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Sensor-controlled and flexibly assembled


Flexible and accurate assembly processes: from 3 to 6 June 2014 the world of automation and mechatronics will be the focus of the Automatica international trade fair in Munich, where scientists from Fraunhofer IPA will demonstrate a sensor-controlled lightweight assembly robot. The goal is to increase the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of assembly processes by using sensors to assist component-specific work-holding fixtures. Workpiece variations and product tolerances can thus be reliably addressed while quality remains unchanged.

Whether for locating workpieces or controlling movements during production processes, fixtures have conventionally been an indispensable element of automation.

Such functions can be realized with maximum flexibility by new-type sensor-controlled robot systems.

Growing cost pressure, short product life cycles and high product diversity call for flexible and cost-effective assembly systems that can, when necessary, be quickly adapted to suit changed requirements. Scientists at Fraunhofer IPA have developed a sensor-controlled assembly process that makes it possible for workpieces to be flexibly positioned without the need for additional work-holding fixtures.

Also, 3D-printed tools ensure fast adaptation of the robot system to suit workpiece-specific geometries. “Our aim with this exhibit is to demonstrate that sensor-controlled robots are capable of coping with modern-day conditions at manual assembly workstations, such as chaotically arranged components,” says Martin Naumann, Group Leader in the Robot and Assistive Systems department at Fraunhofer IPA. “By replacing fixtures with sensors, we offer flexibility at low cost,” adds Naumann.

Exhibit at trade fair

Fraunhofer IPA’s stand at the trade fair will demonstrate sensor-controlled assembly in a robot cell with the KUKA LBR iiwa. “The cell will showcase the example of how to bolt a clutch onto the crankshaft of a chain saw.

However, the underlying concepts can equally well be applied to many other products and assembly processes. We’re highly interested in transferring the exhibited solution to new applications,” explains Naumann. The clutch for mounting on the crankshaft is placed within the robot’s workspace without the need for a separate work-holding fixture.

The robot moves to the determined location of the clutch and localizes the exact position of the component using an additional camera integrated in the robotic tool.

The mounting position of the clutch on the crankshaft is localized in the same way, which means that the engine block can also be flexibly positioned anywhere within the robot’s workspace. The clutch is slid and bolted onto the crankshaft with precision force control, which allows any errors during bolting on, such as tilting, to be detected and immediately corrected.

More at Automatica – 6th International Trade Fair for Automation and Mechatronics
3 to 6 June 2014
New Trade Fair Centre Munich
Hall A4 | Stand 530

Dipl.-Ing. Martin Naumann, phone +49 711 970-1291,

Weitere Informationen:

Jörg Walz | Fraunhofer-Institut

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