Design News, April 2013

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Automation & Control Source: FANUC Robotics A prototype robotic sanding tool from Aerobotix prepares to sand inside a combat aircraft inlet duct, using the integrated FANUC Force Sensor and ATI Quick Disconnect as part of the application force control solution. Calibration tools based on the needs of the specific application including local brain and volumetric brain calibration are also available, along with the ability to use secondary encoder control. Similar to a machine tool that typically uses secondary encoders to very accurately drive positioning accuracy, this feature has been added to robot systems so it can pinpoint the position of each joint and position the robot using that same type of feedback. Deflection compensation also provides advanced technology that allows the robot to adjust for its payload. If the tool is changed, for example, the robot can compensate for the effective gravity and also the contact force for the drill on the part. These features are built into the robots, so all of the secondary elements can be easily added to a system and it is less expensive than adding third-party solutions. Blanchette said integrating these accuracy elements into the OEM robot is critical to successful drill-and-fill applications. Additional tools are providing an extra level of robotic precision, including the ability to guide the robot with a metrology device such as a laser tracker. The laser tracker can be used to report back positional offsets, which command the robot to move to a better position than it is able to achieve on its own. Systems have been able to achieve position accuracies of better than 0.005 inch using these adaptive processes. Additional technology for drilling and fastening applications includes the development of CNC utilities to interface robot and CNC programs. In the aerospace world, engineers are used to implementing drill machines using CNC programming. FANUC has a CNC conversion utility, which allows a user to create a CNC program and, in downloading it to the robot, it automatically converts it to robot programming language. The result is that the operator doesn't need to learn to program a robot. DN For more information go to: Design News | april 2013 | w w w. d e s i g n n e w s . c o m –47–

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