Feasibility study for the introduction of flexible collaborative robotics

Flexible, collaborative robotics systems have enormous potential for manufacturing applications, especially with variable batch sizes. Companies are interested in such highly flexible systems, but naturally want to assess their technical feasibility, costs and benefits, and compatibility with future technologies before investing.

Fraunhofer Italia offers personalizable laboratory configurations for a wide range of robotics and image processing systems. Our research into flexible automation applications enables us to immediately assess the feasibility of new automation concepts for industrial prototypes. As part of a project completed with an Alto Adige mechanical engineering company, for instance, we designed and assessed a variety of concepts for fitting and removing the tooling of an existing set of CNC machines using a collaborative robot. In practice, the large number of interfaces made the selection of suitable concepts complicated and multi-layered, and a successful implementation had to account for numerous factors.

With the assistance of Fraunhofer Italia, companies can specify adequate applications and adapt custom solutions for specific conditions and challenges. Using the know-how derived from commissioned research projects, concepts based on the state of the art can be implemented quickly, efficiently and at low cost: either developing the company’s technical process in-house or using an external systems integration partner. The use of laboratory prototypes and configurations enables us to quickly assess solutions and the limits of available technologies (“test before invest”). The benefits and downsides of the concepts thus become clear and immediately comprehensible.