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Additive manufacturing processes such as spray coating, spray painting and rapid tooling, are very important steps in many products' life cycle. Robotic manipulators are widely adopted in these processes. The tool planning for these applications is usually time-consuming for human operators and the plans generated are prone to inaccuracy and low efficiency. This research develops fully-automated, CAD-guided tool planning system which eliminates the human involvement and also generates optimized tool plans in the sense of the motion performance of the robot. The core of this tool planning system is the partitioning of part surfaces into multiple, easy-to-handle patches, or the geometric understanding problem. In this paper, a decomposition-based approach is developed. Robot motion performance measures are integrated into the surface partitioning. Experimental tests and evaluation carried out on vehicle body parts validate this new approach.
Date of Conference: 16-20 July 2003