RECOPRODAS: REconfigurable Cobotic PRODuction Assistant

  • BASIC INFORMATION
  • INNOVATION
  • EXPLOITATION
  • MEDIA
  • MODULES
Name of demonstration

RECOPRODAS: REconfigurable Cobotic PRODuction Assistant

Main objective

An agile production environment for the manufacturing of customized sheetmetal parts where movable cobots support technical operators with a variety of repetitive tasks. Movable cobots allow the technical operator in a work cell to determine ad-hoc where the Cobotic Production Assistant (CPA) is best deployed for the most optimal output and highest work-satisfaction.

Short description

The movable cobot platform (Cobotic Production Assistant) is able to connect to a scoped set of typical machines in a sheetmetal working cell, comprising machines for bending, projection welding and thread tapping. Positioning and connecting is realized by a user-friendly docking mechanism with electrical, pneumatic and communications exchange through I/O. Tools for the Cobotic Production Assistant can easily be switched through quick coupling system for the respective job at hand. To simplify program selection only programs can be selected for the machine the CPA is currently connected to. Material in- and outfeed is organized through material feed trolleys which dock to the Cobotic Production Assistant.

Owner of the demonstrator

Malmar

Responsible person

Laima Gedmintiene, Project Management and HR Manager, laima.gedmintiene@malmar.eu

NACE

C25 - Manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment

Keywords

Robotics, cobot assisted manufacturing, Smart Manufacturing, sheet metal, agile production.

Benefits for the users

After successful integration of the Cobotic Production Assistants in the highly flexible sheetmetal production environment the operators will be relieved from repetitive tasks on products where the cobot can be used. 

The reduction of non-adding value, monotonous tasks for the operator will  lead to higher job satisfaction.

Cell operators controlling where to put the CPA to use in order to increase productivity and reduce repetitive tasks willincrease operator ownership.

The freed-up time of the operator can be  used for cell improvement and quality control

 

The operator responsibility will shift to ownerschip of the cell focusing amongst others on quality control and time-based planning of the cell to assure ultra-short leadtimes (Quick response manufacturing).

Innovation

The innovation in this demonstrator is situated in different areas

       Technological area

o   The physical platform specifically suitable for typical metal working job shop environments with material supply trolleys docking to the cobot platform.

o   A flexible docking mechanism for dimensional, electrical and pneumatic connection suitable for the relatively harsh environment in metalworking industry

o   I/O connector for handshake between multiple different machine types and the cobot platform including recognition of the docking station thus reducing the risk of wrong program execution

o   Flexible gripper / tool system to accommodate different part handling and machine operations

o   Low-level programming through typical cobot teach-by-demonstration

       Organizational level

o   Operator awareness training to allow for smooth transition from purely manual working to cell responsibility including responsibility for Cobotic Production Assistant 

 

o   Changed routings in production distinguishing between products which pass through the RECOPRODAS cell and products which don’t

Risks and limitations

Scoping of the initial machines and products. The number of different machines in a typical job shop environment can be high, a mobile platform able to dock and interface with all these different processes will require additional development. Hence, the number of different machines has been scoped to three. To scope the number of products for the demonstrator a pareto analysis has been made in combination with the consideration that the selected products would require one or more of the scoped machine processes. This resulted in 80 different products. Solution does not meet the operators' expectations The Cobotic Production Assistant must be easy to use, meaning that it must be flexible to switch between products and it must be flexible to switch between machines. If either of these two requirements are not met the Cobotic Production Assistant will never reach its targeted use. Moreover, the Cobotic Production Assistant should be able to work autonomously during a long enough period to unburden the operator. Tending to the Cobotic Production Assistant for material supply or material removal should not cause additional stress nor take up too much of the operators time.

Technology readiness level

7 - System model in operational environment

Sectors of application

Metal working industry: Metal working companies are often a supplier to OEM or Tier1 manufacturers and as such are confronted with a high-mix, low-volume product portfolio and the need to meet very short delivery times. As such these companies are struggling to automate processes mainly due to large variety in products and processes and the lack of time to setup or repurpose automation for another product or another process. A flexible and reconfigurable mobile cobot platform can allow these companies to semi-automate certain tasks such that the repetitive tasks are automated and the less frequent tasks or more demanding tasks (quality control, cell and process optimization, planning) can be done by the human operator..

Potential sectors of application

Other potential sectors of application are sectors where a comparable situation with regard to high-mix, low-volume product portfolio and a multitude of machining processes are encountered such as: laboratory test labs, wood working industry,...

Patents / Licenses / Copyrights
Hardware / Software

Hardware:

Cobot UR10e the core element of the Reconfigurable Cobotic PRODuction Assistant platform for handling the parts between the material supply trolley and the respective machine the Cobotic Production Assistant is tending.

Tool quick change system for flexibly changing tools at the cobot flange.

Bending machine for the bending operation in the demonstrator.

Tapping machine for tapping of thread in certain holes.

Projection welding machine for the projection welding of hexagonal and square nuts.

Nut-separator unit for the nut supply to the projection welding machine.

Docking stations for the docking of Cobotic Production Assistant at the different machine stations.

Material trolley for docking to the Cobotic Production Assistant.


Software:

Universal Robot Polyscope for the programming of the UR10e cobot.

Robotiq Copilot for ease of programming, teach by demonstration.

No modules assigned

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