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Mass Finishing Q&A: Robotic or Dedicated Deburring Machine

Which deburring machine do you recommend?

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Q. We have a stainless part that needs deburring. Our deburring machine choice is a robot or a dedicated specialty automated deburring machine. Which would you recommend we purchase?

A. If production rates can be met by both systems and the pricing is relatively the same, I recommend the robot. We have sold the dedicated machines for years. Once the product is changed or discontinued, the dedicated machine becomes a boat anchor. If the burr is larger than average, the dedicated machine may not work and sending the part through the machine twice is not practical. However, dedicated machines produce large production rates and can be faster than robots.

On the other hand, an industrial robot is multipurpose, which is with declining product life cycles, improved quality requirements, deburring time cycle flexibility and reduced production rates.

Consider the average robot service life of 15 years. The dedicated machine may also last 15 years, but will the job last 15 years? Most U.S. manufacturers look for a one-year machine payback. If a robot is paid for in one year, there are 14 more years that it can be used for other projects. Flexibility is key. Manufacturing in the U.S. is moving toward specialty industries, more complex parts and less production.

Robots work well in these environments.

Originally published in the November 2015 issue.

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