We present a comprehensive framework that incorporates the use of virtual simulation for the implementation of Industrial Human-Robot Collaboration (HRC). The proposed framework defines a development process with five major steps, ending up with a virtual simulation model that can provide a foundation for the physical implementation.
This first version framework has been developed using an automotive industrial case, and have since then been applied to several external use cases. Some of the insights of applying the framework include: it provided a well needed structure and clarification of the HRC development process, secondly, several layout improvements could be identified and addressed in the simulation model, rather than spending much more resources when facing these issues in a physically implemented system.
The framework (figure 1) starts with defining a scope within a manual work dominant manufacturing shop. In order to adequately utilize a HRC system, the scope should contain sufficient amount of tasks potentially better performed by a robot or in collaboration between robot and human. When the scope is set, the current state is defined including the products, operations, agents, equipment, information flows and a layout. The objectives are then defined, evaluated in accordance to the current state, and it’s decided upon limits to aim for that can be used to validate the concepts and to measure the success rate of the project. Next, conceptual solutions for potential HRC systems are developed in a similar fashion as the current state. These are then developed into virtual simulation models of incrementally increasing resolution and functionality, starting with basic models used for developing the layout setup and ending with immersive simulation models that enable human interaction through Virtual Reality. The virtual simulation models are used for verifying and validating the concepts, and once validated they provide a foundation for real physical implementation.
Figure 1. A framework for realizing Industrial Human-Robot Collaboration through Virtual Simulation.
Land N, Syberfeldt A, Almgren T, Vallhagen J. A framework for realizing Industrial Human-Robot Collaboration through Virtual Simulation. CIRP CMS. 2020.