Sanding robot integration: How to modernize your sanding applications

July 13, 2023
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The benefits of implementing Sanding robots

Implementing Sanding robots in your operations can bring a multitude of benefits, transforming your sanding applications into efficient, high-quality processes.

When it comes to sanding applications, efficiency and productivity play a crucial role in meeting deadlines and satisfying customer demands. Sanding robots can work tirelessly without breaks and overnight, allowing for continuous operation and faster turnaround times. Multiple robots can easily be overseen by a single operator, allowing you to exponentially increase the productivity of your workforce and increase your shop throughput.

In addition to increased efficiency, Sanding robots also offer improved quality of work. Consistency is key when it comes to sanding applications, and Sanding robots excel in delivering uniform results. With their precise movements and ability to maintain a constant level of pressure, these robots eliminate human error and ensure a flawless finish every time. This level of consistency not only enhances the visual aesthetics of the final product but also contributes to its functionality. By implementing Sanding robots, you can guarantee that each sanding task is executed with the same level of precision, resulting in high-quality products that meet or exceed customer expectations.

An often overlooked benefit of using a Sanding robot is that thanks to the precise and consistent level of pressure applied, robots will often extend the lifespan of abrasives long beyond the lifespan achieved by even expert human operators. Workshops implementing robotics often see a 30-50% increase in the lifespan of their abrasives. 

Aside from extending abrasive lifespan, the high precision of Sanding robots also makes them ideal for applications that require intricate detailing and a flawless finish. Whether it's sanding intricate patterns on wooden furniture or smoothing out curved surfaces on automotive parts, these robots can consistently deliver exceptional results. Their ability to adapt to different shapes and contours ensures that every nook and cranny is thoroughly sanded, leaving behind a smooth and uniform surface.

Finally, Sanding robots offer versatility in their applications. These robots can be programmed to handle various sanding tasks, accommodating different shapes, sizes, and materials. This flexibility allows for greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness, as you can utilize the same robot for multiple sanding applications, eliminating the need for specialized equipment or additional manual labor. Robots equipped with vision systems can even switch up sanding routines based on the specific part they’re handling, whether it’s a large cabinet door or a small metallic part.

Key features of modern Sanding robots

In addition to their basic sanding capabilities, modern Sanding robots are equipped with advanced features that may help you adapt them to a workshop.

Advanced sensing capabilities

Some sanding bots come equipped with advanced sensing capabilities. Equipped with various sensors, these robots can detect surface irregularities, adjust sanding parameters in real-time, and maintain consistent pressure throughout the process. This level of precision ensures optimal sanding results, regardless of variations in material or surface conditions.

With their advanced sensing capabilities, Sanding robots can analyze the surface characteristics of the material being sanded. This allows them to adapt their sanding technique to achieve the desired finish. For example, if the surface has a rough texture, the robot can adjust its sanding parameters to apply more pressure and remove the imperfections effectively. On the other hand, if the surface is delicate, the robot can reduce the pressure to avoid damaging the material.

This is a must-have feature for high-mix workshops.

Collaborative safety sensors

Many Sanding robots come equipped with additional sensors which allow them to operate safely alongside humans. These are known as “collaborative Sanding robots” because they’re able to work in the same cell as your staff.

At a minimum, these robots tend to come equipped with the ability to recognize potential collisions and either slow their joint movements or come to a complete stop in a fraction of a second. More advanced collaborative Sanding robots may have advanced objection recognition or other safety features built in.

While these robots tend to have a higher unit cost than their less-collaborative counterparts, you do not necessarily require additional equipment like area scanners or safety fences, which consume shop floor space and quickly add to initial investment costs.

Easy integration with existing systems

Implementing a Sanding robot doesn't necessarily mean starting from scratch. These robots are designed to seamlessly integrate with existing equipment, minimizing downtime and retooling costs. They can be integrated into production lines or used as standalone units, depending on the specific sanding requirements of your application.

Often, Sanding robots will come equipped with relays for connecting directly to your existing systems. These robots are also designed to be compatible with various universal control systems, allowing for easy communication and coordination with other equipment. Sanding robot manufacturers will also tend to keep compatibility in mind with common accessories like conveyors or grit changers.

If you don’t have existing systems to integrate with, Sanding robots can also be used as standalone units, offering the flexibility to adapt to different production setups. Whether it's a small workshop or a large-scale manufacturing facility, these robots can be customized to meet your specific sanding needs.

Choosing the right Sanding robot for your application

Selecting the right Sanding robot for your application is a crucial step in modernizing your sanding processes.

Factors to consider

When considering a Sanding robot, several factors need to be taken into account:

  1. Application requirements: Evaluate the specific sanding tasks and materials involved in your application.
  2. Robot specifications: Consider factors such as reach, payload capacity, and repeatability precision to ensure the right fit with your application's needs.
  3. Programming capabilities: Assess the ease of programming and whether your workforce will be capable of instructing the robot.
  4. Integration flexibility: Determine if the robot can integrate into your existing workflow and with existing equipment.
  5. Budget considerations: Analyze the upfront costs and potential return on investment.

Top Sanding robot models in the market

While there are numerous Sanding robot models available, some top performers in the market include:

  • Standard Bots RO1: A versatile Sanding robot designed for small to medium-sized applications. Pair with the OnRobot Sander end-effector.
  • KUKA Fortec Ultra: A heavy-duty Sanding robot suitable for large-scale projects with demanding requirements.
  • UFactory Lite 6: A compact Sanding robot ideal for tight spaces and intricate sanding tasks.

Implementing Sanding robots in your operations

Once you've chosen the right Sanding robot for your application, it's time to delve into the implementation process.

Installation and setup

A successful installation and setup process are crucial for the seamless integration of Sanding robots into your operations. Consult with your robot’s manufacturer or experienced professionals to ensure that the installation is done correctly and effectively. A good supplier will work with your team to establish the optimal workflow and ensure that all safety measures are in place.

Training your workforce

While Sanding robots automate a significant portion of the sanding process, it is important to train your workforce to effectively work alongside these machines. Ensure your employees are trained in programming, maintenance, and troubleshooting procedures. This will empower them with the necessary skills to maximize the benefits of Sanding robots while embracing new roles in the evolving workplace and reducing downtime.

In conclusion, Sanding robots offer an innovative and efficient solution to modernize your sanding applications. From their precise movements and advanced surface sensing capabilities to the exponential productivity and consistent quality of work they bring, Sanding robots can transform your workshop output.

Next steps

Interested in bringing robotic sanding to your own business? RO1 by Standard Bots is the best choice for workshops large and small:

  1. Affordable: RO1 is the most affordable robotic arm in its class, starting at almost half the price of incumbent competitors. 
  2. Powerful: RO1 is faster and more precise than competitors, with the ability to repeatedly sand at a 0.025m level of accuracy.
  3. Compatible: RO1 comes with plug-and-play compatibility with the OnRobot sander, complete with a built-in grit changer.

Speak to our solutions team today to organize a free, 30-day onsite trial and get expert advice on everything you need to deploy your first robot.

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