Browse Prior Art Database

Intelligent Production Transporter

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000046965D
Original Publication Date: 1983-Sep-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-07
Document File: 3 page(s) / 55K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Mathisen, ES: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The arrangement sets forth a new concept of mobile robot systems providing a flexible solution to many manufacturing applications. Most robot applications employ stationary robots which either transfer products from a transport system to a tool and return, or from a tool to another operation. Others are used in tool-handling operations, such as welding or spray painting. In these cases, the number of transfer positions is limited by the work volume of the robot and the size of the tools. Or, as in the case of tool handling or assembly operation, additional transport systems and jig fixtures which increase the cost and limit the flexibility of the manufacturing line must be added.

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Intelligent Production Transporter

The arrangement sets forth a new concept of mobile robot systems providing a flexible solution to many manufacturing applications. Most robot applications employ stationary robots which either transfer products from a transport system to a tool and return, or from a tool to another operation. Others are used in tool-handling operations, such as welding or spray painting. In these cases, the number of transfer positions is limited by the work volume of the robot and the size of the tools. Or, as in the case of tool handling or assembly operation, additional transport systems and jig fixtures which increase the cost and limit the flexibility of the manufacturing line must be added. Up to now, there has been very little interest in using a robot for parts transfer over a long line of work stations, such as wet process line, progressive assembly line or kitting operation. The reason for this may be the problems involved with moving power and signal cables and extra installation costs, such as tracks or imbedded guidance systems. The new system concept proposed is shown in Fig. 1. It consists of a multi-axis robot 10 mounted on a trolley 12 (Fig. 2) running on the floor with no tracks or grooves. The direction of the trolley 12 is guided by two arms 14 and 16 mating with a rail 18, mounted inside the work bench 20. The two arms 14 and 16, which also serve as stabilization, feed power from the rail to the trolley. The trolley contains a battery, the DC drivemotor with control circuit and the microprocessor for driving the robot axis. By this configuration, the trolley 12 with the robot 10 is self-contained with canned programs, and only needs peripheral communication to an area computer or host for receiving action codes indicating station number and coordinates of to-from points. The communication from the area computer and the status of each station are provided by an optical non-contact coupling 22 between the trolley and each station stop. To maintain a reasonable degree of repeatability, the trolley is guided by rollers 24 following a rail system 18 a...