Automate 2023

Labor Shortage Solutions for Surface Finishing

Labor Shortage Solutions for Surface Finishing

Satyandra Gupta, Chief Scientist, Co-Founder, GrayMatter Robotics

Many manufacturing companies are facing an acute shortage of qualified workers. They need automation technologies to speed up production and achieve consistent quality. Surface finishing represents a large portion of manufacturing operations. Sanding is a widely used surface finishing process during the manufacturing of parts made from metal and composite. Sanding is an ergonomically challenging operation. Traditionally robots are used only in mass-production applications. The manual programming of robots is economically not viable in high-mix applications. Therefore, sanding has remained a manual operation in high-mix applications. The advent of human-safe robots is enabling robots to collaborate with humans on ergonomically challenging tasks and amplify human productivity.  This enables robots to perform a large fraction of sanding operations and only requires humans to perform the final touch-ups. The availability of 3D vision and force sensors enable robots to operate without custom fixtures and accommodate part and fixture variability. These recent advances in robotics make it possible for robots to be used in high-mix sanding applications. This presentation will present an overview of physics-informed AI, enabling smart robotic cells to program themselves from the high-level task descriptions.  It also allows robotic cells to utilize sensor data to adapt the programs to deliver efficient and safe operational performance in high-mix sanding and polishing applications. These surface finishing solutions ensure quality consistency and increased productivity and enable manufacturers' production scalability. 

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