Intelligent, cost-effective robot systems for small and medium-sized productions are designed to be intuitive and easy to operate, to learn interactively from humans and to adapt to variable production processes which are typical for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Intuitive and efficient assembly
Economically efficient welding
This is the vision behind the European research project SMErobotics, which is coordinated by Fraunhofer IPA. The goal is to develop technologies for adaptive robots that are easy to use, especially by small and medium-sized businesses and their agile productions. At a joint stand at the AUTOMATICA 2014 trade fair, SMErobotics will present initial prototypes from the project in various live demonstrations.
“Optimize your production”: This year’s motto for the AUTOMATICA international trade fair for automation and mechatronics applies especially to small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises, which, if they are to remain competitive, above all require adaptable, cost-effective automation solutions for small production runs and variable product cycles.
SMErobotics creates the technological basis for intelligent, economic robotics solutions that are quick to install and easy to use. A follow-up to the successful predecessor project SMErobot, the European research initiative develops new modular, adaptive and interactive user concepts and control systems for the efficient deployment of robots. The initiative brings together leading European robot manufacturers and research institutes.
Intelligent robot systems
The goal behind SMErobotics is to augment state-of-the-art industrial robots with cognitive capabilities. The focus, therefore, is to develop novel software functions to allow robot programs to be generated from existing production data. If any data are missing or incomplete, the aim is for the robot to obtain them from the worker. “An intelligent robot system doesn’t simply follow a once-given instruction. Instead, it learns intuitively and efficiently from its human operator - continuously improving its performance in collaboration with the worker,” says SMErobotics coordinator Martin Hägele from Fraunhofer IPA. Various exhibits will be presented in live demonstrations at AUTOMATICA 2014.
The robot cells on view at AUTOMATICA 2014 will showcase examples of automation solutions for a variety of industries typical of small and medium-sized enterprises:
• Intuitive and efficient assembly: Using the KUKA LBR iiwa lightweight robot in an assembly setting for small production runs, Fraunhofer IPA will demonstrate how robots can reduce the burden on humans at manual workplaces, in addition to delivering higher throughputs also when assembling tricky components.
• Economically efficient welding even in one-off production: The sensor-controlled welding robot from Reis Robotics and Fraunhofer IPA is capable of learning from the welder. Easily and quickly reprogrammable to handle new components, it draws on previous welding experience and can thus apply old knowledge to new tasks.
• Dual-armed holding and joining of components: Taking the example of welding and assembly tasks, COMAU will for the first time demonstrate how a worker can teach the “Smart Dual Arm” robot to know where to find the components and how to join them together. This enables the robot system to automatically generate the production process. Work-holding fixtures, which are typically component-specific, can largely be dispensed with.
• Easy automation: DLR and KUKA demonstrate simple and flexible automation solutions for the assembly of metal structures using the KUKA LBR iiwa lightweight robot. The shop-floor worker can “program” the assembly process by just “showing” the desired arrangement without the need for complex manual robot programming. The assembly process is automatically planned and converted into a robot program for execution. Intelligent skills based on the robot’s capabilities allow the uncertainties of a real SME environment to be addressed.
• Economically efficient “pick & place”: DTI presents a cost-effective robot cell for general manipulation tasks (e.g. “bin picking”) or for machine feeding as a “Plug’n’Produce” system for a wide range of different production processes. This allows the profitable automation of currently manually produced small batches and variable product cycles.
• Collaborative machining: Project partners Güdel and Lund University present the skills-based portability of robot programs, including both manually written and automatically generated programs, applied to both serial and parallel kinematic robots. Interoperability between the two different types of robots is demonstrated by wood-working with real-time coordination of the arms over Ethernet, with self-calibration and robot-learning functions connected to a knowledge base for continuous improvements and reuse of task specifications.
• Intuitive interfaces: Project partner fortiss presents intuitive interfaces for human-robot interaction. Based on techniques such as augmented reality and semantic knowledge, these systems can be used without the need of expert knowledge in robotics.
• Also on show will be several software applications that both ensure economically efficient use (SME-Trainer) and provide the necessary functionalities for SME-compatible robots. This includes planners that generate robot programs as well as software modules for the intelligent integration of different automation components.European project partners
SMErobotics is coordinated by Fraunhofer IPA, one of the leading institutes for applied research. With their experience of the needs of SMEs, the industrial partners in the initiative have real-world knowledge of flexible automation requirements.
SMErobotics works closely with various SMEs, which test the developed systems under practical conditions in four technology demonstrators over the course of the project. The project partners are interested in cooperating with further SMEs that wish to contribute their experience and benefit from the latest developments.Additional information about the project partners:
Project title: “The European Robotics Initiative for Strengthening the Competitiveness of SMEs in Manufacturing by integrating aspects of cognitive systems”
Project duration: 1 January 2012 – 31 December 2015Project coordinator
World Premiere at Prolight & Sound: First Mixing Console with integrated SpatialSound Wave 3D Sound
13.04.2015 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT
User-friendly safety relays
10.04.2015 | Siemens AG
Astronomers from Chalmers University of Technology have used the giant telescope Alma to reveal an extremely powerful magnetic field very close to a supermassive black hole in a distant galaxy
Astronomers from Chalmers University of Technology have used the giant telescope Alma to reveal an extremely powerful magnetic field very close to a...
A team of physicists from MPQ, Caltech, and ICFO proposes the combination of nano-photonics with ultracold atoms for simulating quantum many-body systems and creating new states of matter.
Ultracold atoms in the so-called optical lattices, that are generated by crosswise superposition of laser beams, have been proven to be one of the most...
According to new research out of the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, that is indeed the case. Chetan Jinadatha, M.D., M.P.H., assistant...
Researchers from ICFO, MIT and UC Riverside have been able to develop a graphene-based photodetector capable of converting absorbed light into an electrical voltage at ultrafast timescales
The efficient conversion of light into electricity plays a crucial role in many technologies, ranging from cameras to solar cells.
Electrical charges not only move through wires, they also travel along lengths of DNA, the molecule of life. The property is known as charge transport.
In a new study appearing in the journal Nature Chemistry, authors, Limin Xiang, Julio Palma, Christopher Bruot and others at Arizona State University's...
13.04.2015 | Event News
25.03.2015 | Event News
19.03.2015 | Event News
17.04.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering
17.04.2015 | Earth Sciences
17.04.2015 | Physics and Astronomy