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The intention of this project is to make a robot behave as a milling machine. The first part of
the project contains an intense study of the ABB IRB1600 robot, a 6 axis arm based robot. The second
part contains a study of how to machine pieces with the robot, comparing it to a 3/5-axis CNC milling
There has been an intense job using RobotStudio Virtual Controller (version 5.12.01) to
simulate different conditions to find the areas where the robot is faster and to find the cases where it
is more likely to find a singularity (it must be taken into account that when the robot is next to a
singularity its speed is lower).
As for the machining, it has been developed an executable application that links a standard
machining program written in APT code to the IRC5 RAPID programming (the robot’s controller). The
main task is to take the points and tool direction based on a reference and make them
understandable for the robot, using some criteria to find the TCP orientation around the cutting axis
(note that the robot has 6 degrees of freedom but when milling just 5 are necessary, 3 for positioning
and 2 for tool orientation).
There has been carried out two types of tests for machining. On one hand plastic has been
used to fully test the developed application with complete APT machining programs. On the other
hand aluminium has been used to make surface finishing due to it is slower to machine (robot
strength is limited).
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