Innovation Highlight: The EC Innovation Radar, which identifies Innovations and Innovators with High Potential, recognizes the „Smart weld grinding and finishing robot”, a joint development of Convergent IT and Nuclear AMRC, as such an outstanding innovation. For more information & video see
Video: reactive weld grinding robot
Industrial state-x-time planning reduced robots´downtimes by more than 95%
Technical Background: “State-x-time planning” as method in academic R&D has been invented around 15 years ago for robots operating in environments that change over time (see e.g. S. LaValle: „Planning Algorithms“, 2006). We will shortly describe the details and the impact it has on industrial robotics.
Traditional robot motion planning does plan the robot´s motion in the state-space C(x) with x being the state of the robot. This was extended to include the time: C(t, x(t)). A full kino-dynamic planner extends the state space to C(t, x(t), dx(t)/dt) or C(t, x(t), dx(t)/dt, d2x(t)/dt2), i.e. represents not only the joints’ state, but also their velocity and possibly the acceleration. „Space-x-time“ extend the state x to include the changes on the robot cell over time as an additional state.
Convergent IT started more than 10 years ago to transfer state-x-time from its original researched applications such as mobile service robotics to industrial robots, which has to deal with less changes in the environments, but with more complexity by means of more joints - and even tougher: more constraints originating from the process to automate. As an illustration: the state-x-time planer AUTOMAPPPS does not plan e.g. a 7 axes robot in a state-space C of dimension 7, but in a 15 dimensional state space: 2 dimensions per joint (x(t),dx(t)/dt) plus one dimension for the changes of the robot cell over time. Additionally, all joints are speed- and acceleration-bound which influence the planning. For a cell with 2 robots, the dimension of the state space C is then 29, 4 robots 57 a.s.o..
Impact: Usage of this dry mathematics is rewarded with great opportunities. Not only novel very high-end applications, such as self-programming robot cells in the field of autonomous spot-repair benefit, because they wouldn´t be possible without real-time programming of robots in seconds by AUTOMAPPPS state-x-time with line-tracking support. Also others, currently more common robotic tasks, which could be programmed otherwise, do benefit: The method does allow huge cost-reduction and increases of OEE (overall equipment efficiency). One of the examples is shown in the following video recently permitted for disclosure.
The example depicts the painting of complex shaped parts, as common e.g. in investment goods or in machine builder industry. One of the key challenges is, that large robots have to enter narrow areas with a clearance or safety distance between robots and parts or chains being only a few cm. The robots are painting parts from the inside and or between chains – while the parts are moving.
Where other SW-tool has not been useable, AUTOMAPPPS has been able to support a save off-line programming efficiently. Time-consuming robot teaching with plenty of try-and-error and iterations is no longer needed. Thus, the state-x-time planning is reducing the non-productive time of the robot cells for more than 95% and beyond. What remains is the time needed to measure the location of one part per new class. Also, programming these challenging tasks can be done by the staff of the manufacturer - not by robot experts only. Those cases are illustrative examples for applying R&D methods in other large robotic domains. Maybe not as spectacular on the first view as its application in automatic car repair, but impressing after taking a closer look - and with a big advantage for the user.
Presentation: At Scandinavian Coating, 15.03.2017, Copenhagen, Denmark: “Faster Robot Programming – or Automated Programming in High-Variant Surface Treatment Processes”.
Exhibition: Visit us at Automatica 2016 on 21-24 June 2016, Munich, Germany, Hall A4, booth 519
Presentation: At PaintExpo, 21.04.2016, Karlsruhe, Germany: "Roboter für die Vorbehandlung (Schleifen, Reinigen) mit AUTOMAPPPS teilautomatisch programmiert".
Exhibition: Visit us at PaintExpo on 19-22 April 2016, Karlsruhe, Germany. Hall 1, booth 1616.
Article: JOT Journal für Oberflächentechnik “Offline-Programmierung leicht gemacht, Pulverbeschichtung bei Jungheinrich in Moosburg". JOT 4/2016: OLP for powder coating
Article: E&I Sonderheft: “Robotik in Industrie & Forschung – ein Überblick über die Robotiklandschaft in Österreich”
Article: Factory and factorynet: “Robotics: bin-picking feasible”
Award: Convergent Information Technologies GmbH wins the first price of the 2013 euRobotics Entrepreneurship Workshop, sponsored by the European Commission and Robolution Capital. Subject of this award is the development of the future generation of our Software-Tool for automatic robot programming.
Article: Vision Systems Design: "3D Machine Vision Guides Robots into Action". Jan 2013, Ed: Andrew Wilson
Article: MM MaschinenMarkt: "Automatisierte Programmierung von Robotern und Prozessen" MM MaschinenMarkt
Article: Vision 2012: AutomAPPPS-motion can be seen in action during Vision 2012 in Stuttgart (06.11.12 - 08.11.12.) at the booth of company MVTec Software GmbH, Hall 1, booth D74
Article: Open Automation: "MVTeC: Robuster Griff in die Kiste"
Article: Elektrotechnik: Bildverarbeitungssystem "Robuster Griff in die Kiste" elektrotechnik.vogel.de
Article: MC: "Convergent: Robuster Griff in die Kiste"
Article: MC-report 02/2012: "Die Automation automatisieren"
Article: FACTORY "Innovation des Monats - Reaktive Roboter"
Article: Der Standard "Denn sie wissen schon was sie tun - Roboter in der Automobilindustrie erkennen bereits die Mängel ihrer eignen Arbeit" derstandard.at
Presentation: CIT AutomAPPPS-offline presented for programming of inspection robots by Micro-Epsilon in Ortenburg. AutomAPPPS-reactive software shown in action programming robots marking defects detected seconds before.
Award: Convergent Information Technologies GmbH i.G. finishes second at software-park Hagenberg.
Award for Innovation and Quality in Software development with "Automated Planning and Programming".