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Title: A framework for flexible integration in robotics and its applications for calibration and error compensation
Author: To, Minh Hoang
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 305X
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2012
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Robotics has been considered as a viable automation solution for the aerospace industry to address manufacturing cost. Many of the existing robot systems augmented with guidance from a large volume metrology system have proved to meet the high dimensional accuracy requirements in aero-structure assembly. However, they have been mainly deployed as costly and dedicated systems, which might not be ideal for aerospace manufacturing having low production rate and long cycle time. The work described in this thesis is to provide technical solutions to improve the flexibility and cost-efficiency of such metrology-integrated robot systems. To address the flexibility, a software framework that supports reconfigurable system integration is developed. The framework provides a design methodology to compose distributed software components which can be integrated dynamically at runtime. This provides the potential for the automation devices (robots, metrology, actuators etc.) controlled by these software components to be assembled on demand for various assembly applications. To reduce the cost of deployment, this thesis proposes a two-stage error compensation scheme for industrial robots that requires only intermittent metrology input, thus allowing for one expensive metrology system to be used by a number of robots. Robot calibration is employed in the first stage to reduce the majority of robot inaccuracy then the metrology will correct the residual errors. In this work, a new calibration model for serial robots having a parallelogram linkage is developed that takes into account both geometric errors and joint deflections induced by link masses and weight of the end-effectors. Experiments are conducted to evaluate the two pieces of work presented above. The proposed framework is adopted to create a distributed control system that implements calibration and error compensation for a large industrial robot having a parallelogram linkage. The control system is formed by hot-plugging the control applications of the robot and metrology used together. Experimental results show that the developed error model was able to improve the 3s positional accuracy of the loaded robot from several millimetres to less than one millimetre and reduce half of the time previously required to correct the errors by using only the metrology. The experiments also demonstrate the capability of sharing one metrology system to more than one robot.
Supervisor: Webb, Phil Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Airframe Assembly Automation ; Metrology-Integrated Robots ; Plug and Produce ; Robot Accuracy ; Kinematic Identification