Adding value to products using cutting processes is of fundamental importance for the manufacturing industry. However, in view of shorter product life cycles, increasing product variance and decreasing quantities, production processes need to become much more flexible. Industrial robots offer enormous potential as guiding kinematics for cutting tasks. Compared to machine tools, vertical articulated robots equipped with up to six axes have a better work-space ratio and cost less. In addition, the performance parameters that are important as far as cutting tasks tasks are concerned, such as speed, repeatability, absolute accuracy, handling weight and rigidity, are constantly being improved. The greatest advantage of using robots rather than conventional machine tools for cutting processes lies in the fact that they are highly flexible and can be integrated into the process (e.g. machining, handling, assembly). Complex workpiece geometries can be processed fully automatically without the need for re-clamping and cutting costs can be markedly reduced.
To promote the use of industrial robots in the cutting sector, Fraunhofer IPA is conducting studies on the robot-assisted cutting process. The research and development work aims at improving the vibration and displacement behavior of robots in order to improve cutting quality and accuracy.