MiR the solution for the management of intralogistics

MiR, that is distributed by K.L.A.IN.robotics, is the acronym of “Mobile Industrial Robots”, a Danish company that has tripled its turnover in just one year and aims to reach € 27 million by 2018. The driver of this growth was the technological development that earned him numerous awards and recognitions as an innovative product in the field of internal logistics. MiR produces AMR, Autonomous Mobile Robot, truly autonomous collaborative robots. This robot has the peculiarity of not using external sensors to it and having a continuous feedback from those mounted for a correct navigation. This navigation dynamically adapts as it is sufficient to use two positions and the robot will calculate autonomously each time the shortest route to move from one location to another. After processing the various solutions available, he is able to instantly choose the best one in terms of space / time ratio. It also has the ability to communicate with other machines and therefore to do enslavement and / or be enslaved. It is also autonomous in recharging, regulated by the internal software. It is possible to mount additional cameras for greater precision and by default uses an Intel 3D Real Sense camera to optimize navigation (it is used only for this purpose and not in the safety circuit). If there is a fixed or mobile obstacle, such as a person in transit, it is programmed to find a different trajectory and bypass it. The use, at least for now, is only intended for indoor use, to avoid malfunctions due to interference from sunlight with sensors or infiltration of liquids. MiR is a product that can be used in companies of any sector, where it is necessary to move components or equipment between different departments.

Taken from ‘Il Sole 24 Ore” dated 20 June 2018

 

Stem cell production

Company: Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT
Industry: Medical research / Industry 4.0 application
DENSO Products Used: VS-087
Company Location: Germany
Website: http://www.ipt.fraunhofer.de

THE PROBLEM

Stem cell research is one of the most innovative areas in current medical research and plays a decisive part in developing new agents and drugs. Research is thereby based on cultivated stem cells, in particular mesenchymal stem cells, or MSCs. These are mature stem cells extracted from adult human tissue, which means that isolation (unlike embryonic stem cells) can be done in an ethically acceptable way. Due to their capability to differentiate into new cell types, stimulate cell growth and influence the human immune system, they hold much promise for regenerative cell therapy.

The expansion of these cells, however, is a long and labor-intensive process. What is more, researchers have to deal with variations in the biological material that originates from many different donors. This variability is further increased by deviations in the cell treatment in manually produced cultures. At the same time, human interaction raises the risk of error and limits reproducibility. Additionally, as cell cultures are living organisms, a cleanroom environment is essential, which requires special standards for instruments and devices.

THE SOLUTION

The solution is the development of a fully automated, self-contained yet flexible system for cultivating stem cells. StemCellDiscovery is a globally leading pilot project launched by the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT) in Aachen, Germany. The Aachen facility aims at growing and researching MSCs, and implementing various lab processes – from cultivating cells to generating experimental data. The facility features the easy integration of devices; consistent and accurate reproducibility; an individual, modular-based control of processes; high-quality cell products; and the use of advanced measuring technology for quality assurance and analysis.

A DENSO robot plays a central role in the facility. The robot, a VS-087 model, serves as a flexible handling unit for all transportation steps in the platform: transporting cell cultures in multititer plates, moving falcon tubes between different processing and measuring devices, and ensuring highly accurate positioning. Precision is particularly important at the microscope, where the robot first grips the cell culture container and then positions it in the designated holder. The robot’s flexibility also is useful for pre-positioning resources, such as transporting pipette tips from the storage to the liquid handling unit.

In addition, the robot provides the service for shaking the cell cultures with the same speed and movement in order to distribute the cells equally. This is key, as an inconsistent movement could result in cells accumulating at the edge of the container, leading to suboptimal conditions for cell growth. To achieve a consistent distribution of cells in the container, it is important that the robot applies constant acceleration to the cultures.

As the facility relies on the interaction of the devices, their integration plays an important role. In order to maintain a high level of flexibility in the overall system, a service-based software architecture was implemented. An adaptive, specially designed software system controls all processes. It can respond flexibly to indicators for cell culture such as cell growth and, if necessary, execute individual services following a modular approach. These services are provided by all devices via an Integration Framework, which allows the user to create any combination of services at the control level. Each device offers services with defined parameters that can be controlled manually via the intuitive user desktop or assembled into complex combinations. In- and outgoing data collected from the devices are provided in a universal format so users can control all devices from a single desktop – whether it is the microscope or the DENSO robot, the liquid handling unit or the incubator and repositories. The software has been programmed in C#, which makes it possible to abstract complex logical relationships and implement object-oriented programming.

