An Analytical Model for Robot-Based Grinding of Axisymmetric Mold Inserts Using a Rotary Unit
The grinding of mold inserts used for injection molding aims to improve the surface roughness according to precise quality standards. The insert surface must also have a surface topography that facilitates the release of the plastic material at the end of the injection process. In particular, fine machining lines must be parallel to the extraction direction from the mold to avoid the sticking of plastic material and subsequent surface damages compromising the functionality of the finished product. However, this step in the production chain is most often conducted manually. This paper presents an analytical model to grind a truncated cone-shaped mold insert for the mass production of plastic cups. The automated solution consists of a flexible robotic system equipped with a rotating external axis to improve the accessibility of the tool to the surface to be machined. The tool path programming requires the development of an analytical model considering the simultaneous mot ion of the insert and the robot joints. The effectiveness of the developed model is evaluated in terms of final surface quality, grinding lines direction, and total process time. The automated strategy developed can be easily implemented with machine tools and applied to inserts with different axisymmetric geometries.