Author Topic: Recomendation for Setting up Robot Plasma Cutter/Grinder  (Read 1830 times)


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Recomendation for Setting up Robot Plasma Cutter/Grinder
« on: September 10, 2019, 06:28:45 PM »

We are a architecture and construction firm in Arizona specializing in shipping container architecture. We also engage in art/architectural installation design and fabrication. We are looking to add a robot to our team, with the primary goal of utilizing it to plasma cut door and window openings into shipping containers. We will turn a container into a mobile workcell of sorts. The container side/top will open revealing the robot on a linear track; another container(the one to be cut) will be moved next to the workcell container; the robot will plasma cut defined openings; move container and repeat. We would also like flexibility to utilize the arm to be a flatbed plasma(within container). We have a few questions regarding the challenges in achieving the setup outlined.

1. Will an older KUKA arm work for this application? We have found a few machines and are leaning toward a KR150 with KRC2ed05 or a KR210 with a KRCed05. Will this controller and robot combo be sufficient to control the arm, add a linear track and control a plasma setup? Is there anther model/setup that you would recommend for this application?

2. Plasma cutting with a robot arm seams to be a far less common retrofit than a milling machine, are there any resources/tutorials of anyone setting up a plasma on an arm? We are cutting a vertical surface that is also corrugated so some sort of sensing or auto height control would be required. Can anyone advise to the challenges of such a setup?

3. Does anyone have a contact for an integrator (preferably freelance) that would be up for this challenge or could advise to the process associated.

4. Would KUKA/PRC be a valid method of coding this operation? We also looked into RobotMaster; can anyone advise to challenges/successes with either of these in a metal cutting application?

5. Any recommendations to EOAT solutions for plasma integration and or grinding/cutting. Would this be custom for the plasma or are there kits for such tooling attachment?

Any advice/guidance you all could offer would be greatly appreciated!

Thank You!

Johannes @ Robots in Architecture

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Re: Recomendation for Setting up Robot Plasma Cutter/Grinder
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2019, 07:33:48 AM »

That sounds super interesting!
Beyond some difference in regards to UI and interfaces, the main difference with newer robots is more memory, i.e. more complex toolpaths. However, where you might need many thousands points on a milling toolpath, plasma cutting should be less complex as you only make single cuts. KRC2ed05 is definitely a good choice as it's running Windows XP. My recommendation would be to take a robot that is already equipped for a seventh axis, so that retrofit costs are reduced. If you hire an integrator, though, they should of course be able to deal with that.
I'm not really a plasma cutting expert, however there were some relevant posts on the forum. Unfortunately I don't know an independent integrator in your area.
Regarding KUKA|prc I would assume that it works nicely. The difference to RobotMaster is that RobotMaster has got predefined cutting cycles while KUKA|prc gives you more freedom to plan your toolpaths and react to specific geometric challenges, e.g. from the corrugated panels. So it depends on what you are going for. You can probably just give each a try once the robot is installed.
As with most robot things, there are not many kits around, so you will need to create your own tool holder and interface.



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Re: Recomendation for Setting up Robot Plasma Cutter/Grinder
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2019, 08:10:42 PM »
I was working on this a while back and had everything in place but stalled on the ATHC.
My setup is a KR200C with a standard CNC type Chinese Z actuator and a Polish ATHC controller.
Intention was to use an Arduino to  sequence the initial, home the Z actuator, touch off, pierce height, and then cutting height. I posted on this forum a while back...
But I'm not good with Arduino - and then I discovered that my local laser CNC man would supply and do my cutting for less than I would pay for just the material.
However if you get an ATHC system working I'd be really interested to hear about it.