It has long been known that the most sustainable and productive manufacturers in Africa will be those embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). This is little wonder, as to not do so, would mean lagging behind global peers.

In an age when all that 4IR has to offer, like accelerated digitisation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, 3D printing and in particular robotics, no manufacturing entity utilising automation can hope to compete without being abreast of advances in these spheres. It is vitally important for a business to invest in equipment and processes that improve efficiencies to boost its growth and bottom line.

To endorse this, National Sales Manager at PFERD South Africa, Dennis Phillips said, “The most significant benefits of 4IR are around automation, including automating routine and repetitive tasks to allow for better productivity and efficiencies. The manufacturing sector is ideally placed to benefit from these advances.”

The challenges we face

South Africa does, however, struggle with the infrastructure required to ensure that what 4IR has to offer, can be implemented to its fullest capabilities. These include being able to educate people to have the technical skills to employ the benefits of 4IR, faster more streamlined internet connectivity and 5G mobile technology (which we are improving on) but having a reliable energy supply is vital. This is proving to be somewhat of a challenge for us.

S.A manufacturers who implement Robotics (probably the most meaningful addition to manufacturing operations) need to choose the most suitable consumables in order to maximise their robotic investment’s efficiency to optimise their operations’ overall productivity.

Abrasives in Robotics

Robotic applications such as grinding, milling as well as surface preparation and structuring, require a range of high-performance abrasives in order to have the desired impact on efficiency. PFERD, a leader in the development, production, support and distribution of high-performance abrasives can assist with the optimisation of automated processes by assessing the applications and advising on the correct tools to ensure the asset and investment reaches its full potential.

Professional tools for automated processes

  • Milling, drilling and countersinking tools – Applications for these tools include chamfering, deburring, rounding edges, machining cast parts as well as trimming fibre-reinforced plastics. The milling tools’ precision design and dimensional stability allows for the easy programming of robots while their performance and long tool life make them highly suitable for robotic applications because the frequency of tool changes is greatly reduced.
  • Fine grinding and polishing tools – PFERD offer a wide range of high performing coated and non-woven abrasives, suitable for numerous fine grinding and polishing jobs. Tasks such as automated stock removal, surface preparation and structuring can be done efficiently with consistent results.
  • Diamond and CBN tools – Due to diamond and CBN tools’ constant tool geometry, they are highly suitable for robotic applications within the foundry industry. Their hardness and very long tool life reduces unproductive idle time attributed of tool changes—making them ideally suited for the demanding applications within this industry.
  • Composite filament brushes – High quality technical brushes specifically developed for industrial, automated use. These brushes are particularly suitable for deburring complicated components such as cylinder heads and gear toothing.

Boosting the bottom line and gaining global recognition

The distinct advantage of robotic applications is that a workpiece can be produced and finished in fewer processing steps—resulting in less manual work and more consistent results.

Maximising the efficiency of business processes boosts local manufacturers’ bottom line and generates a better breed of SA manufacturers capable of competing on a global level.

PFERD’s in-house research and development, along with their experienced Application Specialists, have successfully optimised nu¬merous robotics applications to help reduce costs and optimise processes. They are also addressing education by providing free training to operators of abrasive equipment at their PFERDAcademy in Kempton Park, Johannesburg.

For additional information or to arrange an on-site product evaluation, contact PFERD-South Africa.

Source: PFERD-South Africa