Surface finishing processes are used extensively and have an extremely varied set of requirements based on the product’s needs and product’s material composition. These are skilled operations for a human that take years to master. As with many other skilled professions, it is running dangerously short of the master practitioners needed in this sector, and more and more companies are turning to automated systems for surface finishing tasks.
Scan&Sand™ system by Graymatter Robotics is a perfect fit for surface sanding and finishing. It is a combination of innovative technologies that can be delivered as per a customer’s needs. For this difficult task, Graymatter Robotics needed high-quality 3D vision. The application also demanded to have a 3D sensor light and robust enough, like Zivid Two, to be mounted on the arm of the robot, so that it can capture 3D point clouds from any position.
Scan&Sand™ offers repeatable superb quality sanding with consistent results and close to no dust and negligible waste and can do this up to four times faster than a human tradesman carrying out similar work. As their customer base has been looking for, the solution also provides the highest quality finished goods, no returns, and no waste.
Manufacturing drives our economy, and without automating surface finishing and treatment, there is a significant risk the global economy may suffer due to an increasing labor shortage." - Ariyan Kabir, Co-founder, Graymatter Robotics
Graymatter Robotics was founded by Ariyan Kabir, Brual Shah, and Satyandra K. Gupta 2020. Kabir, Shah, and Gupta had extensive experience in the fields of robotics and AI. Graymatter Robotics was formed to meet the challenge of improving efficiencies and productivity in the sanding and materials finishing industries and they also saw a desperate need based on the skills shortage. In Kabir’s own words, “We want to improve shop workers’ lives, enhance their productivity, and enable them to focus on higher-value tasks. Manufacturing drives our economy, and without automating surface finishing and treatment, there is a significant risk the global economy may suffer due to an increasing labor shortage.”
Very high-quality tool-in-hand tasks are a fundamental component of manufacturing for myriad industries. Surface finishing processes are used extensively in automotive, aerospace, and marine construction and architectural furnishings. It is integral to those industries and indeed to economies also. These tool-in-hand tasks can include sanding, polishing, deburring, buffing, grinding, trimming, spraying, and more. Although surface finishing may appear a rudimentary part of the production process, it has an extremely varied set of requirements based on the product’s needs and the product’s material composition.
Typically, these are skilled operations for a human and take years, and not weeks to master. As with many other skilled professions, it is running dangerously short of the master practitioners needed. There is no discernable route to solving the skills shortage with manpower and robots with ‘smarts’ are needed to fill the gap.
Another consideration is that, for humans, sanding can be a hazardous profession over time. Fine metallic and composite dust is harmful to humans when ingested, even with the right protection. And then, there are the widely recognized skills and workforce shortages that are affecting particularly the US and Europe. Surely a perfect application for an intelligent robotic sanding system that can see similar to a human, with robotic mounted flexibility to perform as a human. Graymatter Robotics thought so, and so they have developed “Scan&Sand™” to fit this need.
Waste is also a significant problem in manufacturing, and very much so in sanding and finishing. Damage or incorrect manufacture can come from different areas, not just surface finishing, but it is estimated that 20% of all expenditure in manufacturing is lost due to waste, amounting to an eye-watering $8 trillion every year globally. It is clear we need efficiencies across all departments of manufacturing.
We need highly efficient, easy-to-deploy intelligent robotic systems with enhanced sensory capabilities including high-quality 3D vision to meet the many challenges. Scan&Sand™ from Graymatter robotics is just such a smart robot system.
Scan&Sand™, as the name implies, has a perfect fit for surface sanding and finishing, a prime example of a skilled operation that takes years, and not weeks to master, and like many other skilled professions, it is running dangerously short of the master practitioners needed. Typical tolerances for a well-executed job can be around a millimeter or even sub-millimeter. At this point the skill of humans starts to rapidly diminish, we’re just not made to detect such fine tolerances and a robot with a high-quality 3D vision system can go way below millimeter accuracy.
Scan&Sand™ is a combination of innovative technologies that can be delivered as per a customer’s needs. Graymatter Robotics’ core competence is developing smart robotic cells that use AI to enable robots to perform complex tasks that often comprise a large element of tactile ability, the sorts of tasks tradesmen spend years acquiring. A full Scan&Sand™ robot cell comprises a range of elements including:
The system is autonomous and does not rely on 3D CAD models to carry out its tasks. A job is presented to the Scan&Sand™ system, it makes multiple captures to build a detailed view of the object in 3D, then it is ready to get to work - all within a few short minutes. It has machine learning at its core and with every job it builds on its knowledge about how to best carry out the work efficiently and to the highest quality.
Scan&Sand™ can cope with any object that is within the robot’s reach and regardless of angular or contoured surfaces happily carries out its high-precision work. This is where the robot-mounted Zivid Two 3D camera comes to the fore. The 3D camera can go anywhere the robot arm can go and capture very high-quality 3D point clouds from any position, any angle which was essential for this particular application.
Graymatter has put a lot of thought into who their customer base is and how they operate, and the typical resources they have at their disposal. The system can be set up and operated by anyone on the shop floor and needs no specialist engineering skills or lengthy training, they can be operating the system soon after they’ve met it. It considers high-mix workloads of varying sizes and shapes, and it treats each part as a new individual task.
They have also understood the business model of the enterprises they are catering to with a monthly subscription payment model so there’s no headache about having to invest large CAPEX costs ahead of seeing the results and benefits. With Scan&Sand™, you are more productive and enjoy better efficiencies right from the get-go. The Scan&Sand™ system is designed to be accessible to most who need it, but right now the biggest interest is coming from industries that have a very high requirement for a superb finish at very fine tolerances that are repeatable, and reliable. Right now, aerospace, defense, specialty vehicles are among those who are using Scan&Sand™ in day-to-day productions.
Scan&Sand™ offers repeatable superb quality sanding with consistent results and close to no dust and negligible waste and can do this up to four times faster than a human tradesman carrying out similar work. As their customer base has been looking for, the solution also provides the highest quality finished goods, no returns, and no waste. We’re delighted that Zivid Two has helped them achieve this.
Graymatter Robotics is based in Los Angeles. Their goal is to improve the quality of life by leveraging robotics and AI to assist humans in tedious and ergonomically challenging tasks. Graymatter makes AI-Brains for robots to make them smart, easy to use, and rapidly deployable for complex operations. They are creating smart robotic assistants that are well-suited for complex operations in high-mix manufacturing and service applications.