FUTURE-ORIENTED RESEARCH PROJECTS
ICARUS Consulting GmbH participates in several research projects in close cooperation with various universities. We often act as an interface to industry or provide our longtime know-how in robot programming. In this way we can ensure that we are not only always at the forefront of technology, but also help to shape the future.
MiReP - Mixed Reality Programming
The approach of the MiRep project is to reduce the effort in planning and commissioning of automated processes by superimposing virtual offline programming and robot simulation using augmented reality on the real plant in real-time and interactively.
In contrast to the automotive industry, aerospace production and maintenance today still relies to a large extent on manual manufacturing processes. In addition to a historically grown development, this state of affairs is also due to technical aspects such as the high cost of individual components and production with batch size 1.
Due to globalization-driven worldwide competition and the high quality of automation processes in the automotive industry, the motivation arises to combine the special abilities of humans in the area of cognitive perception and flexibility with the accuracies of modern automation solutions.
Within this framework, we are working on a joint research project with the Institute of Aircraft and Systems Engineering at the Hamburg Harburg University of Technology to investigate different concepts for automation in aviation. The core topic is the applied use of Augmented Reality. This modern technology makes it possible to present digital content as a three-dimensional object in real space. By means of such holograms, functions of digital systems can be used in a new way. In addition to the development of novel operating and working concepts, the final goal of the research project is to create a continuous digital infrastructure in order to combine the advantages of computer-aided development of robot programs with work in the real working field.
Robotop is a modular, open and internet-based platform for robot applications in industry and service. Through intelligent standardization and reuse of software, hardware and peripheral components as well as a significant reduction in the cost of supply and engineering, the development serves to open up the mass market for robots in service and manufacturing applications.
The mapping of complex systems in the digital factory is a basic prerequisite for planning and smooth introduction into the real world. The complexity of this virtual planning as well as the high costs for the provision of suitable software prevent small and medium-sized companies from making use of these advantages.
The simulation as an online variant should both reduce the costs for the individual task and enable non-experienced users to access it by skilful standardization and the restriction of the tools to the specified application.
The online simulation enables the end users* to virtually secure the robot usage without generating high costs for software licenses and training. Thus we enable small and medium-sized companies to use modern automation technologies.
Paint.Ing is a tool for the automated design of robot-supported systems for vehicle painting. The goal of the Paint.Ing project was to optimize the design of robot paint booths for vehicle bodies at an early stage of the project, without the need to create the necessary simulation.
The optimal design of the systems and the avoidance of expensive errors during implementation are currently only possible by means of virtual planning. However, there is not enough time for such planning before an initial design of a plant in the first planning stage.
The result of this research project is a software which enables the answering of complex questions for the design of painting cells in early planning phases at the push of a button.
The basis of this tool is an empirical recording of the simulation results using a series of basic simulations. Using these results, calculation algorithms have been developed which represent the behaviour of the values of the studies as accurately as possible. Via a user interface the known basic parameters can be entered and the resulting values can be displayed and compared with other configurations.
Scan2Prog offers an automatic processing of large components based on laser scans, through the automated generation of robot paths.
Industrially manufactured workpieces, such as vehicle parts or wind turbine blades, are processed by robots. Today this is common practice in automated factories. However, the programming of these specialized robots has so far been a complex and error-prone procedure. This is now remedied by Scan2Prog, a tool for automated generation of robot paths based on 3D scan data.
The virtual data basis of the tool is a 3D point cloud, which is generated e.g. by 3D laser scanning. In order to program the robot's path for the desired process, the desired machining area on the virtual workpiece is first of all defined. The machining is done offline on the PC, i.e. away from the real robot. The processing paths of the grinding or painting robot are then automatically generated on the object surface. The necessary processing parameters, such as speed, tool angle or order quantity, are also assigned automatically. Using the tool significantly increases the quality and efficiency of automated painting and sanding.
For the development of the Scan2Prog tool, we were able to take advantage of the support of the Future and Innovation Program of the State of Lower Saxony.
MANUSERV serves the development of a planning and decision support system with which a process that was previously carried out manually can be (partially) automated in a technologically and economically meaningful way using service robots. With the help of MANUSERV, users can receive suitable service robotics system proposals via an Internet-based communication platform.
Many manual tasks in industrial production could be performed by service robots. Especially to avoid monotonous and physically stressful movements, this would be a great benefit. The use of industrial service robots is often hindered by a lack of knowledge about the possibilities, fear of high costs and time expenditure for feasibility analyses and the selection and implementation of suitable solutions. On the other hand, the development and offering companies of service robotics applications lack concrete information about the manually executed processes that are suitable for (partial) automation.
These are gaps in knowledge that leave efficiency potentials unused, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). For this reason, the MANUSERV project has developed a system for planning and decision support that enables potential users of industrial service robotics to simplify the analysis and evaluation of their processes with regard to possible partial automation solutions. This involves both technological feasibility and economic sense. The system supports the selection of the most suitable service robot and its programming up to virtual commissioning.
The solution is to be offered to users as a service via an Internet platform. The companies offering their service robotics solutions there will make their service robotics solutions available in a technology catalogue, which will also contain planning descriptions of the capabilities of the products and robots.
VirtualScan offers the virtualization and mapping of sensors and sensor controls in a simulation environment and thus extends the virtual commissioning by the integration of spatially measuring 3D sensor technology.
Increasing automation and rising quality requirements for production lead to the increased use of intelligent 3D measuring sensor technology in production plants. By extending virtual commissioning to include the integration of spatially measuring 3D sensor technology, planning errors for production plants can be prevented and the effort required for commissioning minimized. Furthermore, an interface enables the integration of processing algorithms. Thus, it is already possible to check the functionality of the algorithms during the simulation.
Conexing is a tool for interdisciplinary planning and product-related virtual optimization of automated production systems by using SmartComponents.
The design of products is often highly customer-oriented and individual, especially in medium-sized companies. This refers both to products for end customers and to the important role as a supplier, especially for small and medium-sized companies. Shorter product life cycles and an ever-increasing number of variants constantly increase the requirements and the need for innovative planning and simulation systems in order to make products available to the market promptly and efficiently. However, the systems already on the market only ever represent a small part of the product cycle. An exchange between these professional systems takes place through data conversion from one tool to another. A lot of information from the source system is lost in the process, as it is not relevant for the target system.
Conexing stops this loss of information by using SmartComponents. In this data format, which is based on AutomationML, all information is equal and is collected throughout the product life cycle. Via an intelligent web portal, the data is exchanged by all project participants without generating large amounts of data traffic. A toolkit developed for Conexing enables the SmartComponents to be connected to virtually any system.