The Robots are Coming!

With Industry 4.0, Smart Factories and Automated Metrology taking center stage in advanced manufacturing ‘speak’ it was only to be expected that Industrial Robot based metrology solutions would be the showcased ‘solution of the future’ from many metrology equipment suppliers at the 2018 Control Exhibition which opened this week in Stuttgart, Germany.

Industrial Robots are renowned for their repeatability, providing the necessary performance for traditional repetitive robotic automation applications, Industrial Robots however are not renowned for their accuracy and thus their adoption and migration into automated metrology requires robot accuracy performance to be significantly enhanced.

Error mapping of the robot geometry innacuracies, photogrammetry techniques or the dynamic tracking of robot actual positioning with external devices are the currently solutions being proposed by metrology suppliers to improve robot performance. External tracking of robot positioning utilizing optical or laser trackers is offered by Hexagon, Zeiss, Automated Precision, Creaform, among others. Most suppliers are claiming measurement accuracies in the 0.1mm range therefor limiting the focused application field to the production measurements of sheet-metal stampings, fabrications and castings at this time.

We highlight below a quick selection of just some of the robotic metrology solutions being presented at Control.

The Creaform CUBE-R Optically Tracked Robot Cell launched at the Control Expo with impressive volumetric accuracy.
GOM ATOS structured light measurement solution uses photogrammetry techniques to eliminate robot inaccuracies.
Hexagon’s BLAZE 600A white light scanning technology combining high-resolution digital imaging with blue light LED illumination.
Kreon Laser Line Scanner with integrated CMM touch probe offering a multi-sensor solution on a Staubli ‘high accuracy’ industrial robot.
Zeiss structured light measurement solution using photogrammetry techniques to eliminate robot inaccuracies.
GOM 8 axis duplex BIW inspection cell
Automated Precision (API) use its Laser Tracker to dynamically compensate robot accuracy with its RapidScan optical sensor.
Faro Cobalt structured light scanner mounted on a Collaborative Robot
Metronor 0ptically tracked Kuka Collaborative Robot with laser scanner