Novel hybrid robot and its processes for precision polishing of freeform surfaces

Peng Xu, Chi Fai Cheung, Chunjin Wang, Chenyang Zhao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Freeform surfaces have important applications in various industrial fields. However, achieving a high level surface finish on freeform surfaces using polishing is always a challenging task. Hybrid robots are promising alternatives to conventional computer numerical control (CNC) machines and industrial robots for ultra-precision machining. Herein, we present a novel custom-built hybrid robot for freeform polishing. After the laboratory prototype was successfully developed, its automation for a specific freeform surface was a major obstacle preventing its application. This critical issue was addressed by presenting a process to deal with tedious robot programming. Random tool path planning was performed in the task space, and hybrid robot motion planning was conducted in the joint space. By integrating the process flows, a robot programming toolkit was developed to directly output the control program for a specific robot controller. An illustrative example with a freeform surface is provided to verify the functionality of the developed hybrid robot and the proposed control processes, and the corresponding experimental results verify their effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalPrecision Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Freeform surface
  • Hybrid robot
  • Precision polishing
  • Random path
  • Ultra-precision machining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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