MicroStep has been intensively involved with robot applications for years
Continuous research and development in this area is the basis for a comprehensive product line of components for robot work cells – e.g. various types of workpiece positioners, gantry systems as well as standardized modular welding cells. MicroStep customers use robots to manipulate, weld, cut, or mill as part of the workflow on production lines or within stand-alone cells.
The MicroStep research and development team has always been fascinated with the enormous range of robotic arm movements
The potential to use robots as carriers of cutting technologies on CNC gantry cutting systems has been particularly significant – especially in the field of structural steel applications such as the cutting of beams, pipes or dished ends.
In addition to the mechanical challenges involved in integrating a robotic arm into the CNC cutting machine, the main task of the control system designers is to provide the robotic arm with a very different kind of kinematics and more motorized axes and cutting control requirements.
The cutting system can also contain other “standard” tool stations with different cutting, drilling or marking technologies that work alongside the robot.
For example, to achieve a seamless change between the cutting heads, the control of the robot must be integrated into the control system of the CNC machine, which is responsible for all the mechanical modules of the system.
Although robotic arm manufacturers equip their products with their own control systems, their implementation may have several obstacles – such as incompatibility of the communication interfaces, a too low refresh rate for the desired effector position, insufficient feedback speed, or problems in co-ordinating with other machine axes of motion.
In order to counter these challenges, MicroStep falls back on their developed iMSNC control system with its own control modules for robots, which work together smoothly with the rest of the system.
The solution takes into account mechanical tolerances of the individual robot joints as well as their movement specifics resulting from the robot design.
Microstep has already implemented a huge amount of these solutions
MicroSteps robotic projects include turnkey applications such as cranes, welding of high voltage capacitors, smooth-plate boilers or conveyor rolls, and milling of plastics, manipulation of cast aluminum moulds, a test cell for partial work line simulation, fully automated cutting of ceramic containers , Cutting samples of hot-rolled steel and much more.
MicroStep provided the complete cutting solution for the Luxembourg-based Jan De Nul Group, with a 12,000 x 3,000 mm bevel cutting, plasma cutting and oxy-fuel cutting zone and a robotic machining zone for exceptional dimensions.
For the “Villeroy & Boch” subsidiary Mondial, MicroStep developed a production cell consisting of, among other things, a high-pressure water jet cutting machine and a robot manipulator. Ceramic cisterns are cut, cleaned and dried in a fully automated system.
Waterjet Cutting with Robotics
Two individually developed solutions with cutting and robot technology
Waterjet Cutting System with Automated Production Line for Villeroy & Boch
For Villeroy and Boch, the premium manufacturer of ceramics for bathrooms, tableware and tiles, MicroStep developed a production line with a waterjet cutting system and a robot for the production of ceramic cisterns. By means of a high-pressure water jet cutting machine and a robot manipulator, the ceramic products are cut, cleaned and dried with one system – all fully automated.