Optimal painting with intuitive programming

Thanks to the multimodal interaction strategy developed by Fraunhofer IWU, the interaction between humans and paint robots has reached a new level of quality: in future, employees will be able to independently, simply and precisely determine the movement sequences of the robot that is to support them in production. 

programming of painting robot
The robots are programmed by hand movements and voice commands. Picture: Fraunhofer IWU

In painting operations, for example, workpieces that are demanding in terms of geometry and surface quality can be painted quickly and to a high standard with the help of robots. The robots can be operated intuitively via gestures and voice commands. Thanks to “SmartGesture”, all that is needed to teach the robot the desired sequence of movements is to point out the points of the movement path with a finger and to specify them with a voice command.

The robot can follow this immediately and implement the desired movements exactly. Programming by finger tracking and voice can also be done remotely. Once the robot’s entire movement path has been defined, the system has already defined the safety zone: If a human gets too close, it slows down its movements or brakes to a standstill.

Robotics for small batches

The goal of the research team is to make robotics even more economical and thus also interesting for smaller industrial productions – up to a batch size of 1. The “RobFrame” software and a digital twin optimise and validate the robot’s path in a virtual commissioning environment in order to avoid collisions.

An AI solution helps to take into account influencing variables such as the nature of the surface, paint properties and light reflections from the moist paint (optical monitoring) in order to achieve an optimal painting result. Another module takes over the final inspection of the painted surface within the scope of a 100% inspection and, as an AI-based, adaptive tool, also tracks down unknown defects. 

More information: www.iwu.fraunhofer.de

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