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Joining side members by human-robot-collaboration 

The LBR iiwa convinces with its features like flexibility and sensitivity. BMW employees at the BMW Group Plant Munich benefit from these advantages. The new robotic assistant supports them with the insertion of components in the car body construction.

June 28, 2017

Initial situation

Where the workman previously worked alone and took care of reinforcement boards, side members and other production stations, the lightweight construction robot now assists him. The worker can interact with the LBR iiwa without protective fences or additional safety components. The cooperation between human and robot ensures now a shorter cycle time in production.

The task

A space-saving automation solution with human-robot collaboration (HRC) was developed for the BMW Group plant in Munich. The particular challenge was the integration of the solution into the already existing production line, without having to be modified. "As a result, we were unable to use standardized products such as KUKA flexFELLOW, but had to orient ourselves to the given layout and to design an individual solution," says Otmar Honsberg, head of application engineering team at KUKA Systems.

The solution

The robot assistant needs only a small area: the HRC automation solution takes only a quarter of the area, compared to a design without HRC. In addition, a special HRC-capable gripper was developed for the sensitive LBR iiwa. These LBR grippers are precisely tailored to the needs of the respective production task.
Together, humans and robots attach the side members for the carcass. "We are delighted that the new HRC automation solution from KUKA will enable us to relieve our workforce," says Rüdiger Weber, product and process engineer for the BMW Group plant in Munich.
Human-robot-collaboration at BMW

In addition, we can imagine further production steps from a purely manual workplace to an MRK-capable workplace. The increasing diversity of variants and the increasing competitive pressure make man-robot collaboration and flexible solutions unavoidable.

Rüdiger Weber, Product and Process Planning Body Construction BMW Group Plant Munich