Automotivemanufacturing car industry is undergoing major changes and transformations.Digitization introduced new technologies; manufactured products are demanded toproduce in an increasing number of variants while the workforce’s average ageis shifted by the demographic change. All of these factors are importantdrivers for creating workplaces where human and robot work together which basedon the Industry 4.0 concept. On the other hand, the field of human-robot collaborationhas experienced a significant increase of interest in the past years, firstfrom the research community and as well from the industrial community. Thereason lies in key enabling this new technology appearing on the market,probably most importantly a new generation of lightweight robots whichincorporate different concepts (control software or mechatronic design) allowto interact with humans while ensuring a certain degree of safety.
Humanbeings remain at the center of production. The crucial point is to achieve opencommunication and simple integration. A factory staffed by robots alone willremain an illusion, even in the smart factory. People will remain the centralfocus. However, robots will make people’s jobs less arduous, will support peopleand give them entirely new capabilities.
In this context, without doubt,human-robot collaboration will play a key role in Industry 4.0 – not onlydirectly as part of modern production, but as data gatherers that cancommunicate all relevant information to IT systems in real time if required.This means the current work aims at integrating current technologies indifferent areas to create an innovative robotic system for a safe and intuitivehuman-robot collaboration. With multisensor-based workspace, they make itpossible to automate delicate assembly tasks in the first place. If unexpectedcontact is made, robots will reduce their speed and thus the kinetic energy toan extent that prevents avoidance of collisions both with itself and withexternal objects. In addition, a set of whole-body controllers is used asbuilding block that describes single actions of a high- level robot behaviorplan. Finally, a modular, robot- agnostic software control framework was usedto seamlessly bind all components together and allow reusing generic softwarecomponents to describe a variety of complex manipulation behaviors, whilstkeeping independence from the particular robot hardware.
When people and robotscan work safely together, many conventional safety precautions becomesuperfluous. Additional costs that would normally be required for safetytechnology and protective fences can be dispensed with. Workers and robots canshare the same workspace without any concerns. In this way, expensive feedsystems and production floor space can be saved.