Assembly of a Gripper for a Wall-mounting Robot

Main Sector of Application

Manufacturing of robots and machines

Potential Sector/s of Application

Manufacturing of other types of equipment
Solutions for sectors like construction, aviation, food and medical areas

Description of the Experiment

Precizika Metal is a typical SME company that is evolving from being a component supplier to delivering full solutions. This implies an increasing need to deliver fully assembled products to clients. Due to the lack of qualified workforce (or at least being a challenge to find qualified workers) and due to a constant need to be more flexible but also more efficient, methods to automate the current assembly processes that are still performed manually have to be developed.

More sophisticated products are often difficult to assemble. One worker might do the assembly with high quality and at high speed, while the other worker’s performance might be significantly lower. This experiment involves the assembly of a robot for the construction industry, which is being prototyped right now.

Automated assembly of a robot is a challenge. There are several levels of assembly and many opportunities for optimization. We have chosen a robot gripper assembly as a representative part that needs to be assembled by the ReconCell system..

The gripper consists of many parts and since it is a machine, its precise assembly is very important. This implies a number of assembly processes, which the ReconCell assembly system should be able to handle, including

  • placing the basic component in a fixture,
  • adding and attaching various components with the required force to place them on the basic component,
  • inserting screws.

Main Objectives of the Experiment

The amount of robots to be produced per year is expected to be between 500-1000 pieces. The production will start in smaller quantities and then be scaled up.

The main objective of the experiment is to show that the ReconCell system can be used to assemble robot grippers and that it is able to deal with

  • Small/medium size batches
  • Variations in gripper design
  • High accuracy of assembly

Expected Results

In this experiment we will develop an automated gripper assembly process for the ReconCell system. The goal is to assemble a robot gripper with a minimum of human intervention, with at least the same accuracy as a human worker, and with a short enough setup time so that the automated assembly becomes more profitable compared to doing the part assembly manually.

Final assembly & customization of drive systems and control boxes

Main Sector of Application

Electronics industry
Furniture industry

Description of the Experiment

LOGICDATA is innovation leader and leading supplier in the field of innovative motor controls, operating elements and actuator elements for electronically adjustable furniture.

Our challenge is that we have high volume products, but with various customization possibilities for our customers. This leads to many different product versions, but based on only a few basic versions. The basic versions are produced in high volumes on specific production lines and then manually finalized before packing. The final assembly and customization includes:

  • assembly in final housings,
  • adding customer specific parts and labels, and
  • flashing customized software.

In this experiment we will test the applicability of the ReconCell system for final assembly & customization of drive systems and control boxes.

Main Objectives of the Experiment

Customization far away from the customers leads to long delivery times, especially for those who are located overseas. The automated robot workcell will give us opportunity to do the final customization close to the costumer in a cost efficient way for all different products.

    Final assembly and customization of all different products
  • Easy and quick change between product groups
  • Throughput that matches our future market demand
  • Easy worldwide setup possible
  • Fast introduction of new variants without knowledge of robot programming

Expected Results

  1. Technical feasibility checked
  2. Data for economic calculations generated
  3. Business case validated

Assembly of Automotive Lights

Main Sector of Application

Automotive industry

Potential Sector/s of Application

Manufacturing

Description of the Experiment

The assembly of automotive lights in ELVEZ is currently to a large degree done manually. Typically 8 workers are involved to realize the work in a required cycle time. The production takes place in four shifts (24/7). Manual cell consists of special assembly fixtures, positioning and supporting devices mounted on a frame that forms the assembly devices where the left and right lights are assembled in the same sequence.

In this experiment, we will introduce the assembly procedure using the ReconCell system. The assembly task consists of the following steps:

  1. Light housings (in our experiment we used models x82 and x07) and other assembly components come into the workcell on pallets mounted on trolleys. The trolleys are connected to the workcell using Plug and Produce (PnP) connectors. These connectors will be crucial not only for material flow but also for quick reconfiguration as they will be used to connect different peripheral equipment e.g. fixtures. The connectors provide power, Ethernet and pneumatic connection as well as mechanical coupling. The position of the assembly components is precisely determined by using 3D vision. so that the robots can easily and reliably grasp the assembly components.
  2. The first robot grasps first the housing part (either x07 or x82). Housing parts will be placed into the special reconfigurable fixtures. The fixtures are based on an unactuated Stewart platform that can be configured for a specific model of the housing. The reconfiguration can be performed by robot thus minimal human intervention in needed. This significantly shortens changeover time making robotic cells feasible for small and medium enterprises that usually manufacture small batches of highly diversified products.
  3. For the assembly of the bulb holder and LWR motor the second robot will use a double revolver gripper. The x07 model requires the assembly of both LWR drive and bulb holder while the x82 model requires the assembly of the LWR drive only. The appropriate assembly components will be picked up from specially designed trays. To ensure that the assembly components are correctly inserted, robot force control will be used for accurate task execution. Force-torque data will be used to define KPIs, which will be evaluated and further transferred to the right simulation and management point.
  4. For automatic screwing we will examine some innovative technical possibilities (e.g. fixed or movable screwdriver with integrated, automatic screw feeding system). However, all variants require robot positioning to the right location, and fine-tuning the position through the robot force control.
  5. The X07 light housing model requires the insertion of a sheet metal part that acts as a heat shield and prevents overheating of heat sensitive plastic parts. The first robot will perform this task. Using a magnetic gripper, the heat shield part will be picked up from a palette and slid in place.
  6. After finishing the assembly, the first robot grasps a camera and inspects the assembly quality control points. When the inspection is done, the second robot puts the light into the package for further transportation.

By making use of the business intelligence system integrated with the ReconCell system, we will be able to show real benefits of the proposed reconfigurable assembly system from the order to delivery.

Main Objectives of the Experiment

When companies introduce a new production process, they do feasibility studies to estimate its profitability. Often companies (95%) take into account just the quantity of parts when the production process is in full run, but they forget that after the end of regular production, spare parts must still be produced. This means that companies must take into account that first they will be making a large number of parts, but after the end of regular production they will still need to make a smaller number of parts.

For every new automotive light (start of production), ELVEZ has to order two new assembly devices (left side, right side). After the end of production, assembly devices must not be disassembled because they are needed to manufacture spare parts. Assembly devices must therefore be stored in a company for the next 10 years. This means that company needs a lot of free space to store these assembly devices. Production of spare parts is a low quantity aproduction and is typically done only once per year. Assembly devices are not universal but are different from product to product.

The purpose of the experiment is to show that we can use a reconfigurable robot workcell to assemble different products, thereby alleviating the need to store many different assembly devices. For example, with the same injection moulding machine, we will be able to make different headlight housings with typical structural elements for three different lights. One light is at the end of production, the second is in full run, while the production of the third light is expected to start during the lifetime of ReconCell project.

Expected Results

With this experiment we will demonstrate the applicability of the reconfigurable robot workcell on a concrete example from the production of ELVEZ, i.e. assembly of automotive lights.