A project, supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, created the foundation for the research institute ICM e.V. to open a training and application center ("SchAz") in Chemnitz. In the “KUKoMo” project, new robot solutions for collaborative assembly applications in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were tested in terms of feasibility and converted into demo solutions for cross-sector use cases. Automation components were further developed in a specially created application center, thus increasing acceptance from SMEs.
The ICM e.V. is a private, non-profit, application-oriented research institution (industrial research institution) whose primary objective is to open up new technical and technological possibilities for SMEs. We draw on many years of experience and a high level of competence. The institute has bundled its knowledge in the field of automation and robotics into this training and application center in order to make it accessible to interested companies in the commercial and industrial sectors. The focus is on the development of innovative automation solutions for production. Based on the individual identification of productivity potential, technical and technological solutions are systematically developed, evaluated and, if necessary, realized as prototypes.
"Our training and application center is characterized by the fact that people and machines come together in one place of learning, can deal with different problems and enable direct testing with professional feedback," says Isabell Grundmann, research associate and contact person for the SchAz on site .
The trend is towards small series
There is a multitude of solutions and products in the areas of automation, robotics, and handling technology./applications Developments with regard to the automation of small series - up to batch size 1 - are currently particularly promising and require a high degree of innovation. Mobile robotic systems and human-robot collaboration could become part of the development solution here. Unfortunately, such approaches are not so easy to implement, as the research and development costs are still immensely high. In the Chemnitzer SchAz, however, appropriate demonstrators are available for review and for further investigations and hence enable to test the most modern technologies and to evaluate the possible use cases for your own company. The automation and handling specialist Zimmer Group, a long-term partner of the ICM e.V., is there to help the experts of the institute and ICM GmbH with all aspects of gripping.
Main focus of the SchAz
With regard to the extensive topic, the training and application center puts the focus on three main aspects: In addition to automation for batch size 1, the Chemnitz-based company focuses primarily on mobile robotics and human-robot collaboration (HRC). The last two priorities will now be discussed in more detail here.
Classic industrial robots are installed in a fixed position - but increasing system flexibility requires mobile robot solutions. Two variants of mobile robotics are exemplarily compared in the SchAz - a classic industrial robot on a mobile frame (mobile robot) and the combination of an HRC robot with a driverless transport system (mobile HRC robot).
The “mobile robot” consists of a classic 6-axis robot from Kawasaki Robotics, which is mounted on a manually movable frame. It is equipped with a tool changer station and a variety of different grippers (GPP5008 + GEP2010) from Zimmer Group for parts handling. Moreover, an FT sensor for examining force-controlled processes for further feasibility studies is installed. The mobile robot is designed in such a way that the assembly can also be removed from the cell and used as an independent unit in a different environment.
In addition to the sensors, the demonstrator "mobile HRC robot" mainly consists of a collaborative robot (CR-7iaL) from Fanuc, a track-guided, autonomous driverless transport system (Beldrive FTS), and an HRC gripper (HRC-04-072810) from Zimmer Group together. The mobile HRC robot realizes the sub-processes transport and handling of perforated plates as well as the filling of a vibratory spiral conveyor in the SchAz. The HRC gripper takes on the empty perforated panels, transports them to the robot, picks up equipped perforated panels, and transports them to the manual workstation. A worker then takes over the final assembly of the equipped perforated plates in a collaborative collaboration with the robot.
The MRK system from ICM e.V. is intended to illustrate the collaborative assembly of a measuring tape (2 m), which consists of three parts (tape, actuator, shell). Two components are preassembled by a worker on a mobile work table. After the assembly has been handed over to the robot, it is inspected visually and checked by the robot with a camera system (Balluff company). The third component is then placed in the device by the worker. The final collaborative joining process and function test are then carried out by the Zimmer Group robot or HRC gripper.
The success of the SchAz also thanks to the many supporters
The fact that the opening of the Chemnitz training and application center is a resounding success was not only reflected in a large number of visitors at the opening day, but also in the many interested companies and, above all, in the numerous external supporters:
“In addition to modernly equipped Training rooms for developing creative ideas can be found in our application center with a wide range of automation technologies for researching and experimenting with new solutions. Without the support of technology leaders such as the Zimmer Group from Rheinau, however, these innovative solutions would not be so impressive, ”said Marcel Ott at the first demonstration in November 2019, who was the software developer and technical contact for the application center.
Text: Gregor Neumann - Media & Communication Zimmer Group | Isabell Grundmann + Marcel Ott - ICM
Photos: Marcel Ott - ICM