IntroductionAutomotivemanufacturing car industry is undergoing major changes and transformations.
Digitization introduced new technologies; manufactured products are demanded toproduce in an increasing number of variants while the workforce’s average ageis shifted by the demographic change. All of these factors are importantdrivers for creating workplaces where human and robot work together which basedon the Industry 4.0 concept.
On the other hand, the field of human-robotcollaboration has experienced a significant increase of interest in the pastyears, first from the research community and as well from the industrialcommunity. The reason lies in key enabling this new technology appearing on themarket, probably most importantly a new generation of lightweight robots whichincorporate different concepts (control software or mechatronic design) allowto interact with humans while ensuring a certain degree of safety.Human beingsremain at the center of production. The crucial point is to achieve opencommunication and simple integration. A factory staffed by robots alone willremain an illusion, even in the smart factory. People will remain the centralfocus.
However, robots will make people’s jobs less arduous, will supportpeople and give them entirely new capabilities.In this context, without doubt, human-robotcollaboration will play a key role in Industry 4.0 – not only directly as partof modern production, but as data gatherers that can communicate all relevantinformation to IT systems in real time if required. This means the current workaims at integrating current technologies in different areas to create aninnovative robotic system for a safe and intuitive human-robot collaboration.
With multi-sensor-based workspace, they make it possible to automate delicateassembly tasks in the first place. If unexpected contact is made, robots willreduce their speed and thus the kinetic energy to an extent that preventsavoidance of collisions both with itself and with external objects. Inaddition, a set of whole-body controllers is used as building block thatdescribes single actions of a high- level robot behavior plan.
Finally, amodular, robot- agnostic software control framework was used to seamlessly bindall components together and allow reusing generic software components todescribe a variety of complex manipulation behaviors, whilst keepingindependence from the particular robot hardware. When people and robots canwork safely together, many conventional safety precautions become superfluous. Additionalcosts that would normally be required for safety technology and protectivefences can be dispensed with. Workers and robots can share the same workspacewithout any concerns. In this way, expensive feed systems and production floorspace can be saved. 1.
Human-robotCollaboration (HRC)According to KUKA Systems GmbH, human-robotcollaboration, which bases on a decisive principle of Industry 4.0, means human and robot work hand in hand, withoutseparation and without safety fencing. This means that the machine does notreplace the human, but complements his capabilities and relieves him of arduoustasks. These can include overhead work, for example, or the lifting of heavyloads. 1.
1. Background of HRCBased on the article “Collaboration,Dialogue, and Human-robot Interaction” of TerrenceFong, Charles Thorpe, and Charles Baur, the firstinteraction between human and robot was since the 1940’s. In the beginning, theinteraction was primarily unidirectional: simple on-off controls or analogjoysticks for operating manipulator joints and remote vehicles. Over time, asrobot has become more intelligent, the communication between humans and robotshas become more and more like the relationship between two human beings rather thanthe nature communication in the past, while human using robot as a passive handtool.
Nowadays, human-robotinteraction (HRI) is still relatively young concept that has attracted muchattention due to the increasing in availability of complex robots and thepublicity of such robot in daily life, e.g. as robotic toys, or householdappliances (robotic vacuum cleaners). Furthermore, robots are beingincreasingly developed and applied in different areas, such as manufacture,educational application, or eldercare.Jim Lawton ofRethink Robotics stated during an interview with David Greenfiled, there areseveral factors that cause the rise in human-robot collaboration in recentyears, the most notable ones are:- 90%of the tasks in manufacturing process have not been automated, because it isnot practical to do so with standard industrial robotics technology.- Mostsmall to mid-sized manufacturers are out of the robotics loop due to the factthat they often lack industrial robot programming knowledge- Plus,these smaller manufacturers typically perform widely varying job shopproduction and therefore need robot to be flexible, something most industrialrobots does not easily provide.
1.2. The description of how HRC worksAccordingto Terrence Fong, Charles Thorpe, and Charles Baur, as a branch of knowledge,human-robot collaboration (HRC) regarding analysis, design, modelling,implementation, and evaluation of robots for human use.
HRC is strongly relatedto human-computer interaction (HCI) and human-machine interaction (HMI). However,HRC concerns systems (i.e. robots) which have complex, dynamic control systems,which exhibit autonomy and cognition, and also operate in changing real-worldenvironments, which differs itself from HCI and HMI. It is through directproximal interaction (e.
g. physical contact) or through mediated practiced by auser interface (“operator interface” or “control station”) that HRC may occur. “Inthe latter case, the interface acts as a translator: it transforms human input(from hand controllers or other control devices) to robot commands and providesfeedback via displays. When human and robot are separated by a barrier(distance, time, etc.) and information is exchanged via a communication link, thenthe interaction is called teleoperation”. 1.
