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Being industry professional, you must know that surface finishing and grinding are required at several stages of the industrial manufacturing process. But, did you know that it is one of the least robotized steps, although robotization would radically increase speed, productivity, quality, and safety in the process? The reason is that no one-stop solution was available for automated mid-process and final surface finishing until Mirka acquired Flexmill. The Mirka + Flexmill offering enables manufacturers and industrial service providers to move from partial process optimization to end-to-end automation. The new single-provider robotic surface finishing and grinding solution removes the manual steps, reduces waste, and improves quality and working safety, accelerating production and increasing profitability. This article explains the Mirka + Flexmill end-to-end solution and benefits for you!
Mirka is a world leader in surface finishing technology, with a broad range of
ground-breaking solutions for industries. With its 1500 professionals in eighteen subsidiaries worldwide, Mirka delivers its customers higher speed, efficiency, surface finishing quality, and cost-effectiveness.
With our recent acquisition of Flexmill, we are the first provider in the market offering a fully customizable, end-to-end robotic surface finishing solution covering mid-process and final surface finishing stages. It is an ideal solution for industrial service providers, integrators, and manufacturers in the aerospace, automotive, marine, foundries, and energy sectors. Several materials are supported, including metal, wood, gel coat, and more.
The Flexmill solution comprises an intelligent and modular robotization platform, cutting-edge grinding and finishing equipment, and high-quality abrasives. Our professional services portfolio extends from manufacturing process design to turn-key installation and from robot programming to lifecycle maintenance, accelerating your time-to-production and reducing the total cost of ownership (TCO) while allowing you to plan investments years ahead. We develop and manufacture Mirka products sustainably by minimizing CO2 emissions by producing energy locally from renewable sources and own by-product material streams and helping you to improve working safety and health through dust-free solutions.
The Mirka + Flexmill solution enables manufacturers and industrial service providers to move from partial process optimization to end-to-end automation by removing manual work such as grinding, polishing, sanding, and deburring with robotic mid-process and final surface finishing. The following sections explain the three main components of the solution: production systems, equipment, and abrasives.
Mirka’s modular Flexmill platforms combine robotics, machine vision, sensors, software, and application support with in-depth specialist knowledge of even the most complicated manufacturing processes and production steps. Modularity allows fully customizable solutions for any industrial process and parts of any shape, regardless of the material. The platform scales efficiently from single-piece manufacturing to large series at the speed and accuracy of mass production. It allows manufacturers to move from partial optimization to end-to-end process automation, covering mid-process chamfering, deburring, grinding, lining and polishing, and final surface finishing.
Mirka Flexmill portfolio comprises three pre-engineered modular platforms: S-, M-, and L-series. Additionally, customized solutions can be designed per customer request, e.g., to increase the robot’s capacity to handle heavy workpieces or accommodate a larger working envelope. Here is a quick rundown of the Flexmill portfolio.
|Applications||General Industry||General industry, Automotive||Marine, Aerospace, Foundry|
|Workpiece max length (mm)||250||1,500||1,800|
|Workpiece max weight (kg)||3||500||500|
|Rotary workpiece max radius (mm)||–||–||2,400|
|Rotary workpiece max weight (kg)||–||–||5,000|
|Part to tool -method||Yes||Yes||–|
|Tool to part -method||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Equipment (Tools)||Belt, Rotary, Spindle||Belt, Rotary, Spindle||Belt, Rotary, Spindle|
|Automatic tool change system||Optional||Optional||Optional|
|Coolant collection system||Optional||Optional||Optional|
|Laser marking and verification system||Optional||Optional||Optional|
|Process monitoring and recording (video)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
The Mirka Flexmill S-series is a compact yet powerful robotic platform for manufacturing small workpieces of a length of up to 250 mm and a weight of up to 3 kg. The S-series utilizes proven technologies and is ideal for surface finishing of complicated shapes requiring the highest precision, quality, and flexibility. The level of automation can be scaled from a semi-automatic manual operation to fully automatic FMS systems. Like all Flexmill platforms, S-series can be equipped with the patented automated tool exchange system to extend autonomous operation time.
