"It’s more than it might appear to be." In build-up welding, a robot welds layer by layer. The assembled metal part is then placed in a Robodrill machine for the final milling procedure. This entire process can be programmed and simulated offline.
The project initiated by Fanuc and CENIT, deals with a process of this kind. A generative free-space process with standardized welding technology is to be combined with a well-proven metal-cutting manufacturing method. Robots and metal-cutting machines are programmed directly from the CAD data of the component using digital factory software. The software provides offline programming tools for additive processes as well as links between modern CAM strategies.
Additive processes have become attractive for numerous industries. In the repair of turbines and generators, for example, build-up welding was an established technique already before the term "additive manufacturing" emerged. Fanuc’s machines are proficient in handling the steps incorporated in these processes. Arc-welding robots, machine loading robots and CNC processing machines have long been part of factory automation.
Specially developed software is available for each individual process step. However, this software has always been developed and optimized for each of the respective types of machining or also for robot handling. The separate programming may cause a gap between each individual process step. To overcome this gap, an additional tool may be required.
At CENIT, we believe that there is be a better solution. Leo Bartevyan, Senior Account Manager, Digital Factory Solutions, explains, “FASTSUITE supports industrial processes by the means of OLP/PLM software that pursues a new approach. This approach sets the conditions for early-stage programming with exact parameters for each technology, conducted by the designers or the workpiece itself. The program would be created autonomously from the data as opposed to traditional programming of machines and robots.” In simple terms, the goal is to generate a robot path or a machining program directly from the provided CAD data. The software that Cenit is currently developing allows for programming and simulation of additive machining processes, independently of whether material is applied, transported or removed. Our product does not only question the existing programming protocols but intends to break them. What might look like a conventionally programmed process, is in reality much more than meets the eye.