimming process to become much more streamlined, with cleaner cuts, extra flexibility for modified cutting methods, produces a higher consistent of results, and is considered both eco-friendly and budget-friendly compared to other forms of cutting that require parts to be changed out on a constant basis.

The biggest of these benefits, especially to the businesses utilizing them, would have to be the affordability of implementing robotic cutting. When investing in this technology, a return on investment will be realized quickly due to it having the ability to dramatically improve the efficiency of the trimming process, its ease of operation, and extremely high quality of cuts. From all of this combined, labor costs significantly plummet. Thus, the working environment becomes noticeably safer. These types of robotic trimming solutions are made to fit the design and/or manufacturing conditions they are placed in, as well as the materials being used in conjunction with them.

Overall, robotic trimming has many benefits that make the design and production of working parts and materials much more efficient, error-free, and affordable.