Big interest in cobotised sanding and deburring

On January 12, 2021, the COBOFIN project was officially launched. This is about the automation of sanding and deburring of small batches using a cobot. The project was explained to the supervisory group during a digital meeting and zoomed in on both substantive and practical matters. There were more than 20 participants at this meeting!

Project leader Jan Kempeneers explained the project in the first part of the supervisory group meeting: "The project aims to investigate to what extent cobots can be used to automate the sanding and deburring of small batches. Today these processes are characterised by a great deal of manual operations and are more difficult to automate owing to the small numbers. Cobots may be able to offer a solution here: they are flexible in use and - in certain cases - require a more limited programming effort. It is important to state that we are not focusing on eliminating operators. On the contrary, the operator is and remains the expert in sanding and deburring! The aim is to investigate how cobots can be used to support the operators as a supporting tool. We don’t start from scratch: in recent years, we have already built up extensive experience at Sirris in cobotic polishing and have been able to achieve good results. We are convinced that this should also be possible for sanding and deburring!".

Looking for applicable solutions for SMEs

The second part of the meeting was focused on the intended project results. Jan Kempeneers: "The project wants to focus strongly on translating the knowledge (obtained through research) into practical solutions that companies can use. We won’t only be looking at the technological feasibility, but also at the economic impact: can we use the cobots profitably for sanding and deburring? Ease of use plays an important role in this!" The members of the support group appreciate this approach and indicate that safety (in all its aspects) must certainly be included during the project: how are we able to ensure that operators and cobots work safely together?

The accumulated knowledge will be disseminated to the broad target group by means of investing heavily in self-experience and experimentation. Demos are being built and hands-on workshops organised: the users are able to experience for themselves how a cobot can be used for sanding and deburring.

Realising an impact at the companies

In the last part of the meeting, we zoomed in on how companies can set to work using the project results. Stijn Lambrechts took the floor: "Through the COBOFIN project we want to inspire and inform companies, but above all stimulate them to get started with the solutions in their company. We want to make a big impact with this project. Thus companies that have specific challenges with regard to cobotised finishing can contact the project team to see together what the next steps are."

Want to know more? Follow COBOFIN via its project webpage or contact our experts!

COBOFIN is a COOCK project, supported by VLAIO (Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.