The ACG polishing module was developed
specifically to accelerate the process of programming robots for polishing
tasks. Using the software, the robotic system was polishing a newly taught
door handle in two days. The user teaches a few control points manually
and the software then generates a smooth continuous path that links all
the control points together. Both arc and line motions are created
automatically. Additionally B-spline curves are generated automatically
from a few control points. 100 points can thus automatically generated
from 10 taught control points. The system then allows the user to tweak
these points, if necessary. The polishing software enables the user to
customize the "stiffness" of the system for different work pieces,
materials and abrasive wheels.
As an extension to our polishing module ACG developed a four point ranging device
to record the profile of sections of the aircraft. The operator is required to simply move the robot to define four corners of a rectangular area of interest. The range sensor and support software does the rest.
The software determines the curvature of each of the "sides" of the rectangle by directing the robot to move along the surface. Range data is monitored and the surface normalize computed. From this, smooth trajectories are generated for the robot to follow. The trajectories are a sequence of points with their associated process parameters. The operator can play back and edit these points. The points are stored as program files by the control software. The files contain all the data to run the paint stripping process.
During program execution, the paint stripping process is adjustable through the pendant control. The operator can also "fast-forward" or "rewind" to repeat or skip a section. Automated vision sensing has also been employed to automatically adjust the paint stripping rate. The software has been in production, stripping paint off F-18 aircraft . A more advanced version, complete with a
Tele-robotic Interface and a CAD data interface was also developed by ACG and deployed. A variation of this system is also in operation at Schlage Lock, for robotic polishing of door handles and knobs.