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Author Topic: Buying directly from metal suppliers  (Read 1675 times)

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Offline scotty7735Topic starter

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Buying directly from metal suppliers
« on: January 15, 2014, 08:50:02 AM »
I do not know much about Robotics but I have always wondered what steps Robotic companies take in order to make a successful build, more so what kind of materials they use. Do you know if companies such as Boston Dynamics and other smaller robotics companies go through metal suppliers for metal and manufacture the parts for their needs or go through already manufactured parts through machine shops? I'm just trying to get a feel for a Robotics companies process.


Offline waltr

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Re: Buying directly from metal suppliers
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2014, 06:25:45 PM »
They are probably a lot like the companies I currently and have worked for.
We do the designs of the mechanical parts then get quotes from machine shops to purchase the materials and make the parts. Larger companies I have worked for do the designs and machining within their facility and purchase the materials directly from suppliers.
Other companies I worked for had custom extrusions so would directly purchase these (which have a fairly high minimum order) then send the custom material to the contracted machine shop to produce the finished item.

Robot manufacturing is no different than manufacturing other types of equipment or machines. How the materials are purchased and the parts made can vary from maker to maker and even change as orders increase/decrease.

Many years ago I worked for a machine/fabrication job shop. A few jobs that came in were parts of industrial robots. The company I was making the parts for typically made all their own parts, and material purchases. But their shop was backed up due to overwhelming orders so they 'jobbed  out' some parts to us. They did supply the materials so I know they were doing the material purchases.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2014, 06:30:43 PM by waltr »

Offline jwatte

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Re: Buying directly from metal suppliers
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2014, 06:46:18 PM »
I would assume that any decent robotics hardware R&D facility has at least a small machine shop with a mill and a lathe of some sort.
Waiting for a bidding process when you're in the middle of iterating, or if a particular part just broke, would get old very quickly!
Academics in a university setting may not have this if they're mostly into the software side; for the hardware side, it's typically part of the mechanical engineering programs which typically have nice machine shops :-)


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