Category Archives: Industrial Robots

A new mathematical formulation of manipulator motion that simplifies dynamics and kinematics

Labbé, M. & Michaud, F., Comprehensive theory of differential kinematics and dynamics towards extensive motion optimization framework, The International Journal of Robotics Research First Published May 20, 2018 DOI: 10.1177/0278364918772893.

This paper presents a novel unified theoretical framework for differential kinematics and dynamics for the optimization of complex robot motion. By introducing an 18×18 comprehensive motion transformation matrix, the forward differential kinematics and dynamics, including velocity and acceleration, can be written in a simple chain product similar to an ordinary rotational matrix. This formulation enables the analytical computation of derivatives of various physical quantities (e.g. link velocities, link accelerations, or joint torques) with respect to joint coordinates, velocities and accelerations for a robot trajectory in an efficient manner (O(NJ), where NJ is the number of the robot’s degree of freedom), which is useful for motion optimization. Practical implementation of gradient computation is demonstrated together with simulation results of robot motion optimization to validate the effectiveness of the proposed framework.

Extending STRIPS-like symbolic planners with metrical/physical constraints for the domain of robotic manipulation

Caelan Reed Garrett, Tomás Lozano-Pérez, and Leslie Pack Kaelbling, FFRob: Leveraging symbolic planning for efficient task and motion planning, The International Journal of Robotics Research Vol 37, Issue 1, pp. 104 – 136, DOI: 10.1177/0278364917739114
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Mobile manipulation problems involving many objects are challenging to solve due to the high dimensionality and multi-modality of their hybrid configuration spaces. Planners that perform a purely geometric search are prohibitively slow for solving these problems because they are unable to factor the configuration space. Symbolic task planners can efficiently construct plans involving many variables but cannot represent the geometric and kinematic constraints required in manipulation. We present the FFRob algorithm for solving task and motion planning problems. First, we introduce extended action specification (EAS) as a general purpose planning representation that supports arbitrary predicates as conditions. We adapt existing heuristic search ideas for solving strips planning problems, particularly delete-relaxations, to solve EAS problem instances. We then apply the EAS representation and planners to manipulation problems resulting in FFRob. FFRob iteratively discretizes task and motion planning problems using batch sampling of manipulation primitives and a multi-query roadmap structure that can be conditionalized to evaluate reachability under different placements of movable objects. This structure enables the EAS planner to efficiently compute heuristics that incorporate geometric and kinematic planning constraints to give a tight estimate of the distance to the goal. Additionally, we show FFRob is probabilistically complete and has a finite expected runtime. Finally, we empirically demonstrate FFRob’s effectiveness on complex and diverse task and motion planning tasks including rearrangement planning and navigation among movable objects.

Calibrating a robotic manipulator through photogrammetry, and a nice state-of-the-art in the issue of robot calibration

Alexandre Filion, Ahmed Joubair, Antoine S. Tahan, Ilian A. Bonev, Robot calibration using a portable photogrammetry system, Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, Volume 49, 2018, Pages 77-87, DOI: 10.1016/j.rcim.2017.05.004.

This work investigates the potential use of a commercially-available portablephotogrammetry system (the MaxSHOT 3D) in industrial robot calibration. To demonstrate the effectiveness of this system, we take the approach of comparing the device with a laser tracker (the FARO laser tracker) by calibrating an industrial robot, with each device in turn, then comparing the obtained robot position accuracy after calibration. As the use of a portablephotogrammetry system in robot calibration is uncommon, this paper presents how to proceed. It will cover the theory of robot calibration: the robot’s forward and inverse kinematics, the elasto-geometrical model of the robot, the generation and ultimate selection of robot configurations to be measured, and the parameter identification. Furthermore, an experimental comparison of the laser tracker and the MaxSHOT3D is described. The obtained results show that the FARO laser trackerION performs slightly better: The absolute positional accuracy obtained with the laser tracker is 0.365mm and 0.147mm for the maximum and the mean position errors, respectively. Nevertheless, the results obtained by using the MaxSHOT3D are almost as good as those obtained by using the laser tracker: 0.469mm and 0.197mm for the maximum and the mean position errors, respectively. Performances in distance accuracy, after calibration (i.e. maximum errors), are respectively 0.329mm and 0.352mm, for the laser tracker and the MaxSHOT 3D. However, as the validation measurements were acquired with the laser tracker, bias favors this device. Thus, we may conclude that the calibration performances of the two measurement devices are very similar.

Integrating humans and robots in the factories

Andrea Cherubini, Robin Passama, André Crosnier, Antoine Lasnier, Philippe Fraisse, Collaborative manufacturing with physical human–robot interaction, Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, Volume 40, August 2016, Pages 1-13, ISSN 0736-5845, DOI: 10.1016/j.rcim.2015.12.007.

Although the concept of industrial cobots dates back to 1999, most present day hybrid human–machine assembly systems are merely weight compensators. Here, we present results on the development of a collaborative human–robot manufacturing cell for homokinetic joint assembly. The robot alternates active and passive behaviours during assembly, to lighten the burden on the operator in the first case, and to comply to his/her needs in the latter. Our approach can successfully manage direct physical contact between robot and human, and between robot and environment. Furthermore, it can be applied to standard position (and not torque) controlled robots, common in the industry. The approach is validated in a series of assembly experiments. The human workload is reduced, diminishing the risk of strain injuries. Besides, a complete risk analysis indicates that the proposed setup is compatible with the safety standards, and could be certified.