Polishing and buffing are finishing processes for smoothing surfaces of workpieces using an abrasive and a work wheel or a leather strop. 

Technically, polishing refers to processes that use an abrasive that is glued to the work wheel, while buffing uses a loose abrasive applied to the work wheel. Polishing is a more aggressive process while buffing is less harsh, which leads to a smoother, brighter finish. 

Polishing is often used to enhance the appearance of an item, prevent contamination of instruments, remove oxidation, create a reflective surface, or prevent corrosion in pipes, for example.

Finishing, Application Area, Nordbo Robotics

Finishing tasks are performed in the final steps of the manufacturing sequence and any defect in this process implies a rejection of the part, generating a big amount of scrap and generating a huge amount of energy consumption, emission, and time to manufacture and replace the rejected part. 

Polishing is one of the greatest manufacturing challenges. The process is essential in the production flow, however, it generates major amounts of defects on parts. The polishing process has not evolved during the last 30 years, while other manufacturing processes have been automated and technologically improved. Finishing is still mostly performed manually, especially in freeform surface parts.

Main challenges within finishing 

Force control and feed speed in the finishing process are technically difficult for human workers, yet essential to achieve the wanted finish.

Process know-how is essential, – use of abrasive, steps of the process, quality inspection in between and at the end of the process.

Solution bundle suggestion alongside our software platform that is tested within finishing

This solution bundle is a suggestion for a finishing process performed by a robot holding an object in hand and working against a rotating tool.

The finishing process demands a high level of precision and flexibility of the movements because in many cases craftsmen are working with small parts. In such cases, Mimic Kit is an ideal solution because craftsmen can record their movements down to small details.

In combination with the Force Torque Sensor or the Active Compensation Unit, it is also possible to embed the applied force into the movement.

These components are tested and validated within finishing application.

Tool examples

Finishing tools that are compatible with CraftMate platform

Surface Treatment - Finishing - Nordbo Robotics
Surface Treatment - Finishing - Nordbo Robotics

Application related features:

  • Abrasive wear monitoring and automatic compensation down to +/-5mu.
  • Precise control of force and motion combined.
  • Point-to-point for workpieces with less complex geometry.

Wood surface sanding

Metal finishing: dry-wet buffing

Sabina Kethelz, Director of Business Development, No Code, Nordbo Robotics

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