Robotics

Robotic manufacturing

What is it?

Robotic manufacturing is a numeric control system for fabrication that usually involves a six (or more) axis robotic arm that can perform multiple actions to manufacture or manipulate objects. Usually tools are attached to the end of the arm giving the user freedom to experiment with a wide range of digital fabrication processes, such as milling, assembling, 3D printing, drawing etc. They are programmed through specialized software in order to generate toolpaths and control their movement.

What’s it for?

Robotic arms are used in many different manufacturing industries like automotive, aerospace and electronics, but also in research and development and now increasingly in education. Robotic arms have a very wide range of features: depending on the needs and scope of the project they can be programmed in various different ways. They can be used as a 6 or 7 axis machine that can work in an automatic mode, semi-automatic mode, stand-alone, cooperative, or in an interactive way. Different tasks can be achieved with the use of a 6 axis robotic arm depending on tooling such as: bending, gripping, placing, hitting, stretching, milling, painting, etc.

How can I use them?

The Robotic Cell in the DPL currently houses two robotic arms and an extra 7th axis turntable. The robots can work either in a stand-alone mode or collaborative mode. A series of tools are currently being developed by students and DPL staff for robot use. Robotic manufacturing is a complicated and time consuming process which requires students to undergo a series of inductions. Please speak to a member of DPL staff if you wish to operate the robots. Be advised that access to this technology is quite limited for the time being.

Technical Information

The DPL has the following robotic arms and other equipment:

KUKA KR-60:
A 6 axis robot equipped with a KRC4 controller and a 60kg payload

KUKA KR-30:
A 6 axis robotic arm equipped with a KRC4 controller and a 30kg payload

7th axis turntable:
This usually works in conjunction with the KR-60

The Robotic Cell:
This houses both robots and can be modified to engage collaborative mode in which both KR30 and KR60 can work together in a space of roughly 1.5m3

Tooling:
The DPL currently has a milling spindle, a pneumatic gripper and a wire-cutter available for use. Further tools can be developed by students themselves with the help of DPL staff.