Mastering Automated Deburring: Inside Norton Saint-Gobain’s Innovative Approach

In the realm of manufacturing, automating intricate processes like deburring is notoriously challenging. Predicting the distribution of burrs remains elusive, complicating automation efforts. Norton Saint-Gobain, a global abrasives manufacturer, confronts this challenge head-on by spearheading innovative solutions through its dedicated automation lab.

A Systematic Approach to Abrasive Automation Located within the Higgins Grinding Technology center in Northborough, Massachusetts, Norton Saint-Gobain’s APS (Abrasive Process Solutions) automation laboratory is a hub of methodical analysis. Here, a team of experts meticulously examines abrasives and tackles challenges like creep-feed grinding with precision.

The lab, established in February 2022, focuses on developing automation processes, often at minimal cost to participating companies. With a commitment to delivering two projects monthly, Norton Saint-Gobain has completed 23 projects in its inaugural year, maintaining an impressive pace.

Tony Landes, Manager of APS, emphasizes the dual purpose of the lab: to mitigate risk for integration partners and to enrich the company’s knowledge base. By minimizing risk, the lab facilitates smoother integration, while also advancing Norton Saint-Gobain’s expertise in automation solutions.

Harnessing Advanced Technology for Innovation Equipped with cutting-edge technology, the APS facility features observation and testing rooms, housing custom machines tailored for different automation approaches. These include part-to-media and media-to-part applications, facilitated by a robust FANUC R-2000iC robot arm capable of precise maneuvers.

Application engineers leverage their expertise to fine-tune variables such as spindle speeds, cycle times, and compliance, ensuring optimal performance. Through rigorous testing and data analysis, the lab refines automation strategies, drawing from years of industry experience.

Success Stories in Automated Deburring One notable achievement involves automating the deburring of gear teeth, a notoriously intricate task. Mike Shappell, Senior Application Engineer, led the development of a two-step process involving abrasive flap wheels and Sunburst bristle disc brushes.

Careful calibration of spindle speeds and brush engagement ensured precise material removal without compromising part tolerance. By stacking bristle brushes and optimizing rotational directions, the lab achieved exceptional efficiency, reducing cycle times to a mere 20 seconds per face of the gear.

Empowering Integration Specialists Armed with comprehensive data and insights from successful tests, integration specialists can design automated cells with confidence. By streamlining the integration process, Norton Saint-Gobain empowers its customers to embrace automated deburring seamlessly, marking a triumph for both efficiency and innovation.

Original source from MMS

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