CR Solutions help bring stone masons skills into the 21st Century


CR Solutions were approached to help integrate into a production system, a Robotic
machining facility using Stäubli 6 axis robots and the latest Robotmaster CAD/CAM software.

Whilst there are other proprietary solutions available to the masonry sector, the contractual obligations of the Project demanded extraordinary levels of commitment from all the parties involved and the customer opted for a bespoke solution from a team of dedicated suppliers.

Converting CAD drawings into instructions that can be used to operate a robot arm is a specialized field and Robotmaster are recognized as the leading supplier of the software to make this transposition. The individual stones for the planters were works of art, with no geometric shape and the files necessary for the machining process were of such a size as to stress the software to new boundaries.

Machining robots are the latest introduction to the broad Stäubli robot range. They are capable of high speed machining; a spindle can be directly integrated into the robot forearm. The drive to the spindle and all associated services such as cooling and lubrication can be placed inside the robot arm, and connected to the various supplies via the robot foot. This design ensures a protection class of IP65 for the complete arm and IP67 for the wrist. The option of pressurization can be specified where required.

Stäubli’s VAL HSM software controls the robot arm and manages all required functions; Robotmaster/Mastercam software is used to import and translate CAD/CAM data, apply and optimize 6-axis robotic tool paths into Stäubli’s VAL3 language, which can then be used to control the robot. The sophisticated Robotmaster software provides the ability to program the robot arm as simply as a CNC machine tool and automatically generates the toolpaths, optimizes them for the specific robot model, detecting and avoiding any potential collisions with full visual simulation of the robot machining process.

Tests performed on various materials from alloy and stainless steels to Inconel 600 and aluminum have proved the accuracy and repeatability of Stäubli’s machining robots. Machining of the stone is no different to any other material in so far as the choice of tooling is critical to the accuracy achieved.

The stone machining demonstration at Stäubli convinced them that robots were capable of machining and sculpting of stone. Three RX270 6-axis robots were ordered complete with Robotmaster software. The design and construction of the multiple robot production facility, machining stations, spindle design and tooling were all carried out by the customers ‘In House’ teams, with electronic integration provided by C R Solutions.

Overall the end result was more than the reliability and innovation of robotics but that it proved to be a major fact in Heath and Safety avoiding the usual vibration injuries the robots removed this danger completely.

CR Solutions are helping to forge the way forward in Robotics and the many benefits they bring to Industry.