3. Human-robotcollaboration in manufacture Because of theaffordability, highly adaptability, and plug-and-play possibility, small andmedium-sized manufacturers are eager to take on collaborative robotstechnology. Thanks to the new advancement in robotic manufacture technology,robot laborers are now able to be integrated into the work force to increaseefficiency and productivity, however, they are still challenged in planning andscheduling along with the design of human-robot interaction.The manufactureenvironment has a lot of potential applications for collaborative robots (orcobots), such as in an automobile manufacture plant. In some manufactureprocesses, there are applications that make sense for workers to performmanually tasks, in the others, the best option is overall automation.
In thesesituations, the cobot can handle certain physically demanding motions while thehuman needs to see, feel, and react as needed. On the technical side, a cobotcan detect nonstandard activity in their work and limit its force that allowsclose cooperation between human and robots without any physical separation.There are variety of collaborative robots, from small table-top models torobots capable of moving heavy loads, they all have force sensors in theirjoints which stops their motion in case of an impact, which allow the robot tooperate at full speed without harmless. Collaborative robotsare mobile, suitable for moving between working spaces.
Most of them are easyto program, just by using a smartphone or tablet. The collaborative robots aredesigned to help, but not to replace the worker in manufacture. 2. Germancar industry2.1. Overviewof German car industry2.1.
1. HistoryThe automotiveindustry is the largest industry sector in Germany. It began to be inspired bythe British automotive industry in the late 1860s as the motor-car pioneers.Later then, in the 1870s, Karl Benz and Nikolaus Otto independently developed afour-stroke internal combustion engine, with Benz fitting his design to a coachin 1887, which led to the modern-day motor car. By 1901, Germany was producingabout 900 cars a year and this number is still continuing to increasethroughout the period. 2.1.
2. The development of German car industryBetween 1860s and 70s: The origins ofthe automotive industry are rooted in the development of the gasoline engine.Around 1750: 1st Industrial RevolutionMechanical production systematicallyusing the power of water and steam Around 1900: Power Revolution Centralized electric powerinfrastructure; mass production by division of labor Around 1970: Digital Revolution Digital computing and communication technology,enhancing systems’ intelligence Today: Information Revolution Everybody and everything is networked- networked information as a “huge brain”.
2.2. Germanautomotive industry nowadays and the challengesTheGerman automotive industry has a head start when it comes to thedevelopment of highly efficient combustion engines. Up until now, it is being home to the moderncar, the German automobile industry is regarded as the most competitive andinnovative, and has the third highest car production in the world, and fourthhighest total motor vehicle production.
With an annual output close to 6million and a 35.6% share of the European Union (2008). Despite relatively highwages, long vacations, and strong labor laws and regulations, Germany remains aglobal leader in many manufacturing sectors. Last year, automotive andindustrial exports helped the country post a record trade surplus of 198.9billion euros ($269 billion). One of the reasons for this achievement isautomation. Contemporary German auto manufacturing exploits advancedmanufacturing technologies to increase productivity and profits.
However, thereare still some major challenges for the automobile industry, which can besummed up as follows:- Developmentof efficient vehicles- Developmentof alternative propulsion concepts- Retainingthe position of the German automobile industry as a technology leader andmanufacturer of premium products on the global market- Complementingthe product portfolio with new micro and city car concepts.- Penetratingthe growth markets in the BRICS countries and managing the crisis in Europe- Reducingthe number of vehicle platforms in spite of continued differentiation of theproduct portfolio- Participationin the introduction of new mobility concepts 2.3. Robotsin German car industryIt cannot be denied that robots have madetheir biggest mark in the automotive world but it took decades of refinement toget there.
Today, having robots is vital if one wants to be competitive inmaking automotive plants. Robots in modern world are getting more and moresophisticated than ever. Many are semi-autonomous, with machine vision systemscan adapt easily to a changing environment.
Some can even work side-by-sidewith humans. All signs suggest a panorama where we find ourselves living in anew industrial robot boom. Let take a look at Audi’s A3 body shop in Ingolstadtwhere the robots numbers are roughly equal compare to the number of 800employees. Their jobs are to undertake most of the heavy lifting, responsiblefor potentially dangerous spot welding and bonding, as well as tediouslyrepetitive testing. To Bernd Mlekusch, head of technology developmentproduction at Audi, the benefits of automation include much higher productivityand reduced demand for untrained workers. At the same time, workers with moretraining and greater specialization are increasingly needed, he says.
