Robotic mirror finishing KPV (key process variable) optimization in the aerospace industry
Ortiz, Walter Frank Pintor
Date of Issue2015
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
The Aerospace industry has a strong demand for high finish quality in metals, for providing better aerodynamic and mechanical properties, and therefore forcing finishing processes, like polishing, to reach new standards that manual operations are unlikely to deliver. Major concerns rise when performing a polishing process rise, such as repeatability, consistency in force applied and optimization in time. Special developed robotized solutions, utilizing fotce control, open an unexplored new window, providing alternatives of operation to improve surface texture characteristics when reducing time. Creating a system capable of producing surface with mirror finish quality is the strategy to be developed in this project. Thanks to methods developed previously for designing experiments, such as the Taguchi method, working parameters are encountered and tuned. Later, using the ANOVA method allows the class definition of the variables and their pertinence in the overall experimentation. Measurements may prove to be challenging as the instrumentation requires higher resolution. Profile measurements, as well as microscopic views, perform a path to understand the evolution and implications the working parameters have on the surface texture and specifically, the roughness average quality. Materials such as Stainless Steel, employed for aerospace, have common applications in the fabrication of exhaust collectors, stacks and manifolds, structural and machined parts, springs, castings, tie rods, and control cables; among important factors and depending on the operating environment, light alloys and metals with mirror finish quality can be used for almost any part in aircrafts. In this research, the author has placed great emphasis involving force control technology in industrial robots, design of experiments, Taguchi method, ANOVA analysis and mirror polishing processes.