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Multi-robot approach for automation of an industrial profile lamination process

 
: Bielawny, D.; Bruns, T.; Loh, C.C.; Traechtler, A.

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Fulltext (PDF; )

Procedia Engineering 41 (2012), pp.981-987
ISSN: 1877-7058
International Symposium on Robotics and Intelligent Sensors (IRIS) <2012, Kuching>
English
Conference Paper, Journal Article, Electronic Publication
Fraunhofer IPT ()

Abstract
In this paper we present a multi-robot application from the field of industrial automation. The multi-robot system forms the central part of a novel kind of profile wrapping machine, which is used to laminate decorative surfaces onto profiles, e.g. parts for window frames. The robots operate in a confined area and perform different tasks such as re-tooling and setting up machine parts simultaneously as quick and as accurate as possible. During lamination, each robot uses a special roller to press the adhesive-coated surface onto the profile. For this application, we use a scalable number of at least 10 and up to 50 standard articulated-arm robots. The system consists of three lines of robots, three movable depots capable of holding hundreds of different rollers and a computer with a fieldbus interface allowing for communication with additional machine components like servo converters. On the computer runs custom software and serves as a central control unit. The control software receives the given reference values, like roller positions and desired pressure, and distributes them to the robots. Robot actions are triggered, monitored and synchronized by the central control unit, but every robot performs its tasks autonomously. The main control unit and robots communicate via standard Ethernet, since time-critical actions can be handled on each robot's own controller. User interface and sophisticated software modules allowing for a completely automated machine configuration are also linked to the control system via Ethernet, as well as any additional components like data logging or remote service applications. Tests revealed that the multi-robot approach for profile wrapping reduces set-up time from more than 1.5 hrs on conventional machines to approximately five minutes. At the same time, it ensures a higher and more constant process quality as the system autonomously compensates for wear of rollers or variation in the profile's geometry.

: http://publica.fraunhofer.de/documents/N-350315.html