Applying robots to complex product assembly
There are many successful robotic assembly systems in operation. They have been applied to the assembly of relatively simple products, with few different piece parts, produced in high volume. This is a small subset of the spectrum of assembly requirements. Research has indicated the problems facing robotic assembly systems outside this application area. These problems have been quantified during the design and build of a commercial system for the assembly of a highly complex product. This product has over 150 piece parts and is produced in small to medium volume with several variations. Typically the available assembly hardware was found to be both too costly and too dedicated to a simple product format and range to make it viable.
This paper demonstrates an integrated approach to robotic assembly. Particular emphasis is given to piece part preparation, parts presentation, robot tooling and the assembly sequence. Approaching these in an integrated way leads to an economically viable system for a highly complex, volatile demand, product. The approach is applicable outside the case study presented.
KeywordsComplex Product Assembly System Assembly Operation Fixture Design Robotic Assembly
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