Safe and collision-tolerant hybrid high-speed collaborative robots

01 January 2023 → 31 December 2026
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Robot manipulation and interfaces
    • Robotic systems architectures and programming
    • Sensing, estimation and actuating
    • Mechatronics and robotics not elsewhere classified
high-speed robots Collaborative robots control model-based design
Project description

Traditional caged industrial robots exhibit high speed performance, but do not allow safe and robust interaction with their environment. Their counterpart, collaborative robots (cobots), do allow safe interactions but lack the high performance. This project wants to bridge the gap between high-speed motion and collaboration with humans to address the ever-increasing demand for flexibility in production. To that end we want to design safe and collision-tolerant high-speed cobots. We will first push the working speed of cobots in collaborative mode with flexible links. Instead of considering classical rectangular shaped link designs, axisymmetric links will be studied, as they offer a far more interesting perspective on safety. To contain the undesired side-effects of the link flexibility we will investigate a strain-based control strategy. Secondly, we will push the collision tolerance of today’s high-speed caged robots. We want to protect multi-DOF articulated robot arms by designing overload clutches that allow to rapidly reduce the inertia of the moving robot. This, together with collision detection algorithms. Finally, we will integrate the flexible links and overload clutches to build hybrid high-speed collaborative robots. The new robots will be benchmarked against existing state-of-the-art robots/cobots in terms of speed, collision tolerance and safety, both numerically and experimentally.