Icra: modular robot on ceiling rails provide more flexibility

Icra: modular robot on ceiling rails provide more flexibility

MAB and mass are two keywords with whom requirements for the factory of the future describe: Individual mapping products are to be realized for artificial efficiency of highly automated mass production. The miracle tools, which are supposed to put these seemingly incompatible opposes, are robots.

Algorithm for the optimal robot

But conventional industrial robots are often missing at the current flexibility to quickly adjust to changing customer machines. An approach to counteracting this defect is a modular design. Such robots composed of individual standard devices had the additional advantages that they could easily be repaired by the exchange of defective parts, Stefan Liu explains the robot system promodular at the TU Munchen.1 with developed. In addition, such systems are priced by the mass production of the individual elements.

But how are the 52 items of Promodular.1 can be combined with each other to obtain a robot arm that optimally fell optimally to a specific task? Even if only those in the industrial robotics kinematics were considered, over 38 million combination options, so Liu remained. Although this number is reduced to 167 because of two different interface coars in the modules.936. But that too are still too many combinations to find the best by intuition or try out the best. At the Robotics Conference ICRA (International Conference on Robotics and Automation), Liu presents an algorithm that should help build the optimal robot.

Repeat accuracy vs. Flexibility

In industrial applications, he succeeds, it usually go to follow a predetermined path (for example, when welding) or to take a sequence of predetermined positions (for example, during assembly work). These tasks are defined by parameters such as cycle times, energy expenditure, range or payloads. Due to the systematic elimination of impossible poses and movement paths, a robotic arm will be built on this basis for the exploitation of the task. In the simulation, the system has proved commercial robots to be considered as considered. However, the advantage is less than if restrictions had to be considered, such as obstacles that must be avoided.

As the next steps are experimental comparisons planned with real robots. In addition, the recovery accuracy important for industrial robots is to be considered and the algorithm is even more efficient.

Robot at rail system under the ceiling

A very different approach to raising the flexibility of robots in the factory present Martin Gorner. At the German Center for Aerospace (DLR) he has developed the concept of Swarmrail. Its central idea is to use the ceiling of the factory hall instead of the soil for the movement of the robots. The square-shaped robots with a side length of 36 centimeters move there on a rail system, which is open in the middle, so that the upper mobile platform can be connected below with different modules, such as transport or manipulation,.

Overhead Robot System

The robots have two omnidirectional raders on each side, which are arranged so that a sufficient number always contact with the rail and stabilizes the robot. At the intersolvent intersections, the robots can thus change the direction by rotations around their own axis, without the course required. Corners and light are recognized by sensors that help to position the robot in the middle of the rail and reduce the pace when reaching a crossroads.

First experiments promising

First experiments with a small demonstrator had brought encouraging results and the functionality of the system confirmed, so Gorner. He pays the high redundancy: Customs of individual robots love easy to compensate. In addition, several robots were able to work together in flexible constellations. The rail structure KONNE easily expanded and structured differently, such as square, rectangular, hexagonal networks or combinations thereof. Planned is now the construction of a coarse plant to further explore the potential of the Swarmrail concept.

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