The core of our infrastructure are so-called Cobotic Base Cells (CBCs). These are modular and reconfigurable cobotic setups that address specific manufacturing sector needs.
Key Technology Components
A collaborative industrial robot (Cobot) is an industrial robot that is designed in compliance with ISO 10218-1 and intended for collaborative use. Depending on the type of activity and safety requirements, a robot that does not comply with ISO 10218-1 may also be considered. Commercial cobots may be fitted with additional sensing capabilities and safety features, but rarely are these robots ready for use in a flexible production scenario without additional components.
Vision and Sensing
A cobotic system is usually enhanced with various sensors. One or several vision sensors may be added, providing data about the robot’s workspace. This is especially relevant when a human is involved, creating a dynamic workspace.
The data provided by Cobot and workspace sensors is analyzed and fused. Information from the production activity (e.g. assembly components and steps) as well as from the user interfaces (see Interfaces below) are usually also available and merged, processed, analyzed, understood and converted into commands and actions for the robot.
Gripping and Feeding
Most tasks will require the cobot and human to interact with product components that need to be grabbed and released. Alternatively, the robot’s end-effector may be a tool. The components must reach the robot workspace, this is either done by a human (e.g. bringing palettes of components into the workspace) or by using feeding systems. Grippers become a key element of the system as they must reliably handle the current production components, which may change several times a day.
The robot and human communicate with each other through interfaces. There are a wide variety of modalities, ranging from manual – from old-fashion Teach Pendants (TP) with light displays and input buttons, to touch screens with graphical programming languages –, voice – which include a microphone for the human and a speaker for the robot –, kinesthetic – where the human moves the robot by hand to teach desired positions or trajectories –, to visual – the human shows the robot what needs to be done by doing the task in front of a vision system. Depending on the task, a combination of interface modalities may bring the largest benefit.
ISO/TS 15066 specifies safety requirements for collaborative industrial robot systems and the work environment, supplementing ISO 10218.
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