Saturday, April 01, 2006

Many brains work better than one

U0303270 Quak Yeok Teck Perhaps the concept of robots still linger in the humanoid form in most of our minds, but robotics have been aiding the manufacturing industry for many decades now. The most common form of robotics in the industry would be the mechanical arm form, which aids in precision fabrication of products as well as welding. One of industrial robotics supplier is ABB Robotics, which recently managed to create a multi-robot, arc welding system. It was demonstrated recently at MACH2006, with a fully operational 'MultiMove' arc welding cell. This showcases ABB's revolutionary IRC5 control software, MultiMove, which allows up to 4 robots, to workin in fully co-ordinated operation. What does this mean for automation? Imagine a typical automotive operation, one robot can lift and hold a car door, a second picks and locates a hinge, and the third welds the hinge in place. This ability is made possible by the incredible processing ability of the IRC5 control module computer, which is capable of calculations for up to 36 servo axes, while directing up to 4 drive modules. Such a system offers total freedom of motion and optimum working position, while eliminating the need for extra jigs and manual labour involved in mounting objects. In addition, every robot knows what each other is working on, collision can be reduced, production flow optimised and throughput increased. Reference

1 comment:

Home said...

u0300510 Chen Yanchang

This sounds very much like an industrial applicaton of Distributed Autonmous Robotic Systems that we are studying now. The notion of mutiple agents working and together for a common goal. Much like the robots soccer notion we've been learning in class. I suppose this means a lot less manpower can be expected in the manufacturing industry in the future since there is less need of human presence with this system in place.

I wonder how the robots communicate with one another? Perhaps it iis visually through a camera. I wonder if the communication is via some form of wireless technology. If that's the case, I would imagine a lot of filtering would be needed amidst the noise generated with all the heavy machinery as is characteristic of manufacturing industries.