Collaborative Robotic Fastening Using Stereo Machine Vision 2019-01-1374
With typically over 2.3 million parts attached with over 3 million fasteners on a twin aisle aircraft, it may be surprising to learn that approximately two out of every three are fastened by hand. In addition the fasteners are often installed in locations designed for strength and not necessarily ergonomics. These facts lead to vast opportunities to automate this tedious and repetitive task. The solution outlined in this paper utilizes the latest machine vision and robotics techniques to solve these unique challenges. Stereo machine vision techniques find the fastener on the interior of an aerospace structure and calculate the 6DOF location in less than 500ms. Once the fastener is located, sealed, and inspected for sealant bead width and gaps, a nut or collar is then installed. Force feedback capabilities of a collaborative robot are used to prevent part damage and ensure the nut or collar are properly located on the fastener. This type robot also opens up the possibility of interacting more closely with humans as fastening can be done simultaneously with other manual assembly processes. This paper outlines how automated fastening can be achieved using an end effector weighing less than 14kg by leveraging the capabilities of a collaborative robot and advanced machine vision techniques.