The Integration Framework also includes the VS-087. Due to its intuitive interface, it can replicate the robot’s real-world services in the facility. The robot is controlled by the built-in RC8 controller. The interface communication is based on ORiN2 and the option of implementing control via C# (easily embedded into the software architecture). The software also assumes the full control of the robot: Any variation in the processes can be detected and resolved immediately. The Integration Framework sends activity protocols to the control software that provides users with status information, among other data.

The VS-087 was selected primarily because of its programmability and easy integration capabilities. To automate the manual processes in the facility, various devices had to be included. As is typical for innovative research, the selection of these devices was made long before the actual software development was launched. Hence, it was important that a robot was implemented that can be programmed flexibly as requirements change. Cleanroom compatibility was also crucial. Last but not least, the VS-087 allowed for the design of a compact facility. The multi-functional gripper designed for this purpose can, thanks to robotic kinematics, be moved to any spot within the facility, ensuring the highest levels of precision.

The programming of the DENSO robot also permits a high level of sensor integration and, thus, opens up new opportunities for self-optimization. In all likelihood, this will significantly optimize process stability. Due to the direct connection between sensor and robot, both gripper operations and path planning during movement can be controlled. This will support process stability considerably in self-contained, sterile facilities such as this one.

THE RESULT

During the implementation of the StemCellDiscovery project valuable experience could be gained in the context of innovative control technologies for automated laboratories. The industrial robot is technically reliable and provides the flexibility required for handling all types of materials and products. This experience will not only advance research; it will also help the medical and pharmaceutical industries to develop new products.

Finally, the VS-087’s service-oriented architecture and flexible handling support enable the realization of a variety of processes. In the future, the cultivation of other cell types can be implemented and external users will be able to work at the facility with short lead times. Furthermore, standardized and validated function modules will be available, providing standardized protocols for the generation of cell products that meet industrial standards.

A special emphasis has been placed on communication between different components in the facility. This is essential for an efficient modular approach and additionally promotes adaptability. In the world of Industrie 4.0, interconnecting devices and machines is a requirement for innovative research.

In the future, the facility will potentially deliver new insights using statistical methods (BigData and Analytics), which promise to advance and quicken the search for innovative therapies.

Injection Moulding

Company: RENGER Kunststoffspritztechnik GmbH & Co. KG
Industry: Production of plastic parts in injection molding technology
DENSO Products Used: VS-6577, VM-60B1G
Company Location: Germany
Website: http://www.renger-gmbh.de

THE PROBLEM

Traditionally, the automotive supplier industry has been one of the most important branches for using compact robots, which are being employed in the manufacturing of various components. One of the companies in this area relying on DENSO robots is Renger Kunststoffspritzteile GmbH & CO. KG in Inzigkofen north of the Lake Constance in the Southwest of Germany. The company primarily manufactures plastic components in injection-moulding technology for the automotive industry. In this case study, we are looking at their production of cases for airbag control units, undoubtedly one of the most safety-related components in cars.

The challenge: In the past, the company had assembled the components by relying on  traditional linear systems, quality control was carried out by employees. With the introduction of DENSO robots, however, the cycle time could be reduced significantly while also realising a zero defect figure. It is this 100-percent quality that really matters when it comes to delivering these crucial car components.

Thus the manufacturer had to develop a robot-based system, which would combine a fast pick-and-place performance with an outstanding quality control.

THE SOLUTION

Renger has been working with DENSO robots since 2009 as the company appreciated the robots’ flexibility and the possibility of combining various tasks even later in the process. In light of growing quality and cost requirements of plastic components demanded by the car industry, these were two decisive advantages.

DENSO robots convinced the company also with their high speed, simple handling and the programming approach. Renger is using the VS-6577 and the VM-60B1G (among others), which were selected due to their arm length and payload capacity. Until then, Renger had only worked with linear robots, which offer only a fraction of operation capabilities a six-axis robot can cover.

At Renger, DENSO robots are primarily used in the manufacturing and quality control of cases for airbag control units; these manufacturing system are quite complex, as they are fully integrated with an injection moulding machine and a PLC system.

