Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Closing the information chain in computer integrated manufacturing and engineering

The use of robotics offers the potential for significant cost-savings and quality improvements in one-of-a-kind and batch production processes. Such applications require the robot to be linked to other components in the production environment, such as the computer aided design (CAD) system, systems programming, process simulation, without significant impacts on the overall process. Standardised interfaces are needed for the easy exchange of data between these components.

InterRob has addressed these issues, closing the information chain between product design, simulation, programming and robot control by developing standardised interfaces. The accuracy of off-line robot programming has been increased by the use of a simulation tool which takes into account the full geometry of the workpiece and the robot working cell, process data and the kinematic and dynamic behaviour of the robot.

InterRob technology is being used in applying protective coatings on jet engine parts by air plasma spraying and vacuum plasma spraying. Both are ideal robotics applications because of the hazards associated with the processes such as noise, dust, ultraviolet (UV) radiation and high temperatures. Teach-and-learn programming is time-consuming. An effective off-line programming capability will increase production capacity. Programming time has been reduced by a factor of 5, spraying is of higher quality, and fewer parts are rejected.

InterRob technology is also used in a welding application for ship piping systems. Guaranteeing the quality of robots in complex welding operations, such a the hull and piping system, will be essential to their wider use within the shipbuilding industry. Experience has shown that the welding time is reduced 5-fold, while quality has improved.

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