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The seeing drill robot

Today, drilling and milling are standard applications for robots. But what happens if specifically prescribed parameters, such as the correct clamping position of the work piece, cannot be guaranteed? Even in a situation like this, the Dinamtrack system offers an impressive solution.


  • Precise processing, even on incorrectly clamped workpieces
  • High flexibility
  • Easy integration of robot, CNC controller and 3D scanner


Robot-assisted drilling of incorrectly clamped components

Spanish integrator eProject4 has developed an innovative automated solution for metal processing. The Dinamtrack system enables image-guided processing of complex components. Data exchange between the 3D scanner, robot and CNC controller takes place in real time via the Stäubli uniVAL drive interface.

The Dinamtrack project focuses on automatic drilling of holes into gearbox housings. The idea behind it is to allow the process to run fully automatically, even if the initial conditions do not fully meet the defined status. This means the holes should be drilled precisely, even when the gearbox housing is not clamped correctly.

This can only work with 3D image processing, which monitors the process and sends real-time data to the controller in order to run the process based on the situation. In essence, the robot has to be able to see. And for this purpose, the gearbox housing must be provided with reference points that the scanner recognizes.


Straight drilling even in an oblique position

With its Dinamtrack project, eProject4 has met these prerequisites – and also fulfilled two other basic conditions. The robot must work highly precisely. For this reason a Stäubli robot from the TX/TX2 series, in this case a TX60, is used. In addition, a direct real-time connection between the scanner, CNC controller and robot controller must be ensured. This requirement is met using Stäubli's unique uniVAL drive interface.

A look at the machining process makes the advantages of Dinamtrack clear. The robot, monitored and controlled by a 3D scanner, scans the holes into which threads are to be drilled. If the gearbox housing does not lie perfectly flat on the workpiece carrier, the robot detects the misalignment using data from the 3D scanner and tilts its tool into the drilling hole to enable perfectly vertical drilling. Thus the tool adapts to the individual position of the workpiece detected by the sensors.

This succeeds because the external measurement with the 3D scanner compares the actual position of the workpiece to the 3D model stored in the controller. The robot controller then receives the "offset" as input, which the robot takes into account when positioning the tool and during processing.


Flexibility and quality under all conditions

The combination of robot, CNC and scanner control would not be possible without the real time-capable uniVAL drive interface. Therefore, according to eProject4, Dinamtrack projects are also possible with larger robots, but only Stäubli robots with the uniVAL drive interface such as the TX200.

The “seeing” robot brings flexibility to the machining process. This offers significant benefits, especially when processing complex parts. In addition to the unique control concept, high precision and dynamics also speak in favor of using Stäubli robots. Another positive aspect cited by eProject4 is the cooperation with Stäubli‘s Spanish subsidiary, whose employees provided excellent support, especially in connecting the Siemens CNC controller to the robot using uniVAL drive.