Delcam GmbH will demonstrate the potential applications in the woodworking industry for machining with robots on stand C09 in Hall 12 at the LIGNA exhibition to be held in Hannover from 11th to 15th May. Live machining demonstrations will be shown on the stand using a KUKA robot programmed with the new release of Delcam’s PowerMILL Robot software for the programming of robots for multi-axis machining operations.
Robots can be a very cost-effective alternative to machine tools for many large-scale machining operations in the woodworking industry, including sculpting, signmaking, and trimming and drilling of panels. Especially when cutting softer materials, they can achieve levels of accuracy similar to CNC milling machines or routers.
PowerMILL Robot makes it as easy to program a robot for machining as it is to program a five-axis machine tool. As a fully-associated application inside PowerMILL, users have access to all the multi-axis machining strategies within PowerMILL and can use all the system’s project management options to manage, store and retrieve data.
The 2015 release of the software enables manual and CNC programming to be combined in a single program so providing the maximum programming flexibility. Other enhancements include improved collision checking, automatic avoidance of wrist singularities and the ability to generate robot programs from tape files produced in other CAM software.
In addition, the range of robots supported by the system has been increased so that it now includes KUKA, ABB, Fanuc, Yaskawa Motoman, Stäubli, Hyundai, Comau, Kawasaki Robot, Nachi and Universal Robots equipment, in all cases eliminating any need for third-party translation software.
The new functionality allows users to duplicate in the virtual environment teach-and-learn programming of the robot for linking moves. The model robot on the computer can be ‘jogged’ between positions where machining is to take place, in a similar way to the movement of the arm in the real environment. The programmed linking moves can then be integrated with the cutting moves to give the complete sequence of operations.
A singularity in robot operation occurs when collinear alignment of two or more axes results in unpredictable robot motion. Singularities must, therefore, be eliminated to maintain smooth, predictable machining. The new release avoids automatically wrist singularities, the most common example of this type of problem.
The improved collision checking in the 2015 release allows the complete NC program to be simulated in one operation so saving considerable time when compared to the previous method of checking each toolpath individually.
Finally, the ability has been added to import existing tape files from other CAM systems. Once imported, the toolpaths can be simulated and post-processed in PowerMILL Robot in the same way as toolpaths from PowerMILL.
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