Machining with Robots

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Machining with robots helps manufacturers in myriad ways and is changing the way things are made. With applications in pick-and-place to welding to cutting to milling… the list goes on. However, a recent report from the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) highlighted some of the key developments occurring in the industry with specific reference to machining with robots. Unique applications identified in the RIA report include milling molds for the manufacture of hot tubs and mannequins, rapid prototyping, prototype castings, and cubing of engine blocks. For more information about what machining robots can do, have a look at our FAQs. 

Here at CNC Robotics, we have over ten years of automation experience and are ideally placed to help manufacturers keep up-to-date with these developments. For example, we have recently published a new case study on a project for a leading manufacturer of temporary kitchens and what this has meant for their business. 

CNC Machine or Machining Robot?

From experience, we know that one of the major benefits of using a robotic system versus a traditional machine is that a robotic system can result in significantly lower capital equipment costs than those associated with a large CNC machine. Furthermore, a robotic system can be installed for loading and unloading material which reduces labor costs. In addition, multiple robots can be integrated into a manufacturing process by installing two or more robots. For example, by integrating one robot with a machining tool and another with a gripper for loading and unloading, a manufacturer can achieve higher productivity and a significant reduction in cost when compared to the same application performed by a CNC machine.  

Robotic solutions offer flexible solutions to manufacturers. This allows manufacturers to expand the range of processes at a price point competitive with a traditional CNC machine. On average, the cost of a comparable robotics solution is, according to the RIA report, 1/2 – 2/3 of the cost of a traditional CNC machine. 

“Robotic machining is a growing segment. There is a need to better educate end users on how it can save money, time, and reduce capital equipment expenditures. If we can educate and show them how to reduce capital cost, increase flexibility, they are open to doing new things. Customers are starting to educate themselves and are beginning to come and request robotic machining.” 

Greg Garmann      Development Leader for Software and Controls Technology, Motoman 

What can machining robots actually do?

Even though machining robots are revolutionizing the way things are made, there remain uncertainties and misconceptions about what machining robots can actually do. According to the report, one of the main misconceptions about robots is that they can’t be programmed like traditional CNC machines and must be retaught for every new process. However, machining robots can be programmed. At CNC Robotics, we pride ourselves in not only providing manufacturers with automated solutions but educating our clients so they know exactly what their robot can do.  

“From the initial meeting with CNC Robotics we felt that our aim for being self-sufficient with our manufacturing and production would be achievable. Jason and the team have been very professional throughout the research, design and installation. Their needs and ours were discussed through each step to ensure the space required for the installation and manufacturing was obtained; while ensuring the safety of our operatives. The installation and training were swift, but very thorough. Although there was much to learn, we never felt pressured or confused; our questions were always answered. We were taught all we needed to know, with the reassurance there is always support at the end of the phone if we so need it. Since the initial installation we have developed the equipment’s use and have already started to expand our capabilities for production. We look forward to working with CNC Robotics in the future.” 

Thomas Downer    Production Manager, TKC 

The RIA report outlines key strategies for moving forward. Ultimately, a better understanding of automation is needed. Our expert team is trained and experienced using both traditional CNC machines and robotic systems and can provide advice on which solution is best for each manufacturer’s specific process. Sometimes a robot isn’t necessary, but when it is, we’ll help manufacturers get the most out of it and be there to provide support along the entire automation journey. 

Further information

Click here to read the original report.

Or contact us at CNC Robotics and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have about automation.

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