Scenarios of Future Industrial Robots

Long-term visions industrial robots of the future have been depicted in five scenarios which are given in the following as examples:
1. Robot assistants as a versatile tool at the workplace
Scenario: A robot assistant is used as a versatile tool by the worker at a manual workplace. The applications could be manifold: arc welding, machining, woodworking, aircraft assembly etc.
Operation: The arm of compact robot is towed manually to the workplace. On a wireless portable interface the worker selects a process (e.g. “welding”). The worker indicates the process by guiding the robot along contours or over surfaces while giving additional instructions by voice. Process parameters are set and the sensor supported motion results in the machined/welded contours. The worker may override the robot motion as required. Successive tasks can be performed automatically without supervision by the worker.

2. Robot assistants in crafts
Scenario Robot as a versatile assistant for crafts
Operation The robot is mobile and is equipped with two arms and is instructed by gesture, voice and graphics. A craftsman (e.g. locksmith) has to weld a steel structure (stairway). The robot fettles the seams automatically with a brush.

3. Robots for empowering humans
Scenario The robot for human augmentation (force or precision augmentation) in assembly
Operation In a bus gear box assembly the heavy central shaft is grasped by the robot which balances it softly so the worker can insert it precisely in the housing. The robot learns and optimizes the constrained motion in successive steps “on the job”.

4. Multi-robot cooperation
Scenario: Many robots cooperate to execute a manufacturing task within a minimal workcell.
Operation: Robot 1 fetches a panel that has to be mounted simultaneously with the cover and robot 2 tells robot 1 where to put the panel. Finally robot 3 fetches an automatic screw driver to mount the cover and the panel together on the washing machine framework. If this is not OK, robot 3 needs the help from a worker who will change for example the orientation of the screw driver by direct interaction with the tool and the assembly can proceed.

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