Our consortium partner, Sirris, was given the opportunity to make temporary use of a KMR iiwa with the aim to extensively test and explore the potential of a mobile cobot.
In the future, production will require intelligent, modular, versatile and mobile concepts. Production processes are constantly changing. Therefore, mobile robotic systems must be able to adapt to this. The KMR (Kuka Mobile Robot) iiwa combines the strengths of a sensitive, lightweight cobot - the LBR iiwa - with a mobile, autonomous Kuka platform. It is the combination of a robot arm and an AGV (automated guided vehicle). The system is also equipped with the Kuka Sunrise OS for robot and mobile platform, and the autonomous navigation SLAM.
Testing and screening the potential
What is this mobile robot capable of in a production environment? We checked it out for you:
- Picking boxes, trays or bins in a warehouse: the robot arm can move and pick up boxes of parts, and then place them on the mobile platform for transport.
- Autonomous driving and transport: the cobot can be moved to any desired location on the shop floor with an accuracy of approx. 5 mm. Driving around and transporting goods through the production hall and warehouse are autonomous and with the necessary safety in the vicinity of objects and people, because the AGV on which the cobot is mounted is equipped with laser scanners that detect any (moving) obstacle and make the mobile cobot stop and/or adjust its route. In addition, the KMR iiwa is highly manoeuvrable as the wheels can rotate in all directions (omni-directional wheel technology).
- The robot arm can be used to load and unload CNC machines: the robot arm can open the CNC machine autonomously, remove the pieces from the machine and then close the machine again. CNC (milling) machine and KMR can communicate with each other via wifi thanks to the addition of a Raspberry Pi.
- In a similar way, the KMR can provide the iiwa measuring systems such as the Mitutoyo Ko-ga with test pieces and return the pieces to the warehouse afterwards.
- Safe operation alongside or in cooperation with operators is possible thanks to the built-in force-torque sensors.
- Thanks to dashboards, the production floor can be made completely transparent.
The results of our exploration of the possibilities of the KMR iiwa can be seen in the following video: