Robots are meant to increase productivity, improve safety at work, and relieve people: The application-oriented EU project LIAA was kicked off on 2 September 2013.
In a European consortium led by Fraunhofer IPA, scientists will develop cost-effective robot systems and applications for assembly. The collaboration between humans and robots will help to combine the cognitive abilities of humans with the strength and repeatability of robots. It will not only increase productivity and relieve workers but also reduce the costs for automation solutions.
The LIAA project brings together leading European research institutes, component makers, technology providers, and end users. The project aims at developing a standard software framework for assembly systems, combining the strengths of humans and robots. Depending on the process and the workload of the worker, the assembly workstation can be used simultaneously by both robots and humans. While the robot handles, for instance, repetitive and heavy work, the worker can concentrate on cognitively demanding tasks that require fine motor skills. The project focuses on the following aspects:
Intelligent symbiosis between humans and robots
Intelligent algorithms are used to divide the assembly process into individual steps and assign them to workers or robots, based on their particular suitability and workload. Then, the tasks of the process step are described according to the needs of the individual resource. Hence, the robot is sent machine-readable commands or state diagrams, while the worker receives multimedia-based assembly instructions created on-site and presented via head-mounted displays (HMD) or tablets. Efficient cooperation requires each party to know which step the other performs. While the assembly process is carried out, the worker is informed about what the robot is doing or will do next, using augmented reality technology.
For example, it visualizes the trajectory data or displays workplace areas that are blocked. Camera-based information systems and intelligent perception and prediction algorithms ensure that the robot recognizes what process step the worker is currently performing. As a result, it can adjust its own behavior and, e.g. in case of delay, take over additional process steps.
Lean and low-cost
Within LIAA, five industrial pilot cases have been defined in collaboration with European end users. A crucial factor contributing to the cost-effectiveness of assembly processes is the use of low cost components. »LIAA aims at developing a framework that allows for the cost-effective use of robot assistants on the assembly shop floor, based on lightweight robots available on the market, low-cost sensors, and open-source robot control software«, says Martin Naumann, LIAA project coordinator and group manager in the Robot and Assistive Systems Department at Fraunhofer IPA.
The key advantage is that—based on the framework—system integrators can implement low-cost robot systems using lightweight robots. With the various standardized interfaces and a library of program modules to be parameterized and interlinked for the robot and the sensors, it is sufficient to configure the framework to the specific assembly application.
One of the research priorities of LIAA is to ensure the safety of humans. This is done, on the one hand, by performing (semi-) automated risk assessments of the assembly system at the design stage and, on the other, by taking adequate safety measures at the execution stage. It is based on LIAA’s staged safety concept, which, depending on the risk assessment, selects and combines preventive, soft and/or hard safety measures. The LIAA framework supports the integration of the necessary safety technology. The active involvement in relevant standardization and certification bodies ensures that the experience and insights gained from the project find their way into new regulations of safety standards for collaborative robots.
Focus on application
The research project LIAA is coordinated by Fraunhofer IPA, one of the leading organizations for applied research in the field of robotics. Other project partners are Universal Robot A/S (lightweight robots), Visual Components OY (simulation technology), InSystems Automation GmbH and LP Montagetechnik GmbH (assembly solutions), as well as Penny AB and EON Development AB (AR hardware and software). With the internationally renowned research organizations Fundacion Tecnalia Research & Innovation, DTI Danish Technological Institute, and the Laboratory for Manufacturing Systems and Automation LMS at the University of Patras, LIAA commands the technical expertise and wide technological know-how to achieve the desired project objectives.
The integration of five end users (Adam Opel AG, Dresden Elektronik Ingenieurtechnik GmbH, SPINEA s.r.o., Fischer IMF GmbH & Co. KG, and TELNET Redes Inteligentes SA) from different industrial sectors and with different assembly applications allows the developed framework to be put to the test in five technology settings while the project is in progress.Contact and more information:
Jörg Walz | Fraunhofer-Institut
PRESTO – Highly Dynamic Powerhouses
15.05.2017 | JULABO GmbH
Making lightweight construction suitable for series production
24.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...
Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
25.09.2017 | Trade Fair News
25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy