Robotics

Robotics solutions: the key to flexible production

Robotics applications have become an indispensable feature of the industrial sector. They perform tasks that are exhausting, unhealthy or even dangerous for humans. Once programmed, an industrial robot is capable of carrying out work processes independently and, to a certain extent, adapting to changes. The range of possible applications is extensive: Robots can, for example, assist with assembly processes, take on manufacturing tasks, monitor and improve production processes or transport heavy loads. At the same time, industrial robots are becoming increasingly powerful and are operating in an increasingly networked manner in the Industrial Internet of Things, which opens up new application possibilities and business models.

Without robotics you can forget automation. But until now, using robots in manufacturing companies has generally only been worthwhile for large quantities and standardized products. For this reason, versatile robot-based automation solutions are considered to be the trailblazers for the factory of the future. These can be quickly and easily adapted to accommodate new production requirements. This development centers on collaborative robots (cobots) that work directly with humans. Cobots have a key role to play in addressing the skills shortage. Ease of use combined with efficient commissioning and safe human-machine interaction make these robotics solutions appealing to small and medium-sized businesses as well. They increase the degree of automation in production and contribute to the cost-effective fulfillment of specific customer demands right down to a batch size of 1.

 

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Man operating a robotic arm holding a test tube with a green liquid in the gripper arm.
© Fraunhofer IEM / Wolfram Schroll
In the field of robotics, we develop intelligent automation solutions for various applications in production.

What we are researching and working on

In the field of robotics, we develop and research intelligent automation solutions for various production applications. To this end, we combine modern development methods with key technologies from automation and control engineering with knowledge from real-life industrial applications. Sensor-guided robots are the linchpin of our research activities. The aim is to improve flexibility as well as efficiency and quality in production through new solutions. Force-sensitive gripping, surface processing and the integration of imaging systems for object recognition or quality analysis are just some of the approaches we use for this.

Collaborative robots (cobots) are another focal point of our work. Whether it’s pick and place tasks or automated welding processes, our cobot solutions are always characterized by intuitive and easy-to-understand operations. We use artificial intelligence methods in the field of image processing, among other fields. For example, we use machine learning for automated pattern analysis and pattern recognition. Cobots are therefore capable of reliably detecting, localizing and gripping even unknown objects. The result is optimized workflows and flexible processes.