Industrial robots

Industrial robots are the relentless workforce of the industries. They pick, place, paint, and weld a wide variety of objects. They are automatically controlled, reprogrammable multipurpose manipulators. The backbone of their actions is the sensors and software driving them. The software represents implementation of advanced algorithms and mathematical models developed to increase accuracy, reliability and efficiency of the manipulators. Knowledge of its environment and modular tool handling gives industrial robots the capability of handling a wide variety of tasks. As the application areas of industrial robots are increasing, the human-machine interface is changing. The robots are usually manipulators with a few degrees of freedom and exchangeable tools, though a wide variety of designs exist.

Industrial manipulators at work   

There are still a number of unsolved key problems in classical mechanics and control theory, which are of crucial importance to modern industrial robot applications. These research challenges include planning and control of the nominal motion of a robot while it is interacting with:

  • a manipulated object (e.g. holding a tray, opening a refrigerator door, turning a tap, etc.)
  • the environment (e.g. drilling, handling, surface grinding, washing windows, tightening screws, etc.)
  • another robot (e.g. coordinated lifting, saw wood with the correct pressure, handle an elastic surface during processing, etc.)
  • a person (e.g. to move large objects, shake hands, help raise a disabled from a chair, etc.).

ROBOTNOR researchers are targeting the following scientific and engineering results:

  • Dynamic models of one or more robots manipulating objects.
  • Description of the interaction forces, friction and deformations of contact surfaces, depending on the current scenario.
  • Methods for planning trajectories of controlled mechanical systems (fully controllable or underactuated with passive degrees of freedom), subject to restrictions from the environment, and while satisfying additional functional criteria.
  • New algorithms for robust controller design, ensuring the orbital stability of the nominal motion.
  • Methods for analysis of the sensitivity of closed-loop control with stabilization of nominal movements and generalized interaction forces arising between the manipulator and manipulated objects.
  • Development and implementation of motion planning algorithms.