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Friday, May 11, 2012

The Future of Industrial Assembly

KUKA vision of robot-based assembly 
KUKA, the leading German manufacturer of industrial robots, develops a new generation of robots, with small footprint and for new applications due to expanded performance capabilities. Integrated software simplifies programming and start-up. The video below shows some vision of how assembly tasks might be performed by robots in the not so distant future. Key technical challenges are force controlled motion, real-time robot synchronization and multi-robot coordination. The application is completely programmed in Java, using the software stack developed in the SoftRobot project in cooperation with Augsburg University and MRK Systeme GmbH.

Motoman dual-arm robot concept

In 2005 Japanese Yaskawa was first to introduce the 13-axis dual-arm MOTOMAN DA20 robot with humanlike flexibility of movement. In 2007 Japanese Yaskawa unveiled a new generation industrial robot, "MOTOMAN-SDA10" which can shift work that has been performed by humans.The video below shows the latest version of a Motoman dual arm robot with 3D vision performing the assembly of cart wheels. The robot is using a Robotiq adaptive gripper at the end of each of its arms to pick up various parts and tools used in the assembly of the wheels.

ABB vision of robot-based assembly
The ABB concept robot FRIDA was created in response to requests from ABB Robotics’ existing customer base to develop robotic solutions for manufacturing environments in which humans and robots would be able to work together. FRIDA stands for Friendly Robot for Industrial Dual-Arm Assembly. The 14-axis, dual arm robot is the initial output from ABB Corporate Research’s initiative for industries requiring new and innovative solutions for their small part assembly operations.

FRIDA is part of the FP7 research project ROSETTA aimed at evaluating new robotic solutions for modern manufacturing concepts. ROSETTA develops “human-centric” technology for industrial robots that will not only appear more human-like, but also cooperate with workers in ways that are safe and perceived as natural. Such robots will be programmed in an intuitive and efficient manner, making it easier to adapt them to new tasks when a production line is changed to manufacture a new product.
FRIDA is aimed for small parts assembly applications in consumer electronics industry and other market sectors. FRIDA includes a flexible gripper, camera-based part location plus all the features that are well known from ABB's state-of-the-art robot controller, the IRC5. In addition, the robot is compact and intended to fit into spaces ergonomically designed for human workers. This allows the robot to be easily interchanged with a human coworker when the production order is changed or a new layout is required.

US Industrial Robot Visions
New industrial robot concepts have been announced by Heartland Robotics and recently also by Redwood Robotics, a joint venture between Meka Robotics, Willow Garage, and SRI International.

Boston-based Heartland Robotics, founded by Rodney Brooks, former Director of the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and a co-Founder of iRobot Corporation, has high ambitions to drive a new economic reality, making it more competitive to manufacture products in the US, Europe, and Japan, rather than outsourcing to low-cost regions. According to some public sources, Heartland is developing a family of low cost and highly intelligent robots that can perform simple tasks in a manufacturing environment, increasing the productivity of the people around them who are doing the more highly skilled and value-added work. Heartland’s robots can be taken out of the box, taught a task by an untrained factory worker, and be productive in a few hours, eliminating the need for systems integration. They are safe to interact with people at close range and are easy to train and retrain on the fly. It is claimed that "they are nothing like any existing industrial robots. Heartland Robotics is revolutionizing manufacturing robots, and the very nature of what people think a robot can do and be."

Redwood Robotics claims it will enable the personal and service robot markets through a new generation of robot arms that are simple to program, inexpensive, and safe to operate alongside people.

    1 comment:

    ISSELabs said...

    Thank you very much for showing our Video "Factory 2020" on Robotland an in your blog!
    We recently uploaded a new version with this URL:

    The video content is the same, it just contains some comments. Would you mind integrating this new version in your stream and blog? Thank you!