Robotic machining feasibility study for Solidwool

Solidwool manufacture a sustainable composite material made with British wool and bio-resin. They use this beautiful and unique composite to create furniture, interior design finishes, and homewares. As a company focused on sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint of their products, Solidwool were interested in improving the efficiency of their manufacturing process.

A process of particular interest was trimming the excess bio-resin from the edges of their chairs after the moulding process. This excess material is a common and necessary feature when making many types of composite components. Trimming is typically done by hand using a disc cutter or with a CNC machine.

Trimming by hand is a time-consuming and highly variable process. The finish quality is reliant on the skill and dexterity of the operator, and mistakes can be costly. Although trimming with a CNC machine can produce a repeatable, high-quality finish, CNC machine costs can be inhibitive and have limited flexibility compared to multi-axis robotic solution.

We offered to run a feasibility study using our RoboMACH HA cell to support Solidwool’s investigations into the latest technology on the market. RoboMACH HA is a high accuracy robotic machining system for complex, large volume applications.

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Creating the robot programs in RobotMaster

The robot programs to trim the chair were generated using Robotmaster, an offline programming and robot simulation software. It minimises robotic programming time from hours to minutes by generating robot control code directly from CAD/CAM tools. Here are the steps that were taken:


1 . A CAD model of the chair was imported into the virtual RoboMACH HA cell, created in Robotmaster. Features such as fixtures were programmed to ensure they were avoided by the robot.


2. The cutting paths were created. This was done by selecting the edges of the chair. As trimming would need to be done in two parts using the rotary table, two paths were created.


3. A simulation was run to visualise the process and apply any adjustments to the cutting paths that had been generated, such as a tool path offset and Z-position.


4. The cutting paths were translated into robot paths by Robotmaster. Problems such as limits reached or collisions were flagged up by the software, and the paths were modified directly in the software.


5. The robot paths were assigned to a post-processer to handle the supporting functions such as the spindle RPM.


6. Finally, the generated robot code was transferred to our FANUC M800iA/60 robot.

Performing the trimming trial

Multiple passes were used in this feasibility study to assess the chair after each pass.

The robot achieved a high-quality, smooth finish. The results showed that robotic machining would reduce the amount of time and handling required to trim a chair, leading to shorter lead times and significant cost-savings. It also showed the high accuracy and repeatability of the robot would prevent parts from being machined incorrectly, leading to reduced process waste.

This feasibility study has helped Solidwool understand the capabilities of robotic machining, and how it could fit into their manufacturing process. The knowledge gained will assist them in planning their future expansion.


We want to make investing in robots straightforward, and feasibility studies are a great way to test the waters before committing. They allow you to see first-hand the level of quality and ROI that can be achieved with your specific product.

If you’re interested in a feasibility study for your own process, reach out and we would be happy to help!

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