Robot arms, commonly used for welding work in the car industry, have some applications in the furniture industry. More properly called transfer units, they may be used for moving work between machines, or in a modified form for furniture polishing work. In this application the arm is used to grip a spraygun and apply lacquer to the prepared furniture or components. The flow rate of lacquer to the gun is controlled by further automatic machinery. For these applications, the transfer unit may be programmed using the CNC system, or more simply 'led by the nose' through its appointed task. The unit is put into learn' mode and then an experienced craftsman sprays a sample chair with lacquer, using the gun fixed to the robot
arm. As he sprays the sample each tiny movement and each change in flow rate of lacquer is stored by the machine memory bank. The robot arm is now capable of repeating the task under power as often as required to spray a whole batch of identical items. The learning process has to be repeated for each new style of chair produced. One of the benefits of this method of finishing is that health hazards are reduced, since the machines can work away from occupied areas of the plant, and tolerate high levels of air pollution without harm.
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