Excessive and unstable vibrations that are caused by the machining forces are among the most critical problems that limit the use of industrial robots instead of CNC machine tools. Reduction and control of robot’s vibrations during machining require accurate models of the robot’s vibration response to the dynamic forces exerted at the Tool Centre Point (TCP) where the cutting tool interacts with the workpiece material. The existing models of vibrations in robotic machining have been formed by assuming the linearity of the dynamic response at the TCP. In this paper, the accuracy of this assumption is investigated experimentally, and the results show that the dynamic response at the TCP is strongly nonlinear. An experimental procedure is presented to identify the nonlinearities by employing the first-order Frequency Response Functions (FRFs) measured using various input force excitations. Nonlinear Complex Mode Analysis is then used to extract the modal parameters of the system when its dynamics is linearized around a harmonic response with a constant amplitude. The extracted modal parameters strongly depend on the amplitude of the applied force and the resulting vibrations. This study highlights the need for considering the nonlinearities of the structural dynamics of industrial robots in modelling machining vibrations.

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