STUTTGART, 13-Sep-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — At the international trade fair Motek 2016 in Stuttgart, Bosch shows examples of flexible human-machine interaction (hall 7, booth 7225). The APAS family is a product family of mobile automation devices for the use in flexible and connected factories of the future. “Products are becoming more and more individual, their life cycles are shortening, batch sizes are getting smaller,” says Wolfgang Pomrehn, product manager of the APAS family. “To adapt to changing market requirements quickly, we need new models of human-machine cooperation, where humans should always come first. The APAS assistant, for instance, works directly with the staff without a safety fence, and supports employees in their daily work.”
Collision-free cooperation at a joint workplace
If an employee gets too close to the APAS assistant, the robot stops immediately – even before man and machine touch – and only resumes his work when the employee has left the close range. This contact-free interaction is facilitated by the specially developed sensor skin from Bosch, which encloses the robot arm entirely. An optional function further makes it possible to monitor the extended far range via laser scanner. As long as no employee is located in the far range, the production assistant operates at maximum speed. Once the monitored zone is entered, the APAS assistant automatically drops to a lower speed. This tiered safety concept allows the assistant to adjust its operating speed to the presence or absence of humans.
The robot kinematic of the APAS assistant can also be integrated into a standardized workplace as individual component. The employee receives an individually aligned, ergonomic working environment. Table height and lighting automatically adjust to the user. The intuitive, dialog-controlled user interface projects information right onto the work space, thus offering further relief, while the user has all required information available at a glance.
The APAS assistant can be trained for new jobs without special programming skills. Moreover, it can be connected with further assistance systems and integrated into existing production lines. In the background, the IT Shopfloor Solutions – a combination of scalable hardware and software modules – which Bosch has been continuously developing for 15 years, ensure safety, communication, efficiency and transparency along the entire manufacturing chain. The Bosch solution connects different machines, such as the APAS assistant, regardless of product or brand.
Project AQUIAS: more quality of work despite disability
The mobile production assistant can also be used in non-industrial surroundings, as the project AQUIAS, funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research, shows. Together with two Fraunhofer institutes, Bosch is investigating the cooperation of the APAS assistant with physically and mentally disabled people. “We want to find out how the production assistant can best support these people,” Pomrehn says. “The robot should learn to adapt to their requirements and enable them to participate in attractive work.”
More information about the APAS family is available at www.bosch-apas.com.
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SOURCE: Robert Bosch GmbH