Email:  raatz@match.uni-hannover.de
Team:  Annika Raatz, (Gunnar Borchert)
Year:  2012
Sponsors:  DFG Knowledge transfer project
Lifespan:  1,5 years
Is Finished:  yes

The intention of this knowledge transfer project arose from the CRC 562. Some of the developed methods and approaches of the project field Design and Modeling (projects A1 and A2 of the CRC 562) were seized and applied to the work of this project. The research addresses the flexible automation in assembly of computer, communication and consumer electronics (3C). Applying non-flexible automation is not economical for many companies in this field of application, due to increasingly shorter life cycles, changing product designs and lower quantities of the products. In contrast, flexible production systems inhere the disadvantageous amount of investment so that even nowadays many operation steps are carried out manually. However, novel technologies in robotics and the optimization of production systems reveal the opportunity to counteract this situation.

In light of this situation, the project deals with the investigation of prospects for a lean and cost efficient automation of assembly processes for manufacturing 3C products. To this end, the work aims at the development of methods for the functional extension of an existing industrial robot (basic robot structure: BRS) so that potential deficiencies of the robot respective the requirements of 3C assembly operations are governed out. Besides, the extension/additional mechanism (additional structure: ASK) should be a module that can be attached to the BRS. This emphasizes the flexibility of the entire production system. It allows adapting the production device to the requirements of changing tasks. Moreover, the BRS should be based on a parallel kinematic structure where its fundamental design remains unchanged. This enables to make use of beneficial characteristics of parallel robots, such as high acceleration, accuracy or payload on the one hand, and wide past experiences of existing devices on the other hand.

Since the characteristics of assembly processes have significant effects on the required functionality of the production device, methods are needed for designing suitable extension mechanisms, respectively to identify their kinematic structures and to decide in favor of a beneficial overall design. The key issues of the project are:

  • Deduction of general system requirements.
  • Development of a method for analyzing different industrial robots to reveal the level of compliance and thus their individual deficiencies with respect to the requirements.
  • Conception and systematization of extension mechanisms which can be attached to a BRS so that the entire robot system is able to fulfil the requirements.
    • Development of a task-oriented decision analysis method, since different design concepts and features of the entire robot system will emerge, such as the kinematic structure or the location of system components. For this purpose, evaluation criteria were defined and described to compare the concepts with each other.
    • Development of a method to optimize the dynamic performance of the structural extension and thus its impact on the BRS.
  • Evaluation of the entire robot system (BRS and extension mechanism) with respect to the requirements.