Design of Hybrid Cells to Facilitate Safe and Efficient Human-Robot Collaboration During Assembly Operations

[+] Author and Article Information
Krishnanand Kaipa

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia 23529

Carlos Morato

ABB Corporate Research Center, ABB Inc., Windsor, Connecticut 06065

Satyandra K. Gupta

Center for Advanced Manufacturing, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California 90089-1453

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4039061 History: Received October 26, 2017; Revised January 10, 2018


This paper presents a framework to build hybrid cells that support safe and efficient human-robot collaboration during assembly operations. Our approach allows asynchronous collaborations between human and robot. The human retrieves parts from a bin and places them in the robot's workspace, while the robot picks up the placed parts and assembles them into the product. We present the design details of the overall framework comprising three modules - plan generation, system state monitoring, and contingency handling. We describe system state monitoring and present a characterization of the part tracking algorithm. We report results from human-robot collaboration experiments using a KUKA robot and a 3D-printed mockup of a simplified jet-engine assembly to illustrate our approach.

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