Robotics and Manufacturing Vignettes

It briefly discusses the motivating applications with vignettes and the critical capabilities required a dramatic positive impact on the applications. The vignettes serve to illustrate paradigm changes in manufacturing and as examples of integration across technology and capability.

Vignette1. Assembly line assistant robots

The experiences of automotive manufacturer a surge in orders for its new electric car design and needs to quickly merge its production capability with other earlier models already in production. Assembly tasks are reallocated rapidly to accommodate the new more efficient car model. An assembly line set assistant robots are brought in and quickly configured to work alongside the retrained human workers in the new tasks. One practice shift is arranged for the robot’s sensor systems and robot learning algorithm to fine tune parameters, and then the second shift is put it into operation, doubling plant output in four days.

Vignette 2. One of a kind, discrete part manufacture and assembly
A small job at a shop with 5 employees primarily catering to orders from medical devices companies is approached by an occupational therapist one morning to create a customized head controlled input device for a quadriplegic wheelchair user. Currently the production of such one of a kind device would be prohibitively expensive because of the time and labor required for setting up machines and for assembly. The job shop owner reprograms a robot using voice commands and gestures, teaching the robot when it gets stuck. The robot is able to get the stock to lathes and mills, and runs the machines. While the machines are running, the robot set up the necessary electronic and mechanical component asking for assistance when there is ambiguity in the instruction set.

Vignette 3. Rapid, integrated, model based design of the supply chain
The packaging for infant formula from a major supplier from a foreign country is found to suffer from serious quality control problems. An important aspect is the introduction of 20 robots to manufacture rapidly the redesigned package.

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