Collaborative Robots Case Stories

Collaborative Robots Case Stories

Collaborative robots or cobots are modern industrial-grade robotic arms from Universal Robots. They are quite easy to program, set up and deploy making them an ideal automation solution for many industries and companies worldwide.  Here are cases stories of two companies engaging in very different activities but share the same great experience of using the collaborative robots.

  • Aircraft Tooling Inc.

Aircraft tooling Inc. is a repair center for the aviation industry in the USA. The company was in need of a robot that was capable of engaging in repair tasks that involved High Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HVOF) and plasma spray on parts. Looking for a cost effective and efficient solution that would also fit well in their small spray cells, ATI choose the UR10.  The cobot met their expectations by being user-friendly and portable.

The process of unpacking and programming the cobot only took them four hours, an incredibly short time compared to the traditional robot and there was no need to erect a fence around due to its collaborative feature. The initial cost was almost half in comparison to the other options.

However, the main feature that won the hearts of ATI’s staff was the cobot’s ability to operate very well in the spray booths, which were extremely hot and dusty. Doubting the cobot’s resilience and durability, the factory’s thermal spraying supervisor feared that the cobot would fail to withstand some of the powder coatings especially the tungsten carbide, which is a hard metal coating. Fortunately, upon opening the seals of the UR10, they found its bearings intact and after three years of continuous use, its condition is still very good and intact.

The collaborative robot does not need any preventive maintenance since it is well sealed from dust; possess the stability to withstand the recoil of the spray guns used by the company thereby working similarly well in both the dangerous environments as well as in a clean room.

The cobot has enabled ATI achieve a reliable production consistency leading to its growth from being a component-only repair plant to now deal with overhaul of landing gear and engine mounting assembly and accessories. The company continues to maintain high quality standards with their major focus being the restoration of high cost parts to achieve better standard dimensions.

  • Autodesk

Autodesk is an American company that develops software for use in the construction industry. The company through its research aims at creating new solutions that enables the client to work together with robots in accomplishing the broader tasks associated with construction industry.

To ascertain that the cobot was flexible for moving around a rugged construction site for deployment in various tasks Autodesk Robotics Lab came up with four projects that would check the cobots ability  in machine learning, drawing and smart assembly systems.

The first project was the HIVE Pavilion-Human Robot interaction; its goal was to allow users to experience a smooth integration between the robots design, wearable, intelligence and RFID tracking utilized in the building pieces. The collaborative robot was able to achieve precise movements and accurate measurements, which would have been a hard task for the human workers.

The second project involved solution and vector art drawing to find out the cobot’s capability in robotic path following. By taking the robot in an unknown open place, calibrating it and programming it to follow the paths of a vector drawing projected into a canvas. The UR10 was perfect in performing the task since it is small, mobile and safe compared to the other robots that Autodesk owns.

The third project was to find a solution on flexible robot assistance on construction sites. The cobot’s built-in safety features enabled the company to make a prototype that was a robot assistant in the construction sites. One can roll the UR10 onto a drywall, the operator projecting an outlet will then modify by using voice command and the UR10 goes ahead and makes the desired adjustments.

The final project was to achieve smart assembly systems. The UR robots were able to tackle the challenges in bin picking, re-grasping and placement. Fitted with a vision guidance system the cobot can pick a pre-defined brick in a mix of different sizes and colors and accurately place it in the required building site for assembling.

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