Automotive manufacturing is a major user of industrial robots, but certain tasks have been difficult to automate until now. ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation said that the new Dynamic Assembly Pack for Final Trim and Assembly is designed to quickly, accurately, and safety install seats, dashboards, and carpets inside vehicle bodies. It can also work on doors, bumpers and wheels outside the vehicle, said the company.
Traditionally, the use of robots in final trim assembly applications has been affected both by the vibration of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) or conveyors, as well as variations in the speed of the production line. These factors have made it difficult to accurately align parts with the car body without slowing down or pausing production for them to be fitted, increasing production times and reducing productivity. The Dynamic Assembly Pack solves these problems, claimed ABB Robotics, a unit of Zurich-based ABB.
Dynamic Assembly Pack combines sensors
ABB said its Dynamic Assembly Pack for Final Trim and Assembly (FTA) combines real-time vision cameras on the robot gripper and arms with integrated force-control sensors. A Universal Video Tracking (UVT) camera allows the robot to precisely track the position of the car body as it enters the workstation on an AGV or conveyor.
To compensate for any unexpected movements or vibrations, once the car body reaches a pre-defined position, the Compliant Vision Guidance (CVG) camera on the robot arm scans it for consistent reference points, such as door edges. By taking images at a rate of 30 to 40 frames per second (fps), the CVG camera determines whether the attachment point is where it should be and whether any adjustments are necessary to ensure exact positioning of the part being attached.
To compensate for variations in ambient lighting that could affect image quality, both cameras incorporate LEDs to provide consistent illumination, said ABB.
As the robot arm moves towards the car body, feedback from ABB’s integrated force-control sensor allows it to effectively find the exact position, for example cockpit positioning pins or door hinges, enabling parts to be fitted with millimeter precision.
FTA feature called an ‘industry game-changer’
“Today, less than 5% of FTA benefits from robotic automation. ABB’s new Dynamic Assembly Pack is an industry game-changer,” stated,” Michael Larsson, managing director, automotive OEM, at ABB Robotics. “By enabling complex tasks to be handled safely, quickly, and with the highest precision in a moving line environment, our new Dynamic Assembly Pack unlocks the next level of automation, helping automotive manufacturers significantly enhance their productivity and competitiveness.”
Beyond robots and application-specific equipment such as the Dynamic Assembly Pack, ABB Robotics said it provide a wide variety of production cells for the automotive industry. The company said it can also design, plan, and implement complete manufacturing systems.
In addition, ABB Ability platform offers customers digital services such as process optimization, fleet management, and predictive maintenance.