Robotics, Maintenance, and Assembly

Robotair Components: Air Robot, Ground Robot, Mobile Command Center, shown on a Workshop Floor

Robot}air{: Practical Ground-Air Service Robotics System for Inspection of Industrial Compressed Air Supply and Improvement of Work Environment Factors using the example of Automotive Production

Given rising energy costs, companies improve the energy-efficiency of their production. Therefore, currently unused energy-savings potentials are increasingly given priority. Although considering compressed air an expensive energy source, created with low efficiency, leaks in compressed air facilities have often been neglected due to poor spatial accessibility and low product relevance. However, regular inspections can detect those leaks in an early stage, thus reducing losses. The same applies to high-temperature facilities such as hardening furnaces. In addition, chances to improve working environmental conditions often remain undiscovered, because there is no systematic acquisition and assessment of work environment factors. For instance, the multimodal mapping of the local climatic situation can contribute to the evaluation of workplaces.

The research project Robot}air{ aims at the development and evaluation of a prototypical and inexpensive ground-air service robotics system for the detection and localization of compressed air leaks to assure sustainable utilization of resources and energy, and for the assessment of work environment factors to ensure healthy working conditions and increase productivity. The developed technical system consists of a teleoperated aerial and a semi-autonomous ground robot. Both are equipped with sensory devices, and supervised using a mobile control station. The control station generates an informative overview of the situation from sensor signals and visualizes it for the human operator.

The project consortium consists of research, industrial development, and application partners, who possess together all necessary scientific and industrial competencies in the areas of mobile robotics, human-machine interaction, measuring technology, plant inspection and operation, compressed air systems and work science. Together, requirements are collected and a prototype is implemented, robustness and usability of which are evaluated in laboratory and in field studies in the automotive industry.

Participating Scientists

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ludger Schmidt
Dipl.-Inf. Jens Hegenberg
Roman Herrmann, M. Sc.
Daniela Ziegner, M. Sc.

Cooperation

Measurement and Control Group of the University of Kassel
Volkswagen AG, Volkswagen Werk Kassel, Baunatal, Germany
Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics (FhG-FKIE), Wachtberg, Germany
SONOTEC Ultraschallsensorik Halle GmbH, Halle (Saale), Germany
AIBOTIX GmbH, Kassel, Germany
Postberg+Co. Druckluftcontrolling GmbH, Kassel, Germany
S-ELEKTRONIK GmbH & Co. KG, Wangen im Allgäu, Germany

Support and Duration

Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung), 1 / 2013 - 3 / 2016

Further Informationen about this Project


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RoboGasInspector Logo (a gunsight aiming on a gas cloud) and Link to Project Home Page

RoboGasInspector: Simulation-based Design and Evaluation of a Human-Machine System of autonomous Inspection Robots for Remote Gas Leak Detection and Localization in Industrial Plants

To prevent injury to humans and damage to environment and industrial goods, harmful or explosive gases possibly leaking from plants and infrastructure facilities must be detected and located quickly.

The intention of RoboGasInspector is to develop and to evaluate an innovative human-machine system including cooperating inspection robots equipped with gas telemetry and local intelligence. Detecting and locating of gas leaks should be accomplished almost autonomously by these mobile robots. The advancement of the sensor technology opens new potentials with infrared measurement devices in this case. Not only for commercial reasons, but also to free the human operator from repetitive routine jobs while keeping flexibility and competence of human operators for supervisory control of the technical system, the developing of innovative inspection technologies is desirable, while in the same time better covering large inspection areas.

Under leadership of the Human-Machine Systems Engineering and the Measurement and Control research groups of the University of Kassel, the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing and the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics cooperate as research partners in a joint research undertaking. Further partners are telerob Gesellschaft für Fernhantierungstechnik as industrial development partner specialized in teleoperation and Adlares GmbH and Hermann Sewerin GmbH, who are specialized in gas measurement and telemetry. Application partners are companies operating large petrochemical plants and network logistics, the PCK Rafinerie GmbH and Wingas GmbH.

The demonstration and evaluation scenarios provide the possibility of transfer to different application domains and, thus, the results are applicable on a broader basis.

Participating Scientists

Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ludger Schmidt 
Liubov Cramar, M. Sc.
Dipl.-Inf. Jens Hegenberg

Cooperation

Measurement and Control Group of the University of Kassel
Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics (FhG-FKIE), Wachtberg
Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Berlin
telerob Gesellschaft für Fernhantierungstechnik mbH, Ostfildern
ADLARES GmbH, Teltow
Hermann Sewerin GmbH, Gütersloh
WINGAS GmbH und Co. KG, Kassel
PCK Raffinerie GmbH, Schwedt / Oder

Support and Duration

AUTONOMIK Programme, Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, 12 / 2009 - 5 / 2013 

Further Information about this Project 

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Computer Screen showing Programming Commands
ROPROS Info Screen

Human-Machine Interface of Welding Robots for economic Welding in small and medium-sized Enterprises

Already manual welding is a complex work process and requires knowledge from various disciplines. When automating this process by integration of a robot system and still taking into account the particular qualifications and skills of the welder, it becomes an even more complex issue. In this thesis a user interface for the interaction of human welder with the robotic system and the work piece is designed. It integrates the skills of the welder, thus, the fine tuning of the welding process to various factors as the irregular spacing between the work pieces to be welded and the distance of the welding gun is possible. The automated welding process is similar to manual welding process, because the control still lies with the welder and only the execution with the robot.

Doctoral Candidate

Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Math. Lajos Fejes, 1995

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