Investigating collaborative robot gripper configurations for simple fabric pick and place tasks 2019-01-0699
Fiber composite materials are widely used in many industrial applications – specially in automotive, aviation and consumer goods. Introducing light-weighting material solutions to reduce vehicle mass is driving innovative materials research activities as polymer composites offer high specific stiffness and strength compared to contemporary engineering materials. However, there are issues related to high production volume, automation strategies and handling methods. The state of the art for the production of these light-weight flexible textile or composite fiber products is setting up multi-stage manual operations for hand layups. Material handling of flexible textile/fiber components is a process bottleneck. Consequently, the long term research goal is to develop semi-automated pick and place processes for flexible materials utilizing collaborative robots within the process. Collaborative robots allow for interactive human-machine tasks to be conducted. The immediate research is to assess standard and modified grippers for basic material pick and place tasks via sets of experimental tasks. Flat fabrics, with different weave densities, orientations, and materials will be picked up, and repositioned onto another flat surface. Different gripper addons will be designed, fabricated, and tested to determine the gripper characteristics and performance on the pickup, thread damage, material wrinkling, and other performance measures.