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Supporting the Implementation of Industrial Robots in Collaborative Assembly Applications
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. (Produktrealisering)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6531-9202
2021 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
Stödja implementeringen av industrirobotar i samarbetande monteringsapplikationer (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Until recently, few technologies have been applicable to increase flexibility in the manufacturers’ assembly applications, but the introduction of industrial robots in collaborative assembly applications provides such opportunities. Specifically, these collaborative assembly applications present an opportunity to, in a fenceless environment, combine the flexibility of the human with the accuracy, repeatability, and strengths of the robot while utilizing less floor space and allowing portable applications. However, despite the benefits of industrial robots in collaborative assembly applications, there are significant gaps in the literature preventing their implementation.

Based on this background, the objective of this work is to support the implementation of industrial robots in collaborative assembly applications. To fulfill this objective, this work included two empirical studies; first, an interview study mapped the attributes of industrial robots in collaborative assembly applications. Second, a multiple-case study mapped the critical challenges and enabling activities when implementing these collaborative assembly applications. The studies were also combined with literature reviews aiming to fill the theoretical gaps. 

The work provides an implementation process with enabling activities that can mitigate critical challenges when implementing industrial robots in collaborative assembly applications. The implementation process shows enabling activities in the three first phases: pre-study, collaborative assembly application design, and assembly installation. These enabling activities are mapped to the 7M dimensions as a way to clearly show how they can support the implementation of industrial robots in collaborative assembly applications. The implementation process contributes to filling the identified gaps in the literature and provides practitioners with activities that managers could consider when implementing collaborative robots in collaborative assembly applications. Finally, this work suggests that future research could aim to validate the implementation process in a case study or investigate further the last two phases of the process. 

Abstract [sv]

Hittills har få tekniker kunnat öka flexibiliteten i tillverkarnas monteringsapplikationer, men introduktion av industrirobotar i samarbetande monteringsapplikationer öppnar upp för sådana möjligheter. Specifikt så presenterar dessa samarbetande monteringsapplikationer en möjlighet att, i en staketlös miljö, kombinera människans flexibilitet med industrirobotens precision, repeterbarhet och styrka men samtidigt nyttja litet golvutrymme och tillåta bärbarhet. Emellertid, trots fördelarna med industrirobotar i samarbetande monteringsapplikationer, finns det signifikanta gap i litteraturen som förhindrar dess implementering. 

Baserat på denna bakgrund är syftet med detta arbete att stödja implementeringen av industrirobotar i samarbetande monteringsapplikationer.  För att fullfölja detta syfte inkluderade detta arbete två empiriska studier. Först, en intervjustudie som kartlagde attributen för industrirobotar i samarbetande monteringsapplikationer. För det andra, en flerfallstudie som kartlagde de kritiska utmaningarna och möjliggörande aktiviteterna för implementeringen av dessa samarbetande monteringsapplikationer. Studierna kombinerades också med litteraturstudier med målet att fylla de teoretiska gapen. 

Detta arbete ger en implementeringsprocess med möjliggörande aktiviteter som kan mildra de kritiska utmaningarna under implementeringen av industrirobotar i samarbetande monteringsapplikationer. Implementeringsprocessen visar möjliggörande aktiviteter i de tre första faserna; förstudie, design av samarbetande monteringsapplikationer och monteringsinstallation.  Dessa möjliggörande aktiviteter är kartlagda mot 7M dimensionerna som ett sätt att tydligt visa hur dessa kan stödja implementeringen av industrirobotar i samarbetande monteringsapplikationer. Implementeringsprocessen bidrar till att fylla de identifierade gapen i litteraturen och ger till praktiker aktiviteter som ledare kan beakta vid implementeringen av industrirobotar i samarbetande monteringsapplikationer. Slutligen, detta arbete föreslår att framtida forskning syftar att validera implementeringsprocessen genom en fallstudie eller vidare undersöka de två sista faserna av denna process.  

