sbavaturaIn this informative article we are going to assume that every casted piece must be deburred. As we both well know, the easiest way is to trim and shotblast the workpiece.

Unfortunately, more often than not, this process is not sufficient because it drastically increases a huge quantity of work for the operator who manually shapes all the edges of each piece by removing the cutting areas and lapping the surface.

This processing is carried out before and next to the shotblasting machine and then you are forced to create a wider working area, forcing yourself to create a deburring department.

Proudly, you organize an inauguration party…
… But the situation is worse than you think!

In fact, you have arranged a department that should not exist, because the deburring process was not included in the price of the piece and your business operating costs increase drastically and the end of year balance is terrible.

In addition to which, the departmental problems are countless:

  • The required skilled labour
  • The not constant deburring time
  • The pieces are all different
  • The pieces are not in conformity
  • The cost of the tools is not constant
  • The occupational diseases or work-related diseases

Let’s have a look together one by one and get a grip on the great problems you are facing:

Skilled labour
To deburr a piece the worker has to acquire dexterity and has to respect restrict specifications that most times are not known or he finds them difficult to follow…. After all to err is human

The worker must know precisely which tool he has to use on the piece. In other words, the worker must be specialised but unfortunately this is hard to find, so you are forced to include unskilled labour in you business.

Not constant deburring time
In terms of concentration and strength every worker has his own rate and capacity. The required time for the deburring of a piece depends on the worker. So to quantify the deburring cost is a very important problem and you understand that the data is variable and you can NEVER  have it EVER under control. High fixed and variable costs are associated with many uncertainties.

The pieces are all different
Manual deburring implies that each piece is done differently. The client receives many pieces similar, perhaps with defects that differ from each other.  For the client this may cause a sense of unreliability towards the manufacturer and raises boring complaints.

The pieces do not conform.

Manual deburring depends on the operator, his commitment and concentration. Maybe you will find pieces partially deburred or deburred too much that our client will reject.

The worst situation is when the client returns the complete parcel of goods to be checked, and its here that tensions may rise.

No constant cost of tools
Depending on the worker and his expertise, there will be different tool wear. Clearly, the most inexperienced worker tends to wear more material because he is not able to compensate the use…  and who is able to define his skills when the process is out of control?

Occupational diseases or the work-related diseases
The deburring operation needs the strength and vibration of the upper limbs, especially the hands and wrists and the handling of the piece creates the risk of back injury.

If such activities are extended over time they can be the cause occupational diseases.

The experienced worker, who we prefer for his consistency, quality and yield is often at home to rest for musculoskeletal disorders and diseases.

Then there are problems of noise and inhalation of harmful dust. All we need is a complaint from the employee and your goose is cooked!

What can we do without risking
to throw away all your production?

The smartest thing to do is to start robotizing the deburring process with a robotized deburring machine, although every time I talk with a client who has not acquired my machines, I am faced with a wall of distrust towards this kind of solution because he thinks that what he is doing is right.

To true…
But the situation is even worse!

The suspicious client may think that by continuing to do what he is already doing is right but really  he does not want to believe that shortly afterwards he is risking to ruin his company because the costs have risen to approx. 80% and his employees are working with extreme effort.

I also distrust those clients who, until today, have used the robotization of this process by means of a very simple machine. The unsuspecting entrepreneur (maybe even you) trusted his neighbour or my improvised competitor who took a robot with a standard milling tool and.. voilà….. the machine was made.

Unfortunately this is not enough!
On the contrary, it creates more problems than its worth…

The problems you find when you build a so easy and “homemade” robotic deburring system are the following:

  • Limited working capacity: a machine built like that cannot deburr the required areas.
  • Difficult programming: often the mill leaves more defects than before.
  • Difficult retooling: you have to change the mill and you cannot place it back in the same position, so maybe you have to readjust the entire programme.
  • Difficult to manage unforeseen burrs: a new burr clogging the mill presents itself and you cannot keep working.
  • Skilled programmer always next to the machine: your robot needs a skilled worker who is always busy to adjust the programme.

So this “suspicious” client (that could be you) has found himself a robot (already paid) which does not give him any added value, a worker anyway to pay and a robot programmer who must always be busy to review  plans and work programmes.

A client having the same problems as before
and who has invested time and money!

To solve this kind of problem, I designed and built special deburring systems (robotized deburring machine) and I have developed robotized cells AFC series, a system composed of many elements where each one solves a particular problem.

In particular in this series of machines we designed a 4-tool-revolver, building a complete series of tools to be used in a robotized cell.

