to rising customers’ individual demands and rapidly changing markets, agility
has become a primary condition for competitiveness. Increasing variety of
products and volatility of demand puts a strain on manufacturing industry. To
respond, agility, flexibility and cognition capacity are needed on all levels,
across all actors and during the whole lifecycle.
In the future of agile and cognitive manufacturing, human and machine labour will need to efficiently work together within the
production and operational processes of manufacturing companies - within and
between companies in value networks and business ecosystems. In additon to different robotics technologies, this requirement
puts special emphasis on real-time digital data management and interaction
channels within and across companies.
VTT can help you with:
Creating intelligent control methods and technology enablers
for demanding manufacturing and production applications
Human robot integration in logistics,
migration from fully human operation to work alongside humans
Designing collaborative work concepts for human/robot/multi-robot collaboration
Finding possibilities of mobile and movable cobot concepts
Potential of utilizing AI with robots
Sensors and perceptions
User interfaces and robot programming methods and tools
Robot configurability and adaptability
Collaborative robots to enable new ways of working?
Collaborative robots, or cobots, have been expected to provide the missing link towards flexible production by simple programming and the cobots’ ability to work next to human workers. Typical applications include assembly, palletizing and inspection tasks. Our offering includes designing and evaluating human-robot collaboration from multiple perspectives:
- human factors
- worker acceptance
Future research interests include practical safety applications, task allocation between humans and cobots, and mobile cobot concepts.
Ensure safe human-robot collaboration
Traditional heavy industrial robots have high velocities, thus long stopping distances and times. Safety/stopping area requires a lot of physical space. Humans cannot approach robots, the robots need to be stopped in order for human to approach. With the help of new safety solutions and VTT’s innovative research approach, a dynamic safety system has been developed, which enables:
- creating multiple optimised safety configurations automatically (=VTT innovation)
- fenceless operation with robots
- dynamic speed and areas according to the worker's position
- avoiding unnecessary safety stops
Our system is safety certifiable. It uses safety sensors and safety controllers, devices. Components are off-the shelf. Without these, the robot cannot be used in production. This system is production ready. Compared with normal, this is more dynamic:
- One sensor stops the robot before the robot is forced to stop
- Productivity increase and new opportunities to use robots
Customized robotic and mechatronic systems
In many production environments, especially out of factories, automation can substantially improve production performance and also working conditions and safety. To comply with the challenging environmental and operational conditions customized robotic and mechatronic solutions are really needed. VTT develops advanced custom designed robotic and mechatronic systems with state-of-the-art technologies.
An excellent reference is a walking friction stir robot, which VTT developed together with the TWI Ltd, and five European SME companies (www.mobiweld.eu). The Mobiweld robot can join aluminum plates, and it can handle and control the high lateral forces and torques, typical for friction stir weld operations.