Manufacturing companies that need their operators to lift and manipulate heavy and/or bulky objects that cannot be handled ergonomically would benefit from robotic-technology supportive systems used to nullify the weight and to aid in safely performing the intended manipulation. This would improve working conditions and productivity, and reduce fatigue and risk of injury. Existing solutions however, only provide gravity compensation without any active motion support. Therefore, manipulating bulky objects safely can still be tricky. As existing systems cannot be sufficiently adapted for flexible assembly, they tend to be cumbersome to use to the extent that operators avoid them altogether.
The goal of this project is to select effective, safe and ergonomic system architectures that standardize modern support systems for work cells that require handling of heavy loads. We will conduct research to enhance the load compensation capabilities of co-bots, which generally have a rather limited payload, and will integrate smart motion support through sensing and control strategies. Lastly, the operator should be able to interact and intuitively control the support system.
This project targets manufacturing companies as well as technology integrators and service provider companies.
SMARTHANDLER is an ICON-project (Interdisciplinair Coöperatief Onderzoek – Interdisciplinary Cooperative Research). We are looking for companies to detail the project content with us and define use cases for valorisation of the project results.