Flexible, adaptive industrial assembly: driving innovation through competition
Abstract: Robotics competitions stimulate the next generation of cutting edge robotics solutions and innovative technologies. The World Robot Summit (WRS) Industrial Assembly challenge posed a key research challenge: how to develop adaptive industrial assembly robots. The overall goal is to develop robots where minimal hardware or software changes are required to manufacture a new or altered product. This will minimise waste and allow the industry to move towards a far more flexible approach to manufacturing; this will provide exciting new technologies for the manufacturing industry and support many new business models and approaches. In this paper, we present an approach where general-purpose grippers and adaptive control approaches have been developed to move towards this research goal. These approaches enable highly flexible and adaptive assembly of a belt drive system. The abilities of this approach were demonstrated by taking part in the WRS Industrial Assembly Challenge. We achieved second place in the kitting challenge and second place in the adaptive manufacturing challenge and were presented with the Innovation Award.