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Robot for carbon fiber finishing: SandRob, the technological supremacy of Roboticom

Automotive, aerospace, transportation, design, sport equipment are the main sectors in which SandRob has amply demonstrated its production abilities, in compliance with all quality standards. Within the panorama of industrial robots, the SandRob multifunctional carbon fiber finishing robot, developed by Roboticom, is the only one capable of sanding, polishing, trimming and drilling carbon fiber complex shaped objects of any size, with fully automatic management of the transition from one operation to another.

Roboticom, a brand of Fabrica Machinale Srl, a pioneer in industrial robotics, brings robotic automation into delicate processing stages, traditionally carried out by hand, proposing innovative solutions to problems and limits that used to be considered impassable: Roboticom with SandRob has literally revolutionized entire production processes.

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Critical issues related to the processing of composite materials

The critical issues related to carbon processing have oriented production choices towards the use of skilled labor: the nature of this material, extremely light and resistant at the same time, is characterized by structural properties that require extremely accuracy in carrying out the finishing operations. Relying solely on the manual skills of some excellent operators has therefore always been a forced choice.

Thanks to SandRob’s numerous technological advantages, production managers can relieve man of the responsibility of the finishing process, moving employees away from strenuous work and unhealthy environment, due to carbon fiber dust, to new tasks.

When we talk about carbon products, most of the time we talk about components with such various and complex geometry that automation appears to be out of reach: and in fact, it is difficult to imagine of an automatic robotic system capable of working on shapes and complex geometries ensuring satisfying and repeatable results. For the first time SandRob brings the advantages of robotics in industrial processes that have always required great technical skills of the workforce but that are extremely strenuous, repetitive and harmful to humans at the same time. In summary, thanks to SandRob robotic automation represents a new and reliable production horizon, even when processing composite materials.

Main fields of application with greater penetration: automotive and aerospace

One thing that the aerospace and the automotive industries have in common is the frequent use of carbon fiber: the widespread use of this composite material is necessary to achieve the goal of high performances in terms of lightweight and resistance, especially for high range products.

With SandRob and its high innovative content, today Roboticom is the technological partner of important players in the automotive sector.

A success story: Roboticom for Dallara Automobili

Dallara Automobili represents one of the most prestigious excellence within Roboticom’s customer portfolio: Dallara has been designing and manufacturing some of the safest and fastest racing and road cars in the world for forty years. It is a brand that stands all over the world as a symbol of continuous innovation and exceptional performance in terms of aerodynamics. The exclusive use of carbon fiber and the growing production volumes have led Dallara to take into consideration to bring automation into their process, and that is when they came across Roboticom. Shortly after installing the robot in their R&D department, Dallara decided that SandRob could be used for production purposes.

The success of this installation is not only proved by production data but also and more importantly, by how well appreciated it is by Dallara’s employees who have easily started programming and managing the robot.

Go to video Dallara.

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The technological plus of multifunctionality

In Dallara Automobili, SandRob deals with trimming, sanding and drilling some carbon fiber car components of the new Dallara Stradale, switching from one operation to the other in a fully automatic way. The special feature of this installation is represented by the use of a waterjet for some cutting operations, which is selected and managed by the robot whenever necessary.

The flexibility of SandRob allows to integrate multiple finishing operations in a single workstation, equipped with a dedicated tool store, eliminating downtimes for re-positioning the part and thus being able to talk about efficiency not of the single phase but of the entire process.

A complete and flexible robotic solution that allows to obtain exceptional production results, high precision and repeatability on complex shapes. Analyzing the data provided by our customers, there is an increase in productivity which in some cases exceeds 70% and a drastic reduction in processing times, optimizing the use of consumables, such as abrasive paper.

These are some of the technological features of the high-performing robotic system SandRob:

  •  Selectable end-effector according to the process (rotating sander, random-orbital sander, shaped sander, polishing buffer, trimming router, waterjet cutting)
  •  Patented automatic end-effector and sandpaper change systems, with two stores
  •  Electronic speed regulation set by the software
  •  Different finishing results on the same piece, thanks to a compensation system that allows you to manage the force of the abrasive pressure on the surface
  •  Automatic re-adaptation of the sanding process with a sensor (touch probe or laser) according to possible variations of the shape

ARPP: the unique programming software is the real added value of SandRob

The technological advantages listed above are managed in a very simple way with the dedicated programming software ARPP, entirely developed in-house by Roboticom. ARPP is user-friendly, it guarantees rapid learning and minimum start-up times and it has specific functions specifically designed for each field of application of Roboticom solutions.

ARPP is a single software platform for all programming needs that allows you to completely manage the robot without the need to use other software. Thanks to its customized graphic interface, ARPP allows you to keep under control all the parameters of the process. This powerful software allows the robot to manage automatically the different tools needed to perform the finishing operations.

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Sanding: excellent results for SandRob

Thanks to the software that manages all the parameters of the robot, including the compensation system, the automatic paper change system and the transition from one operation to another, SandRob allows you to achieve excellent and repeatable results in a delicate process like sanding.

The advanced compensation system allows you to have very precise control of the applied force and speed, keeping constant both the pressure and the inclination on the surface for perfect adherence to the piece.

In addition to the automotive and transportation industries that we have already mentioned, SandRob has applications in other industrial fields: design and sports equipment are production areas where SandRob can boast important references and success stories.

SandRob and the use of carbon in the sports equipment and design sector

The research and application of innovative and high-performance materials, such as carbon fiber and other composite materials, is no longer an exclusive prerogative of “rich” industries such as the automotive and aerospace industries: today these materials are widely used in production areas more “pop” like design and sports equipment.

SandRob is able to perform finishing operations on a variety of equipment in the world of sport, such as surfboards, kitesurf boards, hydrofoils, paddles, fins, bicycle frames and hockey sticks and also in the world of design, such as furniture elements and objects made with composite materials.

Awards and recognitions

The excellent performances of SandRob are recognized not only by customers but also by other key players of the industry: Roboticom has been awarded by industry associations, trade press and other professionals. Among all, in 2018 Roboticom won the Robotics Innovation Award. The award was assigned during the exhibition MECSPE by a Scientific Technical Committee, that recognized the outstanding points of SandRob, both in terms of technology and impact on production and competitiveness for the applications of carbon surface finishing.

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