Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Prototyping with Industrial Robots

A shipping company must exercise patience whenever it needs a new a ship’s propeller: Its production is time consuming because a foundry workers must first fashion a model and a mold based on it. Industrial robots will support them in the future.

Ship’s propellers, parts for wind energy converters, turbine housings – such large-volume castings can only be produced with special molds. The procedure is elaborate and cost-intensive because foundry workers must still perform most of the work steps manually.

In the future, industrial robots will support skilled workers when they fabricate molds: Together with their partner firm Modell- und Formenbau GmbH Sachsen-Anhalt MFSA, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg have developed a procedure for this. “The robots produce large-volume models and molds faster and less expensively. Depending on the process, this can cut costs by up to a third.

Various tools can be combined flexibly with one another,” explains Torsten Felsch, Research Manager at the Fraunhofer IFF. The molds are milled directly out of a block – without losing time on a product model. KUKA Roboter GmbH in Augsburg is supporting this project: Thus, among other things, a standard KUKA robot is being utilized. The Fraunhofer researchers are scrutinizing the basics of robot use: Which milling path is optimal? How can algorithms be used to calculate it? What tools are best for robot use? Their colleagues at MFSA are implementing the findings directly in production.

Another method is often more cost effective for large quantities than direct milling: Since a mold is destroyed when a finished casting is extracted, workers first fashion a model of the casting to be produced, which serves as a pattern for molds. “The models are built up in layers. Usually, a worker saws out the individual sheets, bonds them atop one another and then machines the shape with a milling machine. Industrial robots will be able to take this over in the future,” says Felsch. How exactly does that function though?

First, the KUKA robot mixes a liquid two-component foam and applies one foam layer after another to the machined surface. Since an average layer is two centimeters thick, a relatively rough model of a casting is produced. Just as in direct milling, the software then supplies the milling parameters to the robot: Where must how much material be removed? What tool is best to use? The robotic machining processes are currently still in development. They could be supporting foundries in their work in one to two years.

Torsten Felsch | alfa
Further information:

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>