Enabling robots in small-part assembly lines: The "ROSETTA approach" - an industrial perspective

Conference: ROBOTIK 2012 - 7th German Conference on Robotics
05/21/2012 - 05/22/2012 at Munich, Germany

Proceedings: ROBOTIK 2012

Pages: 5Language: englishTyp: PDF

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Patel, Rajendra; Hedelind, Mikael; Lozan-Villegas, Pablo (ABB Corporate Research, Västerås, Sweden)

This paper describes a vision of how robots can effectively be introduced in small-parts assembly lines to (partly) automate the assembly line. We particularly consider small part assembly lines which are frequently changing, for example due to small product batch sizes and product changeover. In this scenario manual assembly lines are currently preferred since automation is deemed to be economically unviable and inflexible. Flexible robot systems that can be set-up and configured efficiently and effectively are considered to be one of the key factors to make the introduction of industrial robot automation in such conditions viable. Another key-enabler is to be able to introduce robots without having to install too much external safety equipment (e.g. fencing) since this occupies too much space and makes it more difficult to achieve efficient human-robot collaboration. The "ROSETTA approach" described and discussed in this paper can pave the way to achieve such a flexible robot system. ROSETTA is an acronym for “RObot control for Skilled ExecuTion of Tasks in natural interaction with humans; based on Autonomy, cumulative knowledge and learning”. The three cornerstones of the approach described here are safe human-robot collaboration, simplified robot programming, and automatic learning/optimization in robot program execution. It is believed that if development can be made in those three areas industrial robot automation can be made applicable for the small-parts assembly industry. Keywords: flexible industrial robotics; assembly concept