Evaluaton and Design of advanced robotic systems - X

Evaluaton and Design of advanced
robotic systems: automotive
industry case study
Annual Meeting
Institute of Industrial Engineers
Montreal, Canada
June 3, 2014
Dr. Martin Stein
Martin Stein Associates
[email protected]
Executive Summary
• The Author proposes a systematic process for
evaluation and design of advanced robotics
• A case study for a major automotive industry company
was conducted to refine the methodology.
• The case study provided preliminary observations
necessary to design a pilot application of advanced or
collaborative robotics and to prepare a design for the
testing and pilot demonstration of these operations.
• Examples of operations that were evaluated in depth
are the automated unloading of laser created parts and
insertion of specialized fasteners.
… Executive Summary
• The evaluation methodology is designed to
provide an analysis of the benefits and costs of
alternative technologies for automation of
industrial processes including combinations of
robotics technologies.
• For example, fixed automation with a heavy duty
arm with a compliant gripper, and computer
• The initial field assessments were conducted to
refine the methodology.
• Robotics technology is an enabler and
provides companies with a competitive
• At a recent conference of the Institute of
Industrial Engineers, a presentation to
evaluate advanced robotics technology was
made by Dr. Stein and Dr. Torres-Jara.
• A field evaluation in three large automotive plants was
conducted to review existing applications and consider
how automation can provide economic and safety
benefits to various industrial processes.
• In addition, the applications of new advanced
technologies such as collaborative robotics., and
provide a consistent and standardized framework for
testing and deployment of these technologies was
• Several opportunities were identified during the field
evaluation that show potential for future research and
testing. These opportunities are described below.
Opportunities for Testing and
Utilization of Collaborative Robotics
• A new industrial revolution is creating a new
breed of robots that can reduce labor,
improve quality and safety in the automotive
assembly and fabrication processes.
• In the future, companies can take advantage
of the new technologies but careful design,
development and testing of these
technologies is required.
Potential Innovations
• Fastener Insertion: Fabrication and Assembly
• Selection of Specific Operations for Testing
and Design
• Preparation of Implementation Plan for Each
• Creation of Robotics Technology Data Base
Additional Discussion and Review of these
1. Laser produced parts are converted directly into
1. Grabbing parts
2. Creating kits
2. Quality control
1. Tactile inspection
2. Recording 3D data on defects
3. Robotics configuration
1. Combine robotics technologies
2. Automated unloading of lasers, cut parts and press
Phase II Tasks
• Define technology options for suggested
• Specify combinations and configurations
• Design pilot applications
• Follow-up Field and Laboratory Data collection
to confirm application requirements
Robot Controller Communication Protocol
Robot Controller Programmability
CAD file formats used (2D and 3D)
Communication Network
User software interface for each application and
• Laser or other machines involved: API Availability
• AGV Software (if necessary)
• Review existing automation operations and
Proposed Implementation for Phase II:
Fastener Placing in the Chassis
• The challenge in this implementation is
recover a reference point so that the robot
arm can operate. It is assumed that a 3D CAD
model in a readable format exists.
• The end effector needs to have compliance to
perform the insertion.
• Additional considerations depend on the how
the chassis will be fixated during the
Sensitive Robotics Features
Recover Reference Software
Mobile to Avoid Conveyor Belts
Holding of part not needed or is less necessary
Also, utilizing YARP (Yet Another Robot
Platform) for control and communication.
Alternate Implementation for Phase II:
Bending Press Operation
• The complexity of this implementation depends on
what is the complete task to implement and how the
parts are feed.
• If linked to the unloading of the laser cutters, the parts
can come in mobile robot or together with a mobile
• Besides the complexity of changing the die sets, the
robot should have some sort of compliant gripper to
maintain contact with the part is this is bent.
• In order to correctly place the part on the press,
stoppers and compliant grippers are recommended for
Alternative Implementation for
Phase II: Unloading the Lasers
• Moving the cut parts using a robot and the file
used to cut the profiles.
• It the robot arm to use is fixed next to the laser
cutter. The solution is straight forward to
implement. However, the robot should have a
large reach to pile the parts in the right place.
• A suction cup capable of rotating and detecting
force is recommended.
• The parts can be shipped in mobile robots to the
press where another arm can continue the job.
Alternative Implementation for
Phase II: Overall System Integration
• Most of robotic arms have controllers with
limited capabilities to interface with external
• There are a number of technologies available
for this task depending on the arm provider.
• YARP and other software will allow
interoperability with multiple systems to
achieve the implementations desired.
System Integration (Cont’d)
• If a mobile platform with an arm (motorized or
not) is used instead of a fixed arm, then the
challenge is to recover the reference to start the
• A number of alternatives can be implemented to
do this operation. It is recommended to use
multiple sensing modalities in order to execute
this critical operation.
• The advantage of mobile arms to unload the laser
cutter is that they can move to another laser
cutter for operation seamlessly.
Alternative Implementation for
Phase II: Painting
• Currently, a person visually inspects and retouches the
work done by a robot.
• The person has to wear a protective suit and can only work
2 hours because the gun is heavy the environment harsh.
• Proposed implementation:
– After the robot paints, a person outside the chamber can
visually inspect the work using a camera mounted in the same
robot. The person is outside the chamber and can teleoperate
the painting robot.