Our revolver turret is a unit with 4 stations compensated with rapid coupling: you can equip 4 tools, each of which has a compensation system. You only need just a 17-wrench to remove and replace it. Every time you change the tool it goes back to the same position and you do not need to perform any programme-adjustment. 

Each station has a three-dimensional compensation system. By programming the robot you have only to check if the tool touches the piece and the quantity of chip removal is done by the force you set with the compensation joint

The trajectory of the robot has not to be perfect, because by having 4 workstations you can use different kind of tools, each suited to the area you want to work.

With the programme you set which position the unit has to be so it can be used in the most comfortable work position and which we can save cycle-time.

The tools available for these systems allow you to work evey area of your piece and for you nowadays deburring with a robot is synonymous with: “deep etch with a 12 mm mill”

With the robotized cells series AFC you can:

  • File the profiles with a tool from 4” to 10”
  • Mill etch with a tool from diameter 3 to 16 mm
  • Belt-grinding with tool large from 15 to 30 mm
  • Paper sanding the surfaces
  • Deburr with circular pad
  • File the extractors
  • Deburr the mould closing

Furthermore, the machine has a sophisticated software which allows you the following:

  • compensate the tool wear: the working pressure can be increased to raise the cutting capacity of the tool.
  • Oblige the worker to replace the tool when worn: the machine checks how many pieces have been processed and obliges the worker to perform a change.
  • Make the fitting easy and fast: the machine stores the retooling notes. It informs the operator in which position he has to put the tool and store each setting.

To get to these researched solutions, each tool has been closely developed with the client, in this way the client speaks with us about a problem and we construct the tool in such a way so that can be tested by the client himself, and he can try it out by working with it day and night for some time.

Then the tool comes back to us, we analyse it and improve its critical parts, making it perfect, powerful and effective for all types of work. Only in this way is the tool at the disposition of all entrepreneurs who do not want to waste time and money with “DIY” or “home-made” solutions by thinking about how to save money.

Nowadays by deburring with our systems you have the following advantages:

  • No skilled labour required
  • Constant deburring time
  • The pieces are all equal
  • All the pieces conform
  • The cost of the tools is constant
  • Occupational diseases are avoided
  • No limitation in deburring
  • Easy programming
  • Easy retooling
  • Easy handling of unforeseen burrs
  • Skilled programmer required only at the first programming

No skilled labour required
Once you have programmed the machine, it is the machine performing the work and guiding the operator: it changes its way of working to increase the life of the tool and stops forcing tool change, even alerting the worker  when he  delays  loading  the pieces.

Constant deburring time
The system is absolutely constant in its cycle time. Once the programme has been fixed, it works respecting this timing.

The pieces are all equal
Thanks to the compensation system the machine is always able to produce deburred workpieces in the same way even if these are different from each other in terms of size.

All the pieces conform
Thanks to the range of usable tools and the compensation system, the pieces that are produced always remain within the tolerances asked by the client. Furthermore, the machine never forgets to carry out an operation, as opposed to the worker.

In this way you avoid returned goods because of a bad deburred piece.

The cost of the tools is constant
The machine uses always the same number of tools.  Moreover, it uses 30% less than the operator and its wear is constant.  In fact you can reliably calculate the cost of the tool.

Occupational diseases are avoided
The operator is away from the danger zone, he does NOT have problems with the arms, back, posture and breathing. He must  not make an effort and he isn’t an important part of the process that makes the deburring cycle time.

No limitation in deburring
Thanks to the available range of tools and our constant growing experience, you can do any type of deburring. You’re not limited in using a milling machine, you can therefore use files, bands or sanding machine…

Easy programming
The tools are all compensated. You just have to bring the piece with the robot near to the deburring tool, move the robot into the working area and the programme is done.

Easy retooling
Each tool is fitted with a quick connection unit. You just need a 17 wrench and the rest is easy: there are no pipes to disconnect and you cannot mount the tool in the wrong way.

Easy handling of unforeseen burrs
Through the compensation system, when a burr is bigger than expected, the tool works more by automatically removing all material in excess.

Furthermore the tools are designed to be used with the robot and so have a higher cutting capacity than  tools used by hand.

A skilled programmer is required only at the first programming
The system is designed to be used by a “unqualified” worker. Every detail is designed to make the system easy to use and easy to retool.

Nowadays the dream of a robotized deburring system is a reality!

See you soon

Piercarlo Bonomi
The Main Expert in robotized cutting and deburring systems