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Systematic Planning Approach for Heavy-Duty Human-Robot Cooperation in Automotive Flow Assembly

Matthias Dannapfel 1, Peter Bruggräf 2, Sebastian Bertram 1, Ruben Förstmann 3, and Aaron Riegauf 3
1. Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering, RWTH Aachen University, 52074 Aachen, Germany
2. Chair of International Production Engineering and Management, 57068 Siegen, Germany
3. Chair of Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components, RWTH Aachen University, 52074 Aachen, Germany

Abstract—Human-robot cooperation is a new approach to meet the rising challenges in the automotive industry by enabling a higher proportion of robots in assembly and thus save costs and increase efficiency in context of Industry 4.0. This paper outlines a method for the planning of a heavy-duty (load 90-300 kg) human-robot cooperation in automotive flow assembly. It is the purpose to provide a structured framework for concept planning and to evaluate in the early planning phases whether an application can be used efficiently. The basic principles and insights of this paper are the result from a review of research papers and studies as well as interviews with experts in automotive production and robotics technology. The method is based on an iterative approach, containing a “safety concept”, “workplace” and “working procedure” module. A further aspect concerns the concept evaluation in the early phases of the planning process under inclusion of economic and ergonomic indicators. These indicators aim to ensure efficiency and profitability to avoid excessive preparation costs for ineffective applications. The method has been applied to a practical case in the assembly line of an automotive OEM. 
Index Terms—Automotive, cooperation, flow assembly, planning, heavy-duty robot, human-robot

Cite: Matthias Dannapfel, Peter Bruggräf, Sebastian Bertram, Ruben Förstmann, and Aaron Riegauf, "Systematic Planning Approach for Heavy-Duty Human-Robot Cooperation in Automotive Flow Assembly," International Journal of Electrical and Electronic Engineering & Telecommunications, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp. 51-57, January 2018. Doi: 10.18178/ijeetc.7.2.51-57