A new device will help businesses make the production process more efficient
A system developed by NTIS research centre scientists can teach an industrial robot to move around like a human production operator. The tracking device can be placed on any work tool. The device can help small and medium-sized enterprises with the robotization of production.
"Today, robots are commonly used in industry, where they perform various complex tasks and thus replace routine work of production operators. Especially in applications where the character of the work performed often changes, e.g., due to the small series of parts produced or because of specific requirements, it is often necessary to reprogram robots. This usually requires trained operators or professional robot integrators, which represents a heavy economic and time burden." explains Martin Švejda, a member of the ACROSS group of the Faculty of Applied Sciences NTIS research centre and head of the five-member team of scientists who developed the tracking device, thanks to which robots can easily learn necessary task actions. The device was created as part of the "New Technology for Intelligent Robot Movement Planning in Industrial Processes" project supported from the Trio programme by the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic.
"Our goal was to make robots programmable by production operators themselves," notes Dr. Švejda. The concept of the system is based on the use of a HW add-on to a standard work tool that is normally controlled by a person (e.g., a wet paint gun). The system detects the movement of the work tool, processes it, and the robot then replicates it in automatic mode. In addition to saving time and costs, such a procedure also ensures effective transfer of the know-how of experienced human operators to activities performed by robots.
"The possibility of programming robots in an easy and intuitive way, which anyone can handle after a quick training without the need for special qualifications, can significantly help to robotize especially small and medium-sized enterprises," says Dr. Švejda. "Teaching robots by showing them specific movements of a work tool will ensure a natural transfer of production operators' experience to the automation of technological processes," he adds. The tracking device system is based on a commercially available motion sensor (HTC Vive Tracker), which is primarily intended for the use of virtual reality in the gaming industry.
Due to its accuracy, the tracking device can be used for the robotization of such technological processes as, for example, painting, blasting or rinsing. The system can currently be applied to Stäubli, Universal Robots and Fanuc industrial robots. At the same time, it is possible to adapt it flexibly to the needs of potential customers, both at the hardware and software levels. For those interested, FAS experts offer license sales, device integration to other robots, customization for specific applications and integration into the existing technology.
The robot's work is shown in a real deployment video.
The technical details of the developed system are described in a publication inan impact journal.
The "New Technology for Intelligent Planning of Robot Movements in Industrial Processes" project, reference number FV20597, was supported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade from the TRIO programme.
Faculty of Applied Sciences
16. 09. 2022