Fraunhofer - Mobile robot with high absolute accuracy
Based on increasing production rates aircraft manufacturers promote the replacement of expensive portal systems by flexible, affordable, and space-saving robots.05 Apr. 2018
What problem does the product solve?
Based on increasing production rates aircraft manufacturers promote the replacement of expensive portal systems by flexible, affordable, and space-saving robots. For this reason, a system has been developed to upgrade industrial robots to mobile CNC milling robots, which are suitable for milling of large parts, such as fuselage or wing shells. These parts are showing a poor shape accuracy and the need of a high machining accuracy. Because of their enhanced absolute accuracy, in the field of machining of large parts, three mobile robots can replace one portal system at equal investment and space requirements. The resulting productivity gain amounts to more than 40 %. A further advantage of mobile robots is the option to use them elsewhere for different tasks after changing the end-effector.
What’s new/innovative about it?
The modular structure and the integration of technologies for accuracy enhancement:
o Secondary encoders for direct measurement of each robot axis
o Optimized, continuous absolute calibration
o Optimized controller architecture / static friction compensation
o Real time control by external sensors
o Easy operation by G-Code programming
o Integrated dust removal system
o Mobile robot on extremely stiff platform (AGV), tripod design
Does the product have a USP? If yes, what is it?
Modular designed combination of a CNC-controlled industrial robot with enhanced absolute accuracy and highly stiff AGV, which minimizes a loss in precision. The precision requirement of ± 0,2 mm for machining of 20 m long aircraft parts is reliably mastered even if the process is resumed after a relocation of the system. Currently, it is the only mobile 6-axis machining robotic system worldwide to fulfill the aircraft manufacturer’s requirements.
What is the product’s main benefit for the customer?
Because of their enhanced absolute accuracy, in the field of machining of large parts three mobile robots can replace one portal system at equal investment and space requirements. A further advantage of mobile robots is the option to use them at different locations and elsewhere for different tasks after changing the end-effector.
Can these benefits be expressed in numbers (e. g. process is 30 % more efficient)?
The resulting productivity gain amounts to more than 40 %.
In what way does the product contribute to integrated processes and/or Industry 4.0?
Mobile robots with high absolute accuracy are indispensable components of an agile production of large structures, in which production systems adapt virtually self-controlled to the current order situation and provide sufficient flexibility for the manufacturing of future product generations. The realization of this vision necessitates a continuously digitalized production environment according to the Industry 4.0 leitmotif.
To what extent does the product reflect the idea of integration (of employees, external business partners, processes)?
Mobile robots with high absolute accuracy fit in with the concept of a digital factory, where an electronical data exchange takes place both horizontally along the in-plant process chain as well as vertically with companies (for example suppliers) upstream and downstream. Future work includes the development of suitable strategies and sensors for absolute safe human-robot collaboration as found today to some extend with the significant smaller and weaker lightweight robots.
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