Robot-assisted machining of CFRP parts
Robot-assisted automation in the manufacture of small quantities: This challenge has been skillfully mastered by Darne Sport Composites S.L. in Spain. The company, which manufactures high value CFRP components for motor racing, wished to employ a robot for the milling and drilling of molds, models and CFRP components.
Darne designs and manufactures composite parts, predominantly for motor racing, this requires smaller quantities of products, including batches of just one. The product portfolio includes lightweight doors and spoilers. A carmaker looking to increase the top speed of a vehicle by reducing its weight and its aerodynamics will find highquality parts here that fit their requirements.
With the growing dissatisfaction with the existing solution for the production of molds and the machining of CFRP components, the decision was taken to purchase a new robot. The existing three-axis machining centre was unable to produce certain products to the required customer specification. The company was therefore looking for a system with additional axes that would be precise, flexible and easy to operate.
Milling robot replaces machining center
With the advice and support of the system integrator eProject4, Darne concluded that these requirements would be best met by the large Stäubli TX200 six-axis robot. The main factor influencing the decision was its flexibility: the robot is able to first mill the molds and then process the CFRP parts that emerge. The TX200 impresses most of all with its high precision. It produces molds with perfect surfaces and eliminates delamination and irregular edges on holes drilled in the CFRP.
Programming small batch sizes takes time and effort, having the ability to do this offline is a great benefit: while the robot is busy processing one part, work can begin on setting up the next job.
A robot of many talents
The above example shows that the TX200 is a true all-rounder among six-axis robots. It is proving itself in industrial contexts around the world – in mass production and at Darne where it processes one-offs as well as small batches with the same level of precision. Here, the high-speed six-axis machine with its impressive range of 2,194 millimeters confers the additional benefits of flexibility and straightforward (offline) programming.
The enclosed design of the TX200 has also turned out to be a plus. It prevents the abrasive CFRP dust from getting inside the robot where it could cause breakdowns.
With the TX200, Darne Sport Composites is able to produce a wide range of CFRP parts as well as the molds themselves quickly and cost-effectively. Furthermore, the robot’s six axes allow the company to develop and implement ever more adventurous shapes. This gives the design team additional freedom. The finish of the high-quality racing components has also been enhanced by the use of the robot.