The public defense of Atieh Hanna's licentiate thesis
The public defense of Atieh Hanna's licentiate thesis in Computer Science and Engineering will take place at Mälardalen University, room U2-024 (Västerås Campus) and virtually on Zoom at 13.15 on April 8, 2021.
The title of the thesis is “Towards intelligent and collaborative automation of automotive final assembly”.
The faculty examiner is Professor Anna Syberfeldt, University of Skövde, and the examining committee consists of Professor Anna Syberfeldt, University of Skövde, Docent Kerstin Johansen, University of Jönköping, Professor Jessica Bruch, Mälardalen University.
Reserve is Assistant Professor Henrik Andreasson, University of Örebro.
The licentiate thesis has serial number 305.
Automation and robotics have transformed the automotive industry by increasing
efficiency and improving the product quality. However, in manual final assembly
and material handling in the truck industry, where the environment is crowded and
the process is complex, it is hard to automate using traditional industrial robots.
Due to the new trends of self-driving, electrification and connectivity, the truck
variants will drastically increase, which will require a new type of flexible, intelligent and reconfigurable production system where human and robots collaborate to
handle the upcoming complexity.
Collaborative robot systems are designed to enable collaboration between human and robots. They can be flexible and easier to use and install compared to
traditional robots while relieving the human from the unergonomical and more
monotonous tasks and freeing up his/her time for more value adding operations.
However, despite the great amount of research and industrial effort in promoting
collaborative robots, they are underused and are mostly installed to handle simpler
tasks, like traditional robots but without fences.
The main aim of this work is to increase the understanding of how to introduce
intelligent and collaborative robot systems into complex applications such as final
assembly. Two demonstrators were developed by the research group where a manual final assembly station and a kitting station were transformed into collaborative
assembly and kitting stations. Based on these industrial use cases, a set of challenges and critical requirements have been identified that need to be addressed.
These requirements are related to safe, efficient and intuitive interactions, tools,
deliberative control, robust communication and variant handling.
The most critical requirement is the safety of machines and humans. In this
work, by evaluating the current safety standards, it is identified that the available
collaborative modes do not support the implementation of intelligent and adaptive
collaborative system in complex application. A new collaborative mode is therefore
suggested for deliberative and adaptive system where robot system and operator
plan, deliberate, adapt and act together.
Even if it would be possible to develop a safe and fully working collaborative and
intelligent automation system, the engineering processes must also be transformed
to be able to design, plan, prepare and to manage product and process changes for
these new systems. Based on the studied use cases, possible solutions for the future
planning and preparation process are also proposed in this thesis.