Experiment name: FLEXCoating – COLLABORATIVE ROBOTICS FOR INDUSTRIAL COATING CELLS
Manufacturing end-user: FLUPOL
The Business Sector
The present experiment is inserted in the advanced coating application business. More precisely, the coating application business is focused on the application of coating on the surface of technical parts with scrupulous requirements, whose goal is to use cooperation between humans and robots to solve problems of surface adhesion, dry lubrification or corrosion in large or complex parts.
|Throughout its 30 years of existence, FLUPOL has established itself internationally as a reference company in the technical coatings market, for its ability to develop structured coating systems, oriented to solve specific process problems in various industries, such as automotive electronics, food industry, cork agglomerates, etc., resulting in an export share of around 75% and having as clients some of the most important companies in each of the sectors mentioned. Over the years, the developments were focused on two distinctive areas: materials, where it points out the direct collaboration with the most important producers of raw materials, and the process of application, through the development of equipment and production lines together with national manufacturers and in collaboration with national R&TD institutions.|
In the current scenario on FLUPOL, the coating process can be applied, either by highly-skilled operators (with more than 8 years of experience) or by an industrial robot programmed by demonstration. This teaching process allows the industrial robot to apply the coating autonomously, mimicking what it has been taught by the human coating expert. In this scenario, the simultaneous collaboration between the robot and the human operators is impossible due to safety limitations. As such, one of the main drawbacks of the current solution is the difficulty to automatize the process of coating parts with increased dimensions and/or complex geometries.
To tackle the limitations on the current scenario on the FLUPOL production line, the existing traditional robotic cell, where the robot is protected by a cage without interacting with the operator will be transformed into a collaborative cell, where a cooperation between the robot and the human operator will be achieved. In other words, this new cell will allow the robot and the human operator to coat the same part simultaneously, thus contributing to an increase in efficiency and flexibility of the company production process. In this experiment, the following technologies will be incorporated into the HORSE Framework:
- PILZ SafetyEYE for security concerns;
- Programming by Demonstration (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlU_n9VzO08);
- Object Recognition and Localization.
The end result of the FLEXCoating experiment was capture in the format of a video, hosted at INESC TEC’s Centre for Robotics in Industry and Intelligent Systems (CRIIS)