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Eskilstuna: Mälardalen university , 2021.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 317
Keywords [en]
Collaborative robots, Human-robot collaboration, assembly operations, operations management, flexible assembly
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Innovation and Design; Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-56319ISBN: 978-91-7485-535-7 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-56319DiVA, id: diva2:1607553
Presentation
2021-12-16, MITC, Technology Lab, John Engellaus gata 1, Eskilstuna, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Knowledge Foundation, 16484Available from: 2021-11-03 Created: 2021-11-01 Last updated: 2021-11-25Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Exploring the Capabilities of Industrial Collaborative Robot Applications
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Exploring the Capabilities of Industrial Collaborative Robot Applications
2020 (English)In: Advances in Transdisciplinary Engineering, Volume 13, 2020, p. 109-118Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The increase in customization is pushing companies to use more advanced automation technologies in their production lines. Yet, assembly operations are predominantly performed by humans because of their ability to be flexible. The emergence of industrial collaborative robots provides an opportunity to have robots work alongside humans in a flexible and collaborative application. The aim of this study is to explore the industrial collaborative robot capabilities in a collaborative application compared to traditional robot applications. This interview study draws data from four companies with experience in industrial collaborative robot applications. The companies involved in this study experienced that there are several benefits of using an industrial collaborative robot but challenges still exist, in particular related to usability and the robot integration process.

Keywords
Industrial Collaborative Robot, Capabilities, Human-robot collaboration, Interview study
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-52115 (URN)10.3233/ATDE200148 (DOI)2-s2.0-85098667535 (Scopus ID)9781614994398 (ISBN)
Conference
9th Swedish Production Symposium, SPS 2020; Virtual, Online; Sweden; 7 October 2020 through 8 October 2020;
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production researchKnowledge Foundation, 22755
Available from: 2020-10-29 Created: 2020-10-29 Last updated: 2021-11-01Bibliographically approved
2. Experienced Challenges When Implementing Collaborative Robot Applications in Assembly Operations
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Experienced Challenges When Implementing Collaborative Robot Applications in Assembly Operations
2021 (English)In: International Journal of Automation Technology, ISSN 1881-7629, E-ISSN 1883-8022, Vol. 15, no 5, p. 678-688Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The industrial collaborative robot (ICR) application is a promising automation technology that combines human abilities with the repeatability and accuracy of an industrial robot. Yet, industrial challenges have prevented ICR applications from being implemented extensively in industry. Therefore, the purpose of the presented work is to deepen the knowledge of the key challenges that manufacturers experience during the implementation of ICR applications. In this study, a case study approach was used with eight companies to identify those challenges. The analysis of the qualitative data was conducted based on thirteen interviews with respondents from the industry to identify their challenges when implementing ICR applications. In this paper, a defined implementation process is presented that is combined with three significant areas of challenges relevant for the implementation of ICR applications, i.e., safety, knowledge, and functionality. Then, these areas are used as a basis to identify the corresponding challenges during the early implementation phases. The findings of the study point to an insufficient understanding of safety assessment and a lack of operator involvement in the pre-study phase that was propagated into the later implementation phases. The application design phase was identified to have several ad-hoc approaches due to a lack of knowledge concerning the application of ICR. In the factory installation phase, the challenges included increasing flexibility and ensuring standardised ways of working. This paper makes three distinct contributions to the research community. First, it provides rich data to the research concerning the implementation of applications of ICR, and it focuses on three areas, i.e., safety, knowledge, and functionality, and the challenges associated with their respective implementations. Second, contributions are made to the literature on implementing new technology, and they are focused on the early phases. Third, the results of this paper suggest that the role of system integrators might change in ICR application implementation projects. This paper contributes to practitioners a list of challenges that they might face during the implementation of ICR.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
FUJI TECHNOLOGY PRESS LTD, 2021
Keywords
CoBot, assembly, Industry 4.0, industrial robot, case study
National Category
Robotics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-55961 (URN)10.20965/ijat.2021.p0678 (DOI)000693411200013 ()2-s2.0-85115020053 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2021-09-23 Created: 2021-09-23 Last updated: 2023-09-15Bibliographically approved

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