– If the current robot should not be used another robot can be
placed in the current location of the operator to do this
– The result is that the person is not limited to 2 hours work and is
not exposed to the harsh conditions of the painting room.
Expected Benefits
• Utilization of this framework will help accelerate
implementation of potential robotics and automation
investments. This will help maintain Competitive Advantage
and increase quality, safety and customer satisfaction.
• Risk associated with new implementations and technology
implementations will be reduced through the use of
outside resources.
• Presentations for management will be created that
facilitate early stages of robotics technology investment.
• Data and analysis obtained during Phase II can also help
create a Robotics Evaluation and Analysis Planning System
data base (REAPS).
Key Evaluation Factors
• Authorization for Capital Expenditures require the evaluation of
impacts on safety, quality, efficiency and delivery.
• Key metrics also include the length of the payback time period,
labor savings and the intangible benefits associated with reduced
accidents and injuries.
• Elements of the analysis include the existing and proposed
configuration of equipment, standard robotics utilized, system
integrators and software modifications.
• For collaborative robotics, it will be necessary to consider the new
RIA safety standards, and criteria such as zone of operation, speed
and precision of the robot arm. Benefits and Costs for combinations
of technologies will be necessary for decision making purposes.
• Testing of equipment and combinations will be facilitated by the
use of the specialized laboratory facilities such as ABB.
Implementation of advanced manipulation
robotics technology
• Comprehensive database of basic and advanced robotics technologies.
• Patented Robotics technology on manipulation, and contact feedback.
• Proprietary software to simplify programmable operations in industrial
• Innovative designs and products for use in the agricultural industry will be
proposed that can provide a competitive advantage.
• A detailed and precise model of the
environment/objects is needed
– A CAD model is generally available for a static
• Robotic arm is positioned with high precision
– The control consists of a set of trajectories
• No tactile sensing is used in general
– Less sensor are needed
– No wearing of the contact sensors
• Complex programming
– Advance tasks can be executed
Sensitive manipulation technology
• New kind of tactile sensors
• Compliant actuators
• Sensitive manipulation algorithms
Tactile Sensors
[Torres-Jara 2006, MIT CSAIL]
• Designed for
• Different from
Series Elastic Actuators (SEA)
Pratt, Williamson, [1995]
• Compliant actuator with low mechanical
• Designed for force control
[Torres-Jara 2007, MIT CSAIL]
• High level control based on tactile feedback
• Detection of tactile sensor patterns to improve high and
low level control
Robots Obrero and Gobot
• Obrero: Sensitive
• Gobot: Fine sensitive
• Incorporate the lessons learned
from Obrero and Gobot.
– Hardware and software.
• Robust and dexterous
– Capable of handling “any” objects
• Easy to program.
Phase 3. Discussion of capabilities and
limitations of advanced technologies.
• Tasks that can be done differently with
compliant robots.
• Tasks that can be improved with tactile
• Constraints that can be removed when
implementing automation tasks.
Phase 4. Conceptual framework for
evaluating alternative robotic technology.
• Robotic systems defined
– Application in the work environment that utilize
intelligent automated technology
– Process for measuring the cost and benefits of
substituting automated technology for manual
– Process for creating innovative options for the use
of automated technology in the work place
Evaluation of alternative robotic
systems and potential applications
Business case
• Productivity Benefits
• Costs
• Intangibles
• Investment
• Human Capital
• Pilot
• Robotic
•Fully aut.
•Semi aut.
• Non-robotic
• Technology
• Process
• Proof of Concept
If robotics:
• Arm
• Hand
• Finger
• Sensors
Phase I Field Evaluation: Selected
• For relevant processes and operations:
Movement Type
• Surface Type, Object Size and Weight, Precision
• Platform Type
• Vision Requirements
• Manipulation Requirements
• Environmental Factors
• Human Interaction
Phase II Analysis: Selected Factors
Force Requirements
Sensing Requirements
Compliant or Non Compliant Sensing
Position Control
Alternative Technological Solutions
Instrumentation Sensing
Human Interface
Safety Regulation Compliance
Advanced Technology: Pilot Proposal
Phase III Prototype
• Selected Technological Solutions: Automated
and Robotics
• Equipment Required for Laboratory
• Tests Necessary in Laboratory
• Benefits of Alternative Robotics Solutions
• Costs of Alternative Robotics Solutions
• Field Implementation Plan
Phase IV Business Case
• Management of Innovation Process
• Labor Savings Considerations
• Safety and Environmental Impacts
• Projections of Operating, Maintenance and
Support Requirements
• Payback Time Frame
• Estimated Utilization Across North America
• Estimated Utilization Globally
Preliminary Observations and
• A broader assessment of the innovation
process might yield important insights.
• For example, how do competency teams
communicate with each other?
• What are the linkages between the process,
employee and customer feedback
• How can additional flexibility in supplier
selection facilitate future innovation?
Martin Stein Associates
• Martin Stein, President, Martin Stein Associates
– D.Sc. in Applied Mathematics, MA and BS Economics.
Former Deputy Director, Center for Transportation,
– 30 years experience consulting on advanced
technology in industry including projects for the US
Department of Agriculture (Infrastructure), Ministry of
Technology for the Government of Germany (MagLev) and Snap-On Tools (Van of the Future).
– Clients include: Kellogg’s, GM, Toyota, US. DOT.
– President-Elect of the Process Industries Division,
Institute of Industrial Engineers.

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