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Robot Vision & Force Sensors Automate Final Trim Assembly

New force control sensors enable robots to accurately perform assembly tasks during automotive final trim assembly, improving productivity, ergonomics and quality.

Designed to offer a fast, accurate and safe automated solution for installing anything from seats, dashboards and carpets inside vehicle bodies, to doors, bumpers and wheels outside the vehicle, ABB’s new Dynamic Assembly Pack for Final Trim and Assembly (FTA) combines real time vision cameras on the robot gripper and arms with integrated force control sensors to allow the robot to precisely track the position of the car body as it enters the workstation.

Traditionally, the use of robots in final trim assembly applications has been affected both by the vibration of AGVs or conveyors and variations in the speed of the production line. These factors have made it difficult to accurately align parts with the car body without slowing down or pausing production for them to be fitted, increasing production times and reducing productivity.

The Dynamic Assembly Pack solves these problems. A Universal Video Tracking (UVT) camera allows the robot to precisely track the position of the car body as it enters the workstation on an AGV or conveyor. To compensate for any unexpected movements or vibrations, once the car body reaches a pre-defined position, the Compliant Vision Guidance (CVG) camera on the robot arm scans it for consistent reference points, such as door edges. By taking images at a rate of 30 to 40 frames per second (fps), the CVG camera determines whether the attachment point is where it should be and whether any adjustments are necessary to ensure exact positioning of the part being attached. To help compensate for variations in ambient lighting that could affect image quality, both cameras incorporate LEDs to provide consistent illumination.

As the robot arm moves towards the car body, feedback from ABB’s integrated force control sensor allows it to effectively find the exact position, for example cockpit positioning pins or door hinges, enabling parts to be fitted with millimeter precision.

“Today less than five per cent of FTA benefits from robotic automation. ABB’s new Dynamic Assembly Pack is an industry game changer. By enabling complex tasks to be handled safely, quickly and with the highest precision in a moving line environment, our new Dynamic Assembly Pack unlocks the next level of automation, helping automotive manufacturers significantly enhance their productivity and competitiveness,” said Michael Larsson, Managing Director Automotive OEM for ABB Robotics.

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