• Study location Room Filen, MDH Eskilstuna
  • 2020-02-14 10:00

The public defense of Fredrik Ore’s doctoral thesis in Innovation and Design

The public defense of Fredrik Ore’s doctoral thesis in Innovation and Design will take place at Mälardalen University, room Filen (Eskilstuna Campus) at 10:00 on February 14, 2020.

Title: “Designing workstations for Human-Industrial Robot Collaboration: Development and application of simulation software”.

Serial number: 306

The faculty examiner is Associate professor Cecilia Berlin, Charlmers, and the examining committee consists of Professor Mats Björkman, Linköping University, Professor Minna Lanz, Tampere University och Professor Mikael Ekström, MDH.

Reserve; Professor Moris Benham, MDH.


Human-industrial robot collaboration (HIRC) creates a possibility for an ideal combination of human senses and industrial robot efficiency. The strength, endurance and accuracy of the industrial robots can there be combined with human intelligence and flexibility, to create workstations with increased productivity, quality and reduced ergonomic load. Even though multiple technical developments on industrial robot and safety systems have been released over the last decade, the solutions facilitating HIRC workstation design are still limited. One element in realising an efficient design of a future workstation, is a simulation software. Thus the objective of this research is to (1) develop a demonstrator software that simulates, visualises and evaluates HIRC workstations, and (2) propose a design process on how to apply such a simulation software in an industrial context.

The thesis includes five papers describing the development of a HIRC simulation software and its corresponding design process. Two existing simulation software, one for digital human modelling and one for robotic simulation, were merged into one software. Evaluation measures concerning operation time and ergonomic load were included into the common software. Existing engineering design methods were applied into a HIRC workstation context to describe the utilisation of a HIRC simulation software. These developments were demonstrated in five actual industrial cases from a heavy vehicle manufacturing company.

The developed HIRC simulation software enables simulation, visualisation and evaluation of all kinds of HIRC workstations where human and robot simultaneously work in a collaborative environment, including hand-guiding tasks. Multiple layout alternatives can be visualised and compared with quantitative numbers on total operation time and biomechanical load on the human body. An integrated HIRC workstation design process describe how such a simulation software can be applied to create suitable workstations. This process also includes a safety measure where the collision forces between the industrial robot and the human are predicted. These forces have to be minimised to tolerable limits, to design safe HIRC workstations.

The developed software and the proposed workstation design process enable more efficient HIRC workstation design. The possibility to design and evaluate HIRC alternatives for hand-guiding activities is rarely found in other simulation software. The evaluation could include different types of layout alternatives and workstations: HIRC, fully manual or fully automatic. All of these could be compared based on their total operation time and biomechanical load, thus be used in production system decision making.