Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Heavy handling robots

Traditionally the manipulation of heavy payloads over a large working area has been carried out manually, involving significant equipment and manpower costs. The use of industrial robots for these types of tasks has been limited by their payload and reach capabilities. A large-scale manipulator, capable of handling heavy payloads over wide areas, provides a solution to this problem.

The prototype machine had 9 simultaneously controlled axes, 6 main axes and 3 wrist axes. With a reach of over 20 m and a total payload of up to 500 kg, the machine was designed to operate under very narrow geometric conditions and could be quipped with a wide range of tools (magnets, forks, etc). Control was through a servo-level distributed control system which provided all mechanical, electrohydraulic and electronic units to give a self-contained actuation system for each drive. These communicate with the main controller via SERCO, designed to minimise the number of cables serving each joint.

Other development include a lightweight hydraulic actuator, parameter identification and software tools for manipulator design. Based on experience with the prototype machine, a large, mobile manipulator, called Skywash, was developed for use in aircraft cleaning and maintenance.

Reported by

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft IPA
70569 Stuttgart
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