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RWtH Aachen

researches huge dynamic manufacturing potential of igPS enabled industrial robots

In search of versatile production system concepts for german manufacturing industries, RWtH Aachen invested in Nikon Metrology igPS metrology. the renowned institution’s “Werkzeugmaschinenlabor WZL” uses a cell populated with two industrial robots to study how manufacturing quality can be maximized using igPS. Scientists at WZL confirm that the affordable combination of off-the-shelf robot and metrology technology yields better economics than expensive specialty equipment or manual work. Invisible igPS laser beams continuously track the locations of the robot’s tool center point, and feed back the filtered data in closed loop to improve absolute robot precision. WZL masters this unique concept to improve the manufacturing quality of numerous dynamic industrial applications, including handling, assembly, burnishing, deburring, welding and pleating.

igPS @ RWtH (ge)

igPS tracks robot tool center point positions in real time, and feed back the data in closed loop. igPS metrology is mastered to improve the manufacturing quality of dynamic industrial applications.

igPS-turns an entire manufacturing cell into a single metrology enabled environment

igPS enabled robots yield better economics than expensive specialty equipment or manual work

Ideal for flexible robotized production cells manufacturing small series first-time-right

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cells manufacturing small series first-time-right 22 Versatile production concepts driven by metrology Innovation

Versatile production concepts driven by metrology

Innovation is shaped by market stimuli and market dynamics, but is also driven by research findings from RWTH in Aachen. WZL, RWTH’s Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering, develops new and optimizes existing solutions through a practice-oriented research and development process for production industries’ clients, and helps manufacturers improve their competitiveness. WZL’s department of production metrology and quality management relies on optical metrology to guide tomorrow’s shop floor production processes.

The versatility of a production system is an essential aspect that mainly focuses on the ability to understand organization and technology at low investment costs, while offering premium flexibility. Optical metrology in combination with industrial robots is a key enabler to achieve this level of flexibility. Robots are flexible production entities for handling, mounting, welding or other production processes that can be effectively deployed in production systems that manufacture small series first-time-right and easily switch from one product type to another. Still, their potential is left largely unexploited because too much time is needed to set up robot processes, program robot movement, rig it or align process fixtures. B. Damm, team leader of the imaging processes and coordinate metrology groups, marks that: “metrology is not a necessary evil. In particular, optical metrology technologies will be the ears and eyes of versatile and self- optimizing production systems of the future!”

and self- optimizing production systems of the future!” “Werkzeugmaschinenlabor WZL” relies on metrology to

“Werkzeugmaschinenlabor WZL” relies on metrology to guide tomorrow’s shop floor production processes”

As part of calibration, a double ball bar is used to measure the accuracy of

As part of calibration, a double ball bar is used to measure the accuracy of robot motion cooperation

Optical metrology technologies will be the ears and eyes of versatile and self-optimizing production systems of the future.

B. Damm, team leader of the imaging processes and coordinate metrology groups for WZL of RWtH

unique laser-based igPs robot tracking

Better dynamic robot precision through kalman filtering

“The winning combination of industrial robot workhorses with innovative large-scale metrology offers distinct advantages compared to equipment specifically designed for a particular manufacturing task,” says J. Jans, Nikon Metrology Executive V. P. Marketing. “Today too many manufacturing tasks are performed by hand, or when automated the task is performed by expensive dedicatedly designed precision equipment.” For companies to remain competitive in the global setting, WZL scientists research enabling industrial application technologies, such as iGPS, to increase manufacturing precision, flexibility and throughput.

Originally used to allow the spaceship of the Apollo program to land on the moon, Kalman filtering will guide dynamic robot movement with higher precision. “Robots need continuous adjustment when manufacturing tasks are actually taking place,” says A. Schönberg, responsible research assistant for the robot cell and member of the imaging processes group. From a mathematical point of view, Kalman is the optimum filter type for vector-based Gauss-Markov- Processes, as no other linear method exists that reaches smaller errors between the actual and predicted state of a system.

iGPS stirs up manufacturing communities by turning an entire manufacturing cell into a single metrology enabled environment. iGPS robot sensors capture their individual elevation and azimuth angles with respect to multiple iGPS transmitters that are within line of sight, based on the timing of the arriving invisible coded laser pulses. This is iGPS’ unique approach to continuously tracking robot tool center point positions, and possibly also the part that is clamped by the robot(s). By returning the acquired metrology data to the robots using a closed feedback loop, robot positioning improves drastically. iGPS plays an important role in this innovative metrology-adjusted process, which nearly eliminates the influence of robot warm-up, drift and backlash. Following this approach, Nikon Metrology transforms industrial robots into highly accurate and efficient in-line manufacturing stations.

Powerful solution for dynamic manufacturing

Nikon Metrology has already an impressive track record in metrology- assisted production. In a project that aimed at stretching the accuracy limits of industrial robots, Airbus applied iGPS to improve the precision of robotic drilling and riveting at CAD specified wing locations. As a result, the aerospace giant’s wing drilling and riveting cell is capable of reaching an accuracy level that is 10 times better than before.

R. Schmitt, Professor of the Chair of Production Metrology and Quality Management, concludes: “Top-notch iGPS metrology combined with WZL specialist know-how will lead to flexible and affordable robot technology that may fit numerous manufacturing applications. This very interesting and promising topic will be targeted on a highly scientific level in an upcoming EU-project.” – Candidate partners are welcome to contact WZL.

– Candidate partners are welcome to contact WZL. An industrial robot cell allows RWTH WZL to

An industrial robot cell allows RWTH WZL to study how to manufacturing quality can be maximized using iGPS

how to manufacturing quality can be maximized using iGPS Dynamic applications are much more challenging. When

Dynamic applications are much more challenging. When two robot- clamped parts are being welded, for example, the positioning of the parts ideally requires real-time adjustment, not just at the start and end point of a seam weld. WZL is heavily involved in optimizing this critical real-time adjustment process that determines the precision of dynamic manufacturing procedures.

News I Volume 5

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