THE RESULT

During the manufacturing of cases for airbag control units, the blank parts are being taken from the injection-moulding machine, then put into small load carriers and then equipped with aluminium nuts.

In this process, the robot’s tasks (DENSO VS-6577 as well as VM-60B1G) are far exceeding pick-and-place commands: Supported by a visual camera system, the robot removes the components directly from the cast spraying machine, then performs the quality control (checking for any defects) and subsequently places the flawless components in the small load carriers for subsequent processing. In the next system, the components are being removed from the carrier, then placed into a complex press-fit system, followed by another quality check before components are being put into a „finished part“ carrier.

Cutting the old cycle of linear systems in half, the current, total cycle time for this process is only 8 seconds (depending on the components’ finish. In this time, the system also manages to achieve a zero defect quality check – a must for the automotive industry. Last but not least, the system only needs half of the space the old machines had required.

For this process, the robots are operating fully integrated in complex PLC systems (Siemens S7) communicating with digital in and outlets; the robots are programmed with the DENSO software WINCAPS.

Equally extensive is another application at Renger, the manufacturing of injection-moulded plastic parts such as cases and caps. In this case, the removal system, equipped with a DENSO VM-60B1G, is required to function flexibly while also being able to perform tasks such  as sorting, placing and quality control. Here, the robot takes the component directly from the injection-moulding machine and then places it onto a conveyer belt or a placing station. The components’ visible surfaces are quite sensitive – but thanks to a perfectly timed removal process between the machine and the robot they are handled without leaving any marks. The always consistent cycle time (between 20 and 100 seconds, depending on the component) guarantees the highest quality standards. In this application, the robots are being connected directly to the injection-moulding machine via a Euromap interface and programmed with WINCAPS.

„We have received a great of deal of support from DENSO Robotics, in particular during the introduction of our first of their robots in 2009“, says Rainer Klein from Renger. „DENSO’s service quality has always been excellent, and the robots are operating with a minimum of maintenance.“ Currently, the company has seven DENSO robots is use; these are working 24-hour shifts: Since 2010, the robot-supported system for airbag control unit cases alone has manufactured some 14 million components – with the first installed VS-6577 in a virtually failure-free operation.

INDUSTRY 4.0 – DENIoT

DENSO Robotics shows how to further optimize industrial automation. In an exciting project called “DENIoT”, DENSO Robotics, using a Microsoft Azure cloud platform, and partners DeROBÓTICA, ENCAMINA and ENTRESISTEMAS demonstrate how cloud services greatly optimize robot controllers’ performances for automation processes.

Leading the way to a new level of Industry 4.0/IoT applications, DENSO Robotics and partners recently showed how industrial automation in “smart factories“ can be made more efficient, safer, and reliable with already existing software and technologies. At the center of the demonstration, part of the “DENIoT” project at DENSO Robotics, were a DENSO Robotics VS060 and the cloud platform Azure by Microsoft. Azure is a collection of integrated cloud services, such as analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage and Website. The demonstration was held at Microsoft’s high-caliber .Net conference in Madrid (Spain).

Partners in the “DENIoT” project and demonstration are DeROBÓTICA, the Iberian sales organization for DENSO Robotics; ENCAMINA, a Spanish consultancy company specialized in Microsoft products, including Azure; and ENTRESISTEMAS, an industrial automation and system integrator specialist. For the demonstration, DENSO Robotics provided the robot and controller, ENCAMINA handled the communications between the robot, the cloud and the various devices, while ENTRESISTEMAS programmed the actual robot movements.

The well-received demonstration aimed at showing that robots performances can be greatly optimized today by using the advantages a cloud platform such as Azure offers. The platform was connected to the DENSO robot controller in order to collect and interpret data using big data analytics and other techniques.  These data were turned into actionable information.  In the actual demonstration, the VS060 had been programmed to perform up to 9 different movements, mostly pick-and-place. “Our objective was to show that we can optimize robot performances by using already existing technologies and processes. By monitoring and analyzing the robot data, we can not only interact with and control it from virtually anywhere, but we also facilitate machine learning, which further enhances efficiency and performance,” says Pablo Olivas González, Managing Director of DeROBÓTICA. The data monitored included parameters such as the robot arm’s speed, acceleration, positions and (joint) angles.

