The screwdriver has become automated. Engineers from the Danish Technological Institute (DTI) have developed software that enables a robot to visually locate screw holes in an object and physically screw in the screws. The technology has been named Screwdriving CoWorker.
- The idea for automating the screwing process actually originates from the manufacturers themselves because Danish businesses can use up to 50 percent of their operator time on screwing screws. And that is expensive, states Søren Peter Johansen, a product manager from DTI who is currently negotiating installing the Screwdriving CoWorker at a large Danish business.
Screwdriving CoWorker uses existing tools
Businesses do not have to invest in new tools for the robot. Screwdriving CoWorker has been designed to use human tools, you only need to 3D print a fitting that enables the robot to hold your existing screwing machines.
- One special thing about this solution is that manufacturers can get started quickly. Many businesses have already invested in robots. They have already invested in screwing equipment. By combining this existing equipment with an extra camera and some software, they can use their own robots to insert screws into their own products, says Søren Peter Johansen.
Cooperation between operator and robot
The thought behind Screwdriving CoWorker is to let the robot do the repetitive screwing task and leave the operator to do the work that is difficult to automate.
Employees have a crucial teaching role when the technology has been installed, as well as continuing to do the tricky tasks. The idea is that they teach the robot where the screw holes are, so that the screwing robot subsequently can locate holes by itself - even when the object is not placed in exactly the same position every time.
- I believe this kind of technology has reached a price level where businesses should consider looking into it, as it can increase the productivity of their production line, Søren Peter Johansen says.
You can get a preview of the newly developed robot system in the video above (subtitles available in the player).
The development of the Screwdriving CoWorker technology is supported by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.