Servicio de Información Comunitario sobre Investigación y Desarrollo - CORDIS

Customized roughing tool path automation and handling system

In order to control the process effectively through feedback from the sensors there has to be accurate control of the robot manipulator trajectory relative to the lasted upper and the shot blasting nozzle. The nozzle venturi is mounted on the end of a 40mm diameter high-pressure hose, which allows the nozzle to be positioned anywhere within the blast chamber. It was evident that the motion of the hose and the nozzle needs to be minimized to both reduce wear and tear on the hose and to reduce variability in the grit stream caused by excessive flexing of the hose. Each lasted upper has to be roughed in approximately 10 seconds and manipulating only the nozzle relative to the upper requires very rapid orientation of the robot end-effector, particularly around the toe and heel areas.

Furthermore, the wrist articulation of the nozzle twists the hose, requiring the robot to effectively unwind itself at the end of each process. For this reason it was decided to dynamically manipulate the lasted upper and the nozzle, simultaneously. By rotating the lasted upper much reduced wrist orientations were required of the robot and greater control of the nozzle was realized, improving the process and longevity of the moving parts, as well as simplifying the robot trajectory. The laboratory demonstrator has been successfully used to grit blast a large number of shoe samples with a wide variety of style. Synchronizing the rotary table with the manipulator motion has brought about improved performance.

The design of the handling system involved considerable evaluation. It was recognised that it had to capable of providing adequate support during both scanning operations and processing. The handling unit is mounted onto a servo-controlled two axis integrated rotary table and slide-way. The rotary axis is required to provide dynamic orientation of the work-piece during processing to avoid the need for the robot to have to undertake excessive rotations, which would otherwise be problematic for the unwieldy high-pressure hose on which the nozzle is attached. The linear slide is used solely for locating the work-piece in one of three positions, during operator mounting, scanning and grit blasting. A pneumatically operated clamping unit has been designed and constructed. The clamping unit is capable of accommodating a wide variety of shoe sizes and types. The localisation of the work-piece and integrated handling system is robust, and maintains its position accurately throughout the processing cycle. This feature is particularly important to ensure correct registration between the scanning operation and subsequent processing sequence.

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Herschel Building
United Kingdom
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