The benefits of “DENIoT” for implementing Industry 4.0/IoT applications in industrial automation are obvious: An easy connectivity of machines and devices, a real-time monitoring of processes, a scalable application, machine-learning (analysis and prediction) and a multi-platform system adaptable to an industry’s specific needs. In addition, “DENIoT” can be controlled from anywhere using various devices (PC, tablet, even a smart phone) and offers a high level of interaction and control for users.

The combination of a DENSO robot and Microsoft Azure was a perfect match. “We opted for Azure“, explains Pablo Olivas González, “because we needed a high-performance cloud platform which can process a high amour of data and easily compatible to various systems. Last but not least, it was important to have a machine learning option integrated, which Azure offers.”

DENSO robots are especially suited for Industry 4.0/IoT applications as the RC8 Controller is highly flexible and easy to integrate into any system. This is crucial as the key to any successful IoT solution is a simple, fast and reliable coordination between all parts of the system. There are many platforms the DENSO RC8 Controller can work with, including LabVIEW, HALCON or PLC industrial networks (i.e. ProfiNET, ProfiBUS, etc.). For the “DENIoT” project, ORiN was the most important one. ORiN (Open Resource interface for the Network) is a software development interface, that allows to interact with the robot at high-level languages such as C#, C++, etc. This unique capability of programming at high-level languages permitted a very easy integration of the software platforms with the DENSO robot and with Microsoft’s Azure.

During the “DENIoT” demonstration, the robot was also controlled via Microsoft’s intelligent voice command system Cortana: Basically, it translates verbal commands into robot movements (through the cloud). In the demonstration, each of the nine movement commands was assigned a number. The command “move”, for example was assigned the figure “10”, which was sent to the robot in order to perform this specific movement. Voice command interaction will become more important as the human-robot-collaboration will be increasing in the future.

Of all the movements the VS060 performed, his last was the most popular one with the audience: The robot simply took a selfie!

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Robots more capable and efficient using cloud platforms

Starting the way to a new level of applications in Industry 4.0 / IOT, Denso Robotics and its partners have recently shown how industrial automation in “smart factories” can be even more efficient, safe and reliable, making the best use of software and existing technologies. Focus of the demonstration of the “Deniot” project, the Denso VS060 robot and the Azure cloud platform from Microsoft were used, a collection of integrated cloud services such as: data processing, database, mobile, networking, data storage and website. The demonstration took place at the all-important Microsoft .Net Conference in Madrid, Spain. It has been shown that robot performance can be significantly optimized by exploiting all the advantages of a cloud platform, such as those offered by Azure. The platform was connected to the Denso robot controller to collect and analyze data, using Big data analytics and other techniques. This data was then transformed into operational information. In the demonstration, the VS060 robot was programmed to perform up to 9 different movements, especially pick-and-place. “Our goal was to demonstrate how it is possible to optimize the robot’s performance using existing technologies and processes. By observing and analyzing robot data, we are not only able to interact with it and control it from anywhere, but we have also simplified machine learning, which further improves efficiency and performance, “says Pablo Olivares. Denso robots are particularly suitable for Industry 4.0 / Iot applications since the RC8 Controller is highly flexible and simple to integrate. This is fundamental, given that key to every successful IOT solution is simple, fast and reliable coordination of all the parts that make up the system. There are many platforms that Denso RC8 controller can work with, including LabView, Halcon or Plc Industrial network (eg ProfiNet, ProfiBus, etc.). For “Deniot” project, Orin was the most important. Orin (Open resource interface for the network) a software development interface, which allows to interact with robots in high language levels such as C #, C ++, etc. This single programming capability allows very simple integration of software platforms between Denso robot and Microsoft Azure. During the demonstration, robot was also checked using Cortana, the recognition and assistance software developed by Microsoft. Among al movements performed by the VS060 robot, the last one  received the most success among people, that was the robot that takes a selfie.

Klain Robotics_NEW

COBOTTA at Triennale in Milan

Triennale Exhibition in Milan is placed inside ”Palazzo dell’Arte” building, it is an international culture institution that produces exhibitions, conferences and art events, design and fashion.

The exhibition named ‘’NEO PREISTORIA- 100 verbs’’ retraces the long journey from the instruments of ancient prehistory to the latest nano-technologies, comparing 100 tools and 100 verbs.

Here found his space our COBOTTA Prototype!