Cutting Applications


Robots are the perfect tool for many cutting jobs. Laser, plasma and water jet cutters are often used with robots. Due to the dangerous nature of these technologies robots are the obvious choice. Usually the cutting tool is placed on the robot and the part is presented to the robot by conveyor, turntable or manipulator. A second option is to have the robot hold the part and move it while the cutting tool is fixed.

A robot can have hundreds of cutting paths programmed into it and on later models CAD data can be fed directly to the controller. The excellent accuracy and path following capabilities give precise results time after time, in three dimensions and with greater flexibility than many dedicated cutting machines. As with many applications the ability of the robot to communicate with the tools with which it is interfacing is all important- the use of I/O or bus communications allow the robot, for example, to control the power of the cutter or change its own speed as required.

Typical robots for cutting applications have payloads of between 7-40 kg, or sometimes more if the part is being moved by the robot. In general terms we would advise the use of newer - 1994 and later - robots as this is when accurate path following became the norm. Robots can be mounted over the workpiece on a gantry if needed to increase the effective working area.

In this picture three ABB IRB 1400's are simultaneously arc welding and plasma cutting a part. Both processes will use similar types of robots as they must be fast, accurate and controllable. That is the speed of the robot will need to be varied depending on the cutting variables.