Walker, David D., Yu, Guo Yu, Gray, Caroline, Rees, Paul, Bibby, Matthew, Wu, Hsing Yu and Zheng, Xiao (2016) Process automation in computer controlled polishing. Advanced Materials Research, 1136. pp. 684-689. ISSN 1662-8985

We report on an ambitious project in the field of automation, applied to bound and free abrasive processing of precision and ultra-precision surfaces, with potentially far-reaching consequences. This involves two main aspects:- directly processing surfaces using industrial robots, and combining robots with Zeeko CNC polishing machines to automate operations that are currently manual. These form steps towards our ultimate vision of the Integrated Manufacturing Cell for bespoke optics rather than mass-produced, and manufacture of other precision surfaces including prosthetic joint implants. Projects such as the European Extremely Large Telescope provide a relevant case study, where significant numbers of high-value bespoke optics are required.

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