We are stepping into the future by streamlining our manufacturing processes. The upgrade results in faster production, increased product range, improved product quality and economic use of materials. How are we doing it? Well, we’d like to introduce you to the newest member of our team at Center Stage Productions, our Industrial Robot! We’re staying ahead of the competition by utilizing cutting edge technology that enables us to push design and manufacturing boundaries. As a result, we are able to better fulfill our client’s visions and needs, from creative concept to completion.
The Robot Dramatically Increases Productivity
Our Industrial Robot arm is a multifunctional tool which we will use to carve 3-dimensional sculptures. Before the Robot, we utilized a 3-axis CNC machine coupled with hand carving methods to create 3D sculptures. This robotic automation fundamentally alters our entire industrial process, enabling us to produce and deliver projects faster, increase product offerings and delivery superior product quality, and eliminate unnecessary materials, which helps support our eco-friendly mission. This benefits not only us as the manufacturer, but our clients, too, as we have the capability to produce top-quality work with a quicker turnaround time.
The Robot Brings Clients’ Visions to Life
The Robot can move like a human hand and has the reach a human hand has. The Robot is being used to sculpt, cut wood, operate a spray gun and a variety of other production related tasks. An entire sculpture can be carved and created using state-of-the-art precise motion control, revolutionizing seasonal commercial décor as well as soft play park equipment.
The Benefits of the Robot Versus the CNC Machine
The benefit of the Robot is repetition; it can carve multiple units for us over and over again with the same precision every time. This creates efficiencies when our clients order several units of the same product for multiple locations in various regions. Another benefit is that the Robot’s cutting tool is kept perpendicular to the carving material and unlike 3-axis CNC machines, can reach any part of the sculpture. The Robot platform turns 360 degrees so it can work the entire hemisphere of a sculpture. It can create undercuts and access all surfaces, thus eliminating the need for post process labor. In the future we can place the robot on a rail system so he can work uninterrupted on a variety of projects over a long period of time.
After the R&D Department spent several months customizing the robot specifically for our clients’ needs, we began to use it to its full capabilities in December 2014. One of the most intricate designs we created with it is the tiger cub crawl-through sculpture at International Plaza in Florida. The 3-dimensional sculpture has undercuts, a tunnel and lots of detail. This was sculpted from one piece of foam, rather than multiple pieces sealed together.
We are using the robot now for the production of a seasonal decor prototype for a major shopping center developer. During the holiday season, shoppers will be able to experience this magical environment, created by our robot.
How the Robot Works
To dive a bit deeper, the process begins with our design team which creates images utilizing a state of the art 3D modeling environment. The modeling environment includes a plugin to create the movements for the Robot arm. To verify the generated data a second Software System is utilized to simulate and download the instructions to the Robot Arm Controller.
For more complex projects, our programmers first determine strategies of how to program the robot before it gets to work. In essence, the programmer’s job is to “teach” the robot what to do. We begin with simulating how to carve out a particular piece using our own human hand motions, in order to determine the sequence of motions we will instruct the robot to use. “It’s like riding a bike. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes easy,” said Rainer Schmidt, Project Engineer for Center Stage Productions. “The results are pretty incredible with detail and accuracy that are nearly impossible to replicate in that precision with the human hand,” concluded Schmidt.
The industrial robot arm decreases production time while increasing the quality of work. We are thrilled to be able to enhance the distinctive projects we are known for while expanding the boundaries of design for our clients.