Robots Building Robots: New Automation Solution at Universal Robots

Søren Peter Johansen

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Robots Building Robots: New Automation Solution at Universal Robots

Robot arms that build robot arms. The scenario sounds futuristic but it is in fact a reality over at Universal Robots’ production centre in Odense, Denmark. Pehama Productions and the Danish Technological Institute (DTI) have collaborated to develop a solution that has improved the Danish robot manufacturer’s production quality since February.

- DTI chose to take a closer look at screwing processes, because we noticed that many businesses use a lot of manual time to screw in screws. In association with Pehama Productions, we created a solution for Universal Robots which automated the screwing processes that occur in their production, says Søren Peter Johansen, product manager from DTI’s Centre for Robot Technology (CRT).

Universal Robots' new colleague is a robot arm, the very same kind that the company manufactures, which has been combined with a screwdriver, a laser meter and a lot of advanced robot programming.

- The solution that we developed was very challenging to create because we had to make the robot follow the rotating gear. So after the robot picks up a screw, it has to return, find the new hole, and screw in the screw, all while the gear is rotating, explains Frank Damkjær, sales manager from Pehama Productions.

The screwing solution is the first robot to be implemented in Universal Robots’ production line, but it is not the last.

- The robot has increased our quality level. The robot does the exact same job every time – it uses torque-limited tightening like it has been programmed to and it ensures that the element has been properly tightened. The interaction between robots and humans also works really well, says Kurt Hansen, production engineer from Universal Robots.

- It is quite expensive to fully automate processes. That is why the current trend is to create a workplace where the work is split between robots and humans. Humans still perform the difficult subprocesses while robots take care of the repetitive, back-breaking part - as the production at Universal Robots illustrates, says Søren Peter Johansen from DTI.

You can watch the new robot solution in action in the video above (subtitles available in the player).