Automotive drivers for creating workplaces where human and

Automotive
manufacturing car industry is undergoing major changes and transformations.
Digitization introduced new technologies; manufactured products are demanded to
produce in an increasing number of variants while the workforce’s average age
is shifted by the demographic change. All of these factors are important
drivers for creating workplaces where human and robot work together which based
on the Industry 4.0 concept. On the other hand, the field of human-robot collaboration
has experienced a significant increase of interest in the past years, first
from the research community and as well from the industrial community. The
reason lies in key enabling this new technology appearing on the market,
probably most importantly a new generation of lightweight robots which
incorporate different concepts (control software or mechatronic design) allow
to interact with humans while ensuring a certain degree of safety.

Human
beings remain at the center of production. The crucial point is to achieve open
communication and simple integration. A factory staffed by robots alone will
remain an illusion, even in the smart factory. People will remain the central
focus. However, robots will make people’s jobs less arduous, will support people
and give them entirely new capabilities.

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In this context, without doubt,
human-robot collaboration will play a key role in Industry 4.0 – not only
directly as part of modern production, but as data gatherers that can
communicate all relevant information to IT systems in real time if required.
This means the current work aims at integrating current technologies in
different areas to create an innovative robotic system for a safe and intuitive
human-robot collaboration. With multisensor-based workspace, they make it
possible to automate delicate assembly tasks in the first place. If unexpected
contact is made, robots will reduce their speed and thus the kinetic energy to
an extent that prevents avoidance of collisions both with itself and with
external objects. In addition, a set of whole-body controllers is used as
building block that describes single actions of a high- level robot behavior
plan. Finally, a modular, robot- agnostic software control framework was used
to seamlessly bind all components together and allow reusing generic software
components to describe a variety of complex manipulation behaviors, whilst
keeping independence from the particular robot hardware. When people and robots
can work safely together, many conventional safety precautions become
superfluous. Additional costs that would normally be required for safety
technology and protective fences can be dispensed with. Workers and robots can
share the same workspace without any concerns. In this way, expensive feed
systems and production floor space can be saved.

 

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