Minimizing the Melt - Robot Plastic Deburring

Jun 30, 2013

KUKA has created a solution for deburring plastics with their automation systems. They partnered with Roboter Technologie and offered their KUKA KR 15 that can cut and deburr in a single operation while adjusting to the inevitable shrinkage of the plastic material. This solution is very beneficial on a production line that needs to keep plastic production up and running.


No mate­r­i­al is exclud­ed from the pos­si­bil­i­ty of burrs, but plas­tics give debur­ring tools a run for their mon­ey. Plas­tics present quite a chal­lenge when debur­ring because of chip re-weld­ing. The high tem­per­a­tures asso­ci­at­ed with debur­ring can pro­mote the removed chip to melt and weld itself to the cut­ter or work piece if the cut­ter is dull or if the spin­dle speeds and/​or feeds are not cor­rect. There­fore, the feed rate of a debur­ring tool will usu­al­ly be high­er when debur­ring plas­tics to min­i­mize this phenomenon.

Plas­tics also have a ten­den­cy to shrink as they cool after they have been blow mold­ed. As the plas­tic is shrink­ing and cool­ing, cuts might have to be made in the part with edges need­ing to be deburred. Robots could not offer a sim­ple solu­tion to the dilem­ma of plas­tic debur­ring, since they are pro­grammed to cut along a path, not allow­ing for adjust­ments due to the shrink­ing of the material. 

Robot­er Tech­nolo­gie devised a solu­tion: a float-mount­ed unit accom­mo­dat­ing var­i­ous blades, such as straight, con­cave, and con­vex cut­ters. As long as the blade main­tains the prop­er cut­ting angle and con­stant pres­sure, the unit can remove burrs. 

KUKA part­nered with Robot­er Tech­nolo­gie and offered their KUKA KR 15 robot for the job. This robot can cut and deburr in a sin­gle oper­a­tion while adjust­ing to the inevitable shrink­age of the plas­tic mate­r­i­al. As soon as the part is posi­tioned, the robot begins to cut and deburr; the part can be rotat­ed as nec­es­sary so the robot can work on every side. 

This sys­tem and robot col­lab­o­ra­tion ensures cost-effec­tive­ness since time is saved and qual­i­ty is enhanced. Fur­ther, humans no longer have to put them­selves at risk or in a high-stress situation. 

Robots​.com pro­vides Inte­gra­tion-Ready KUKA Robots, along with Fanuc, ABB, and Motoman. If you would like to learn more on how to incor­po­rate a plas­tic debur­ring robot, con­tact us today online or call 8777626881.

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