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KUKA robots support mechanical engineering students
The KR AGILUS and the LBR iiwa from KUKA are in use at the department of Mechanical and Supply Engineering in Nuremberg. Students use them for research projects, for example, for diploma papers on the topic of human-robot collaboration (HRC). Learning how to handle industrial robots provides students with an entry point into a highly relevant area of future activity.
17 February 2017
Direct communication with the sensitive LBR iiwa
Tobi König’s bachelor thesis brings students into direct contact with the collaborative lightweight robot LBR iiwa. The sensitive seven-axis robot helps the operator to mount various parts onto a DIN rail. The communication between the complementary colleagues occurs via touch commands – after all, the joint torque sensors of the LBR iiwa are designed precisely for this.
The robot can distinguish between touch commands from different directions. This allows the operator to select one of several magazines with components. Based upon this selection, the operator then removes the desired component. By pushing the robot in a particular direction, its gripper can be opened.
Intuitive robot programming for the KR AGILUS
Why buy when you can do it yourself? This is probably what Maximilian Wagner was thinking about for his doctoral project in which he wrote his own 3D programming and simulation software for robots. He used it to control the cooperation of two small robots from the KR AGILUS series.
An important factor here for ensuring smooth operation is the automatic calibration of the robots to one another. As a result, the ability to reach points in the shared workspace can be defined. The doctoral candidate solved this problem with his software. He can thus focus on his main task: the automatic generation of optimum robot programs for processes such as the gluing of parts. For this, the operator draws a 2D sketch which is projected onto a 3D model of the workpiece by the software. Based on the resulting 3D path and the process parameters, two robot programs are automatically generated: one for the robot with the tool and one for the robot holding the component.
Years of creative robotics projects
KUKA and the Nuremberg Institute of Technology already have a longstanding partnership. As part of this, KUKA robots help to put acquired theoretical knowledge into practice. To be sure, students must be able to handle the robots without problems, however, they must do so with utmost respect. Safety is the top priority. The robots of the KR AGILUS series are enclosed in protective housing. Instruction only occurs if an overseeing instructor is present for every robot.
Even beyond the classroom, the robotics expertise of the faculty comes to bear: At the annual “Night of Science” in Nuremberg, for example, the robotics team is represented through projects in which robots draw portraits, mix cocktails or a solve a Rubik’s cube. “KUKA robots open enormous possibilities for us and we can implement great projects with them. Our students feel encouraged and motivated since they have the opportunity to work directly with industrial robots,” notes Prof. Dr. Ing. Peter Heß, head of the robot technology laboratories at the Technical University in Nuremberg.