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Power boosting Cooperative Manipulators – EEPOS MOTEK 2012 Exhibit

Cooperative power-boosting manipulators are a new class of material handling systems, which combine the characteristics of industrial robots and manipulators such as hand-held weight balancers or winches. The aim is to combine the respective advantages of both: a simple operation and low costs from the manipulators as well as programming, web guiding, power and precision, and from industrial robots.

For handling heavier parts, the power-boosting handling systems are particularly advantageous. The cooperation is based on the so-called “admittance” principle: The movement commands and forces with which man acts on the combined work are recorded using a force torque sensor and converted into a corresponding movement. Here, the handling system behavior is regulated so that the person can freely feel the virtual mass-damper spring system response. The parameters of the virtual machine can be adjusted as desired by the controller to the task or the person. In order to realize easy mobility, principally the large inertia of the object is reduced to just a few kilograms. Upon correct installation and for contacts within an inflexible environment, a greater attenuation is required. Benefits go beyond the ability to create virtual, passive and active obstacles by the controller (so-called virtual walls and guides). The leadership of the person in the assembly of complex parts is made easier.

Compared to fully automated systems, the complexity of the new system is reduced, through which cost effective total system solutions can be implemented. The flexibility is achieved by the direct interaction with the improvement and incorporation of human capabilities. Minimal training is made possible by the intuitive operation through manual force control. The force generated by the achieved reduction of physical stress improves working conditions and supports the use of performance-impaired employees.

The new co-handling systems were invented to help people, rather than replace them. Through manual force control, they are fun to use, with only minimal training required. They act as an intelligent, easy to use “third hand of man” by increasing effectiveness and reducing physical strain. Thanks to the direct interaction with the workers and the incorporation of human capabilities, we were able to achieve a very high flexibility.