Industrial polishing is a milestone in manufacturing, a necessary but intensely manual process that creates a matte, glossy, flat surface or as many effects on any manufactured part. Surface finishing methods vary from sandpaper to rubbing and laser, and human operators still handle the materials and judge the results. Although the process has a proud craft history, it is objectively difficult to replicate and measure.

So why don’t robots do industrial polishing? Surely a machine that never gets tired and makes the same precision motion every time could be suitable for this kind of work. Among those considering just that is SYMPLEXITY, a partnership of academia and industry from across Europe. Composed of 15 partners from six countries, SYMPLEXITY has emerged from three existing projects in programming, surface finishing and human-robot collaboration making it possible to robotize this complex process.