Fraunhofer IPK

Institut für Produktionsanlagen und Konstruktionstechnik

Digital Transformation - Englische Ausgabe 2017


Simulation-assisted Design of Robot-guided Drag Finishing

Surfaces and edges on machined components often have to meet high standard requirements. The selection of an appropriate post-process is mostly carried out on the basis of quality and economic criteria. Besides conventional finishing processes such as grinding, brushing and polishing, mass finishing has established itself in the industrial environment. Scientists at IWF developed and patented a special mass finishing process known as robot-guided drag finishing. The scientists continue to optimize the procedure using a special simulation method.

All vibratory finishing processes use a bulk of abrasives called media. In the grinding process, the media and the workpiece move relative to each other. In classical vibratory finishing, both are set in motion using an unbalanced drive. The resulting relative motion cuts material off the workpiece. In the robot-guided drag finishing process, the robot controls the path of the workpiece through the media. This increases the material removal rate and allows a controlled processing of specific surfaces and edges of complex workpieces. This innovative robot-guided drag finishing was developed and patented at IWF TU Berlin. Robot-guided drag finishing offers a high kinematic flexibility in regards to the angle of attack, the trajectory and the immersion depth of the workpiece due to the six axes of the robot, and can be specifically adapted to the respective application. For technological investigations, a flexible drag finishing machine with two Rösler circular vibrators, R 220 DL, with a diameter of 1000 millimeters as well as a Walther Trowal circular vibrator, MV 21/3, with a diameter of 600 millimeters are available in the institute's test field as well as a centrifugal disc finishing machine. A 6?axis robot NJ 370, Comau Robotics, is used for workpiece guidance in drag finishing processes.

Simulation-guided Process Design

Since a direct observation of the vibratory process in the area of contact between the media and the workpiece is not possible, a suitable simulation is indispensable for an application-oriented process design. The engineers at IWF TU Berlin use the Discrete Element Method (DEM) to analyze the contact conditions for complex workpieces. This method has a great potential of increasing the economic efficiency for finishing processes of premium-quality workpieces with complex geometry. Moreover, the use of the Discrete Element Method (DEM) makes it possible to design centrifugal disc and rotary barrel grinding processes because engineers can calculate the relative movements and contact intensities between media and workpiece so that they are able to adjust the process parameters.

Robot-guided drag finishing at IWF (© IWF TU Berlin)

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