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    Collaborative Robots

The robotics industry offers countless robotic arms specifically made for collaboration with humans; these robots are therefore called cobots. However, these cobots are new kids on the block. They still have shortcomings and many potential applications remain to be explored. BruBotics works on both aspects. Below we give a few examples.

Cobot Control

For example, the current cobots have to move slow in order to ensure safety. Their control systems are not performant/fast enough to make the robot react fast enough in order to not collide with the human coworker. To overcome this hurdle, we are researching the use of a novel control algorithm that uses the mechical model of the robot in order to forecast the movement of the robot. This allows us to correct early the cobot's movement such that collisions can be avoided, safety can be ensured while letting the robot work at maximum speed. This can make cobots more efficient and increase drastically their return on investment.

Payload

Many cobots can't carry the weight that needs to be lifted in industry applications and weigh a lot themselves, making it difficult to (re)install them or mount them on a mobile robot.

Brubotics is coordinating the ELYSA project with 3 main research lines to make robots lighter and able to carry more weight (also called the payload capacity).

  1. Remote actuation: the actuators that actuate the cobot are placed not in the joints but in the base of the cobot such that the cobot arm does not have to cary the weight of the motors and gearboxes of these actuators. This allows much lighter designs.
  2. Multi-motor design: a motor has a range of torque and speed in which it can operate efficiently. In this research line we investigate how multiple motors with different speed-torque profiles can actuate together a single joint more efficiently.
  3. Design for strength not stiffness: The arms of a cobots are now designed with links that are as stiff as possible in order to minimize positioning deviations due to bending. in this ELYSA project we are investigating how we can make links lighter by designing them for sufficient strenght while letting them bend. The positioning accuracy can be safeguarded measuring the bending behavior and taking it into account in the control of the cobot.

The final target is a 1:1 payload capacity to weight ratio of 1:1, and to develop an energy-efficient cobot, capable of lifting payloads up to 30 kg safely. The industrial partners are: Kuka, Pilz, Space Application Serivces, Tractonomy, Octinion and AMS.
More information can be found on the project website: https://elysa-sbo.com/

Real collaboration & ergonomy

Cobots can be a handy tool to allow workers to work in a more ergonomic way. The cobot can help for instance help in an asssembly of a product by holding a heavy object, or (re)positioning a work piece such that the worker can maintain a more ergonomic position when working on this work piece.
More information can be found on the project pages of the below projects:

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