The nextgeneration of robots to work alongside humans are likely to be even faster andmore powerful, making them considerably more useful but also necessitating moresophisticated safety systems. To sum up, robots wereutilized to reduce costs and increase production as they can do the job quickerthan their human counterpart, efficient in their jobs, offer more speed andaccuracy than the human workers, yet as time has gone by; they got goodsavings, and higher quality, at the same time. The automotive industry observedthat it can and needed to utilize robots for quality and consistency. Robotsusually can be found in these applications that grabbed our attention such asRobotic Painting, Robotic Vision, Collaborative Robots, Robotic Hand andCollaborative Robotics. 3.
Human-robotcollaboration in German car industry3.1. State-of-the-art3.
2. Acase-study of HRC in German car industry (AUDI: KLARA Robot)3.3. Theadvantages and disadvantages of HRC in German car industryDueto the flexibility in manufacture of collaborative robots, human-robotcollaboration are being used widely in recent years, some analysts even expectthat this segment of robotics industrial will growth substantially in thefuture. “TheBoston Consulting Group predicts that investment in industrial robots will grow10% each year for the next ten years in the world’s 25 biggest export nations,when the robots will take over 23% of the manufacturing jobs.” (LenCalderone, 2016)Thehuman-robot collaboration is making a big change in industrial production andfactory processing in the future.
Since 2014, collaborative robots have beengreatly success and become more importance in various industries, especially inautomotive and electronics. In human-robot collaboration, both human and robotcan contribute their abilities on a production line and complement each otherwhile providing the flexibility and productivity, “the human operator controlsand monitors production, the robots perform the physically strenuous work.” (KUKA,Human-robot Collaboration).
Thanksto this combination, production activities of the companies over the world cangain a lot of benefits, such as maximum flexibility in production, reliefemployees by performing ergonomically unfavorable work, reduced risk of injury,high-quality performance, and increased productivity. Human-robot collaborationoffers companies a very short return of investment, it also increasesefficiency in production by a large amount. Besides, it isplug-and-play-friendly to user, and add great value to the companies as theyare replacing all the repetitive tasks. Another benefit of this collaborationis that they can be afforded for a wide range of business sizes.
Mostcollaborative robots have specific sensors that also to increase safety forhumans while conducting separated monitoring and continuously the speed.Usually, these sensors are cameras, laser, or motion-captured sensor that cangenerate 2D or 3D images. Traditionally, the collaborative robots areprogrammed to work behind physical barriers, such as cages that used to stopthe robots when a human is nearby. Nowadays, the modern sensors not only showthe presence of humans but also their location. When the humans are in thegreen zone, then the robots can work at a full speed, but the sensors will givea warning; in the yellow zone, the robots will lower their speed, and in redzone, when the workers get too close, it will completely stop.
In thissituation, the robots will be programmed to move away from humans, or altertheir path to go around. (Figure.1)Besidethe benefits of human-robot collaboration, there are also some off-sides thatshould be mentioned. First of all, the increase in demand of human-robotcollaboration somehow causes an increase of unemployment rate. The unemploymentof a country rises as the whole work is done by the robots. The worker’s laborsis not really necessary anymore, hence reduces the chances of employment inalmost the industries.
Secondly, the cost for these collaborative robots arevery high, that not every company can afford. Therefore, the companies who canpurchase for this technology have a great benefit for themselves, and theothers, who could not afford to pay, have to face a competition, that alsomakes them fall behind, and have no place in the market. In addition, the highcost of collaborative robot also cause an increase of financial budget thanwhat was expected.
This problem can put a company into a great financial issuethat leads to a bankrupt, which is an unbearable loss. On the other hand, themaintenance cost of these robots is also high. It is impossible for a companyto maintain the machines while it is under the pressure of the financialproblem. Beside the cost for installation and maintenance of the robots, thecompany also need to pay for the cost to train the employees how to performdifferent tasks with the help of robots. Employees will be trained to programand interact with the new robotic machines. Normally, this will be time-consumingand costly for the company to apply the new technology on large scale level. Itis also a disadvantage of human-robot collaboration.
Moreover, thecollaborative robot itself can be a danger for the workers, although it wasequipped with the sensors. It is due to the fact that the robot is nottrustworthy as it does not possess the intelligence like human. The informationand tasks given to the robots through chips and programming are performedanyway even if something wrong happens. Once those machines are damaged, thewhole company would be in chaos. Therefore, this is one of the drawbacks of theinstallation of collaborative robots.
Additionally, the electrical efficiencyof the robots is somewhat worth mentioning. Some robots are very energy-consumedwhile some are more energy-waste-friendly. Huge consumption in energy meanshuge rise in monthly payments. And not many companies would be willing to payfor a surplus; therefