Displaying: All Days | All Locations | All Activities | Automation, Assembly & Robotics
How to Automate Successful Manual Finishing Steps by Increasing Process Safety, Quality and Reduce Health Issues
Manual operation is still very common in the industry when it comes to material removal. Often those manufacturing steps are hated but critical steps in manufactures process flow. Just for the simple fact that they are labor-intensive, health-endangering, or repetitive work steps – such as sanding or grinding – which are demanding on the employees. Nevertheless, often those critical tasks define repeatability and quality of your products. The automation of these work steps gives you the significant competitive advantage needed in a global market. Labor shortage in general or the simple fact that there is nothing as a finishing school, propels the demand of installing robots for those 3D (dirty, dusty, dangerous) jobs. No matter which fact or multiple reasons force manufactures to automate their applications, the right path is critical.
From knowing the limitations of technologies, to defining the scope, choosing a robot, the right tool, process to which abrasive or media change to use puts companies in every size for substantial burdens. Mistakes in this process can result in high costs to a non-functional cell. In form of best practice cases, we will demonstrate those challenging robotics applications by using different robotics technologies and compare the suitability on different industry tasks. The focus will be on the applications on aerospace parts, like composite or carbon parts – small parts to complete fuselages on substrate, primer, clear coat, or paint removal as well as deburring and turbine blade operations.
Satyandra Gupta, PhD, FSME
University of Southern California - Los Angeles, CA
Surface finishing represents a large portion of manufacturing operations. Sanding is a widely used surface finishing process during manufacturing of parts made from metal and composite. Sanding is an ergonomically challenging operation. Traditionally robots are used only on mass production applications. The manual programming of robots is economically not viable in high-mix applications; therefore, sanding has remained a manual operation. The advent of human-safe robots is enabling robots to collaborate with humans on ergonomically challenging tasks and amplify human productivity. This enables robots to perform a large fraction of sanding operation and only requires humans to perform the final touch-ups. The availability of 3D vision and force sensors enables robots to operate without custom fixtures and accommodate part and fixture variability. These recent advances in robotics make it possible for robots to be used in high-mix sanding applications. This presentation will describe artificial intelligence technology to enable robotic assistants to program themselves from the high-level task descriptions and utilize sensor data to adapt the programs to deliver efficient and safe operational performance. The robotic sanding solution ensures quality consistency, increases productivity, and enables scalability in production for the manufacturers.
Director, Business Development - Aerospace
IPG Photonics Corporation
In manufacturing, maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) of aerospace components thorough cleaning is usually required. Examples include for example cleaning before coating, surface polishing or roughening, cleaning before any joining operations such as welding or brazing. MRO often requires coating stripping. Three main technologies are currently used: abrasive grit blasting, abrasive water jetting and chemical cleaning/stripping. All these technologies produce negative impact on environment and health. On top of that, they are slow and expensive. The intent of this talk is to present laser cleaning solution that intended to replace these legacy technologies. Laser cleaning/ablation is known in the industry, but the use is limited due limited access to correct laser sources and a concern of part damaging by laser heat.
This presentation will demonstrate successful applications of laser cleaning to different cleaning/ablation tasks that improve productivity and repeatability (as laser cleaning can be fully automated), direct cost savings and part performance improvements (quality).
Aerospace Program Manager
All aerospace companies continue to struggle to successfully implement automation. The product design, manufacturing requirements, product certifications, and product complexity make automation significantly more difficult that industries like automotive. There is many new technologies and capabilities that are not commonly known throughout aerospace that can solve many of the difficulties of the past. This presentation will show many different real examples of automation applicable to aerospace processes and provide updates on new developments that further ease the implementation of advanced automation for some of aerospace’s most difficult processes. The presentation will also show the many benefits of collaborative robotics and collaborative applications and how a collaborative solution can be properly implemented for a successful manufacturing process. In addition to showing real solutions and new technology developments, this presentation will describe the key project concepts common to all successful automation projects and describe how to avoid the common mistakes that cause automation to fail.
Regional Head of Advanced Robotic Applications
The manufacturing of large, heavy parts, sometimes in small batches, has always been challenging, even with automation. Over the last decade, however, new, more flexible automation technology has been developed to enable more companies to automate their production. One such solution is the mobile robot, platforms with or without robots that are capable of transporting, processing, and measuring heavy, big parts. It is now possible to precisely maneuver mobile platforms, carrying up to 100 tons of payload. These mobile robots make it possible to process or check the quality of large parts without the need for big, complex installations.
The presentation will show how mobile platforms and robots can be used to increase the flexibility of automation projects in the manufacturing environment. Several application examples will be presented to illustrate the implementation of these technologies with focus on large and heavy part production.
WR-ALC Robotics and Automation Subject Matter Expert, Air Force
Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex
The use of specialized, custom, “bolted down” equipment, designed for specific workloads, monopolizes valuable production floor space and hampers our ability to be agile. The utilization of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) industrial robots, mobilized and armed with COTS supporting hardware, artificial intelligence/machine learning software, model-based manufacturing capabilities, and simplified operator interfaces is a huge step toward “Creating an Agile Factory Floor”. This technology enables organizations to respond quickly to the ever-changing warfighter needs. This presentation will describe and highlight the lessons learned, successes achieved, and potential future applications through the examples of the current installation and operation of two mobile robots deployed at the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex. These robotic systems are designed to be reconfigurable for future workloads, weapon systems, applications, capabilities, and even duty stations with little or no additional investment. This novel approach improves readiness with robotic systems that can be maintained and serviced organically, while merging the features and capabilities typically only found in one-off, custom equipment, with the agility and flexibility required to meet the on-going needs of the warfighter. The mobile nature of these systems can cut installation cost by 80% or more while shrinking installation schedules from months to days or even hours.
Collaborative robots are the fastest growing segment of the robotics industry and will continue to grow at the highest rate for the foreseeable future. Most cobot applications are limited to teaching the robot to move to a dozen points or less and turn something on or off. Cobots are capable of much more but require more sophistication than teaching it a few points. How this can be accomplished to make automation of dull, dirty and repetitive tasks affordable for OEMs, upper tier suppliers and small and medium size manufacturers is a topic of interest.
We present a brief overview of existing parallel kinematic robots (PKMs) and look into how workspace singularities and joint limits have reduced their applicability to small workspaces and niched applications.
This is compared with the industry’s demand to use robots for both additive and subtractive manufacturing and how existing accuracy and rigidity have shown not to be sufficient for good part quality.
The fundamental differences between traditional robots and PKMs are explained in the context of the new potentials they bring. The Cognibotics parallel kinematic robot concept based on eight links is explained, and we show how this solution overcomes both the limitations of existing PKMs and the shortcomings of traditional industrial robots. We explain how the solution uses 6 links, arranged to optimize the cartesian workspace size and rigidity, combined with two additional links to provide a large orientational workspace for 5 and 6 axis processes with a need for speed, accuracy, and rigidity.
We also present an example of a prototype robot installation based on this concept which provides great properties for a hybrid manufacturing solution, capable of both additive and subtractive manufacturing.
- Explain how parallel kinematic robots can achieve higher performance than traditional robots.
- Understand performance limitations of articulated industrial robots on today’s market.
- Identify new manufacturing processes which can be improved with the use of parallel kinematic robots.
Todd J. Hammer, Sr.
President & CEO
Belotti America, Inc.
To remain competitive, manufacturers must implement the most cost-effective methods of changing over the tooling in their NC machines, but often times the smaller shops don’t have the depth of experience that large job shops benefit from. This Case Study presentation is intended to level the playing field.
Matthew M. Robinson
ROS-Industrial Program Manager
Southwest Research Institute
Southwest Research Institute
The A5 (Advanced Automation for Agile Aerospace Applications) program is a four-year effort, sponsored by the United States Air Force Research Lab, to enable agile and flexible automation for critical Air Force sustainment needs. Led by a development team from the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, Southwest Research Institute, and the Boeing Company, this program seeks to change the paradigm of traditional robotics by leveraging the advanced capabilities of ROS. Traditional automation solutions for aerospace tend to be purpose-built machines, often dedicated to a specific aircraft or component, that require large capital investment and operating expenses. This effort pushes toward a future in which the automation solutions can easily adapt to new tasks and environments and use sensor data to close the loop on process variability. To that end, the team has developed an open-source robotics platform for rapidly deploying automation solutions for a variety of processes, including sanding and non-destructive inspection. The goal of this presentation is to illustrate how we applied and developed ROS open-source software tools to construct this automation platform. The presentation will describe the core capabilities of the system, highlight the many challenges encountered during design, and describe the solutions we implemented in deploying the prototype system for both these initial processes and inspection and extending the software to other platforms and applications.
- Understanding the capability of contemporary open-source tools for advanced capability development.
- Understand the feasibility for a potential advanced application in their domain.
- Scope out a potential project that leverages these advanced capabilities.