What Is Robotic Polishing and Why Is It Important?

September 6, 2017
September 6, 2017 Bend Plating

What Is Robotic Polishing and Why Is It Important?

There are two ways to polish metal surfaces: manual polishing and robotic polishing. Though manual polishing can be perfect for complicated parts or one-off processes, robotic polishing can provide smooth or grain finishes for large volume projects.

Here’s Why Robotic Polishing is Important:

Robotic Polishing is More Efficient than Manual Polishing

Manual polishing requires a labor intensive process. An individual will have to spend hours working with a coarse abrasive such as aluminum oxide or cemented carbide followed by a fine abrasive that will remove surface imperfections from metallic surfaces. Though this process can be time-consuming, it can prove beneficial for many small volume projects—such as prototypes—that require exceptional attention to detail.

Once a prototype is approved, however, it can be far more efficient to use robotic polishing. For high volume projects in the gaming, automotive, marine, medical, or dental industries in which a metallic object may need to be polished en masse, robotic polishing can provide a more efficient, less labor-intensive polishing process whereby a machine is programmed to complete a particular task and then replicates that task indefinitely.

Robotic Polishing is Less Labor Intensive than Manual Polishing

If you can imagine the difference between getting your car washed by hand or going through an automated car wash, you might be able to understand how automated polishing can be a better fit for large industrial projects where lots of metal may need polishing at one time. Using machines that can adapt to the size and shape of the object being polished, robots start by using a coarse grain abrasive and then progressively finer grain abrasives until surfaces eventually become perfectly smooth.

If a different consistency is desired, robots can use blasting or grinding methods to add texture to any given surface. Once the automation process is completed, manual polishing can be used to fine tune or finish items that may have complicated geometry or specifications.

Robotic Polishing Takes Less Time than Manual Polishing

Not only does automated polishing require less labor than manual polishing but it also requires less time. This is because there is no need for robotics to take a rest break or sleep overnight. Unlike their human counterparts, robots can continue working long hours without breaks until the project is completed. In general, automated polishing takes half the time of manual polishing, and can produce as much as 100-500 assemblies per week.

Only 10% of finishing shops currently offer robotic polishing. Bend Plating is proud to have manufactured metal polishing machines for use in high volume polishing processes. We have the greatest capacity for automated polishing than anyone else on the west coast and would be happy to talk to you about our large volume polishing options. Contact us for more information.

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