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There are two commercially accepted methods of force control used in automated surface finishing today. The first method, “through‐the‐arm” force control, applies force using the position of all the robot axes in unison. The second method, “around‐the‐arm” force control, uses the robot for positioning motion only, and applies a controlled force through an auxiliary‐compliant end‐of‐arm tool. Discusses the theory, applicability and features of each of these two technologies.