Virtual Process Planning for Automated Adhesive Application
Today’s process automation increasingly involves resource-efficient material and machine usage, as well as environmentally-friendly energy consumption, and low space requirements. The individual process steps and their linkage within the process chain must be optimized. Since the efficiency of a process chain directly depends on the efficiency of each sequential step, it is imperative to identify and to eliminate any bottlenecks in the chain using methods as simple as possible.
The complexity of automation may range from a single workstation with manual part feed to a highly complex computer-controlled system with -automated actuators, industrial robots and human-machine interaction. Initially 2D CAD systems and then increasingly 3D CAD systems have been used over the years (Autocad, Inventor, Catia, Solid Works, Siemens NX) for planning automated processes and avoiding the need for model-scale layouts. These workbenches have been extended nowadays with tools such as ROBCAD or Delmia Robotics which permit offline programming, process visualization in moving images and cycle time determination for the developed workstations.
Since 2004 the robot pilot plant at Fraunhofer IFAM in Bremen has been an established and successful test center for automated adhesive application. In order to give customers insight in their solution for process automation, the robot pilot plant is also simulated in Delmia V5 Robotics.
The application process can be virtually simulated – from the reachability of the desired locations on the customer’s components through to motion planning and cycle time. Changes to the process sequence and the exchange of machines for the customers application are usually performed in just a few steps. This helps to avoid bad investment prior to the assembly of the actual production cell.