On the Use of Force Feedback for Cost Efficient Robotic Drilling 2007-01-3909
Drilling is one of the most costly and labour-intensive operations in aircraft assembly. Rather than automating with expensive fixtures and precise machinery, our approach is to make use of standard low-cost robot equipment in combination with sensor feedback. The focus is to eliminate the sliding movement of the end-effector during the clamp-up, called the skating effect, and to keep the end-effector orthogonal to the surface, thus avoiding holes that are not perpendicular. To that end, force feedback is used for building up pressure to clamp up an end-effector to the work-piece surface prior to drilling. The system, including the planning of force parameters for each hole to be drilled, was programmed in DELMIA. The drilling was accomplished with the aid of an extension to the ABB Rapid language called ExtRapid, which is an XML-like code that is interpreted by the force feedback controller downstream in the process. Although experimental results are from drilling, the conceptual idea is believed to be useful in many other applications requiring external sensor feedback control of industrial robots.