Automating grinding processes for molded products

Grinding molded metal parts

Although a common application, grinding is one of the most complicated tasks when manufacturing metal components. The finished product needs to match strict quality, repeatability and reproducibility requirements – an extremely challenging feat considering the current shortage of skilled technicians and inconsistency of manually-applied pressure.

How to Automate Grinding: Vision Without Borders

Without vision, grinding is near-impossible to automate given the level of precision required. In this case, the manufacturer’s bicycle frame was a metal product created using injection molding. The semi-finished product often had uneven lines from the mold case that required a further grinding process to meet production standards. The flaws were often irregularly shaped and located at different points on the metal frame, which required gruelling manual grinding that often resulted in product anomalies or breakage.

Why Solmotion: 3D Matching Technology

Solmotion’s 3D matching technology allows an object’s profile to be compared with a golden sample or CAD model. 3D point clouds are generated to show an error map detailing locations of the production deviations on the object. Inaccuracies are afterwards used to derive a 3D path for the robot to follow with a grinding tool, creating a reliable process that limits rework or waste caused by substandard products and contributes to cost reduction over time.