Mirka’s Flexmill M-series platform offers flexible and scalable machine design for versatile manufacturing requirements for midsized workpieces with a length of up to 1,500 mm and a weight of up to 500 kg. The level of automation can be scaled from single-piece production (mono-block) to a dual-station system (duo block) with automatic pallet exchange. A wide range of tools can be stored in different types of tool cabinets extending the autonomous process time.
Mirka’s Flexmill L-series is a flexible high-performance platform for automated surface finishing and grinding of various applications and large objects with challenging shapes (e.g., turbine components and marine propellers). The L-series supports workpieces with a length of up to 1,800 mm and a weight of up to 500 kg. Even difficult-to-reach undercut areas can be easily managed with multi-axis technology. The level of automation can be scaled from semi-automatic manual operation to a fully automatic production cell of an automated FMS line. A broad range of tools can be stored in different types of tool cabinets extending the autonomous processing time.
With Mirka’s Flexmill platform, you can use a broad range of equipment and tools, including belts, discs, stones, and more, to automate any process step – mid-process chamfering, deburring, grinding, lining and polishing, and final surface finishing. The in-house equipment concept supports the customization of unique solutions with the highest standards for any manufacturing need and the development of new tools when needed. The tool time manager software tracks equipment use and triggers an automatic tool change at the end of its lifecycle. The cutting-edge force and compliance unit ensure a smooth and uniform surface across all workpieces. The high level of intelligence and automation on Flexmill increases throughput and quality while extending autonomous operation time.
Employees are your company’s most valuable assets. Surface finishing and grinding are the most challenging manufacturing steps from working safety and health perspectives. Dust with small particles such as PM2.5 is the most dangerous when inhaled deep into the lungs.
Mirka is the pioneer of dust-free/dustless abrasives. Since introducing its Abranet product, the world’s first dust-free abrasive, Mirka has been renowned for continuously developing durable, high-quality, and healthy surface finishing solutions. Today, Mirka’s dust-free solutions are 99.97% effective at removing particles smaller than 0.3µm, equivalent to High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration.
The Mirka Multifit™ perforation is designed for optimal dust extraction without compromising abrasives’ edge wear resistance and sanding performance. Multifit ensures that any abrasive matches perfectly the dust extraction holes when installed without the user even having to think about it. The 50 carefully arranged holes take up only 6% of the surface, optimizing dust removal capacity, sanding power, and durability. 
The broad abrasive portfolio of Mirka includes products such as Abranet, Abralon, Galaxy, and Iridium and several types of backings, including Net, Foam, Film, and Paper.
Mirka’s Flexmill modular robotic surface finishing and grinding platforms enable manufacturers to move from partial process optimization to end-to-end automation. Replacing manual grinding, deburring, and polishing work with robotics increases production capacity, quality, and predictability while reducing waste and costs and improving working safety and health.
Mirka as a one-stop solution provider can deliver manufacturers and industrial service providers an entire, fully-integrated solution, abrasives, and services from the same source, reducing total investment and recurring lifecycle costs and growing the overall Return on Investment (ROI) through economies of scale.
Mirka as your sole supplier, can deliver the entire end-to-end solution from the robotics and automation to equipment and abrasives quickly and in a coordinated way, accelerating your time to production and payback.
With Mirka, you can plan the entire robotic surface finishing and grinding solution investment, including equipment and abrasives, years ahead, enabling you to increase the Return on Investment for automated surface grinding and finishing.
Mirka, as an active member of the Sustainable European Abrasives Manufacturers association (SEAM), embraces sustainability by minimizing its emissions and developing solutions that improve working safety and human health.
Manufacturing is undergoing its most profound transformation ever. The demand grows, and competition intensifies, making operational efficiency and speed critical. Yet you must adhere to stringent sustainability objectives and embrace health and safety.
With the recent acquisition of Flexmill, Mirka offers a true one-stop solution for industrial surface finishing and mid-process grinding, enabling you to move from partial process optimization to end-to-end automation, reducing manual work and waste, improving quality, and accelerating production while providing your employees with a healthier and safer working environment!
Contact us for more information!