Sensitive Robotic Assembly at Siemens
KUKA Systems GmbH Posted 04/29/2014
KUKA “Knight” concept in the production of electric motors at Siemens
'Spontaneous' automation made by KUKA Systems
The Advanced Technology Solutions department at KUKA Systems GmbH is developing its position in General Industry with the first “LBR iiwa Knight” concept at Siemens AG. For the first time, the company is using a mobile robot cell in its Bad Neustadt production facility for electric motors. In particular, the cell features the dual benefit of handling and inspection functions combined in one system.
In order to boost productivity in its Bad Neustadt factory for electric motors, Siemens AG will be relying on the process expertise of KUKA Systems GmbH in the future. The automation specialist for joining and forming technology and sensitive assembly processes is delivering a robot-based handling and inspection cell for the precise execution of five work steps using human-robot collaboration: loading the blanks, removing them after machining in a CNC center, cleaning the workpieces and inspecting their dimensional accuracy. Upon completion of these production steps, the parts are set down in their corresponding transport containers and made available for further processing.
The core component of the station is the “LBR iiwa Knight” mobile robot concept, a standardized solution in sensitive robotic assembly. As part of customer projects and development cooperations, KUKA Systems has established an engineering process in which leaner and more flexible robot cells can be used to implement simple and complex processes while taking HRC features into account. In addition to the many advantages of this type of flexible robot cell, such as the reduction or elimination of installed complex external sensor systems and the use of LBR iiwa capabilities such as force and torque sensors, the main focus is on mobile robotics with HRC. With this, KUKA Systems shows that the LBR iiwa can also optimally support production as a helper and roving multitasker during workload peaks and resource bottlenecks – so-called ‘spontaneous’ automation. “This simplifies several production steps, unburdens personnel and is the assembly solution of tomorrow,” says Henning Borkeloh, department manager for Advanced Technology Solutions at KUKA Systems.
Successful sensitive automation
Manual activities, which until now have been neither ergonomic nor suitable for automation, can now be automated in a cost-effective way. Reproducible processes are performed at a high standard without the need for investments in dedicated equipment for specific models or components.
“With this flexible robot cell, Siemens has successfully taken the first step in spontaneous automation. Even complex assembly processes are possible with sensitive robots. In addition, lean engineering and the fluid deployment of the LBR iiwa and personnel give rise to versatile assembly concepts,” concludes Borkeloh. The “LBR iiwa Knight” concept makes it possible to simply expand existing automation systems.
KUKA Systems Advanced Technology Solutions
The Advanced Technology Solutions department at KUKA Systems concentrates on assembly solutions based on the lightweight robot and the implementation of human-robot collaboration, as well as on small robots and the intelligent use of sensors. The spectrum of flexible assembly applications extends from subassemblies to end products in the automotive industry and in General Industry. Sensor-based robot guidance, mobile robotics and automated processes for the mass production of fiber composites complete the portfolio.