Robot programming: Learning by XR demonstration
The precise programming of the robots and cobots in your production line is not only a difficult and time-consuming task. It also requires specific expertise. To facilitate this process, we developed an "Extended Reality" framework that stores the movements of operators and translates them into a robot trajectory. After a short training, an operator can adjust and simulate trajectories before the robot executes them. By avoiding conventional online programming, we can reduce the downtime of your production line by up to 95%. Moreover, we use the operator's knowledge as input, which allows us to improve the XR simulations and reduce the total programming time of robots by up to 50%.
Precise object position detection by 2D cameras
Robots are getting smarter as Artificial Intelligence finds its way into industrial applications. But to work optimally, AI algorithms need large training datasets, and generating these datasets is very time-consuming and expensive.
To speed up this process, we have developed an end-to-end artificial intelligence workflow that recognises the object and estimates its position. We start from synthetic data that we extract from the CAD file of an object. With this we create a photorealistic training dataset and then train AI models for these tasks. The outcome of this AI model is a 2D vision system that allows robots to perform different tasks, such as bin picking or assembly, without relying on expensive 3D vision systems. Our workflow allows engineers to set up vision-supported robot applications faster. Moreover, this workflow is much more robust and faster compared to what would be possible when taking real pictures of an object. Instead of pulling thousands of photos and collecting them in training datasets, we now use synthetic data to generate a training dataset. In this way, we can generate a dataset in a few hours, which saves a lot of development time and costs.
Versatile, mobile third-hand operator support
Operator support in industry is becoming increasingly important. Cobots can be a great solution for heavy, repetitive tasks. They work continuously and you can use them in a different way every time. Moreover, Cobots also ensure that operators stay motivated by freeing them from certain boring, heavy routine tasks.
To support operators, we developed a mobile cobot. The cobot helps the operator to move heavy objects, and immediately holds them in the right place for assembly. This way, the operator can perform the assembly in a smooth way. Moreover, the cobot is compact, especially compared to, for instance, an overhead crane. In addition, the cobot is more mobile, and more versatile since you can program it for different tasks.
Industry 4.0 is forcing manufacturing companies to invest more in modern technologies to be able to produce customised products at the price of mass production. Yet many companies lack the right knowledge to be 'on board' with these new standards.
SmartFactory is an ecosystem in which we, together with 9 industrial partners, have built a flexible assembly line. With this ecosystem, we demonstrate the current status of the technology. This will also allow companies to evolve towards Industrie 4.0 worthy production systems. Within this concept, we focus on 4 main pillars of Industry 4.0: Standardisation, Digital Twins, Human-centricity and Internet-of-Things. The SmartFactory shows the assembly process of a torch, with the different benefits of each concept: Increased productivity, increased flexibility, increased quality and increased speed.