If you live in Rapid City, South Dakota, and if you bring one of your old rings to a jewelry shop for cleaning, it's highly possible that the job might be done by a robotic jeweler. An engineer at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT) has built and brought to market a robotic system which can pick up a ring, polish and grind the ring, and replace the ring in its original tray before picking up the next ring. And of course, it's able to do this faster than a human being: it can function about three times faster than a human operator when configured as a grinder and about four times faster when configured as a pre-polisher.
This robotic jeweler has been developed at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT) by Vojislav Kalanovic, professor of mechanical engineering, who invented the first-ever robotic jewelry application 8 years ago. Below is a picture of the his VDK 1000 robotic jewelry polishing system (Credit: Vojislav Kalanovic, SDSMT).
Here is another view of the VDK 1000 robotic system in action (Credit: Vojislav Kalanovic, SDSMT).
Here are more details about this robotic system.
VDK 1000 is based on patented technology consisting of a Flexible Robotic Environment® (FRE) system that consists of a three axes modular gimbal design along with motion software. VDK 1000 also allows users to better control the material removal process which limits the amount of precious metal being removed and brings about savings in refining costs.
This system is manufactured by Control Systems Technologies (CST LLC), a company tied to SDSMT and partially owned by Kalanovic. In a previous news release, SDSMT described the software used to control this robotic system (February 2, 2007).
The software used with VDK 1000 is designed directly by CST LLC and has two main parts. The front-end enables users to operate a complex system with ease while the back-end is comprised of drivers, motion algorithms, and communication protocols. Along with the OPC server/client configuration, special tools have been designed in order to allow hierarchical control to be performed on a Windows XP based platform all running from an A2 industrial PC.
Sources: South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, April 10, 2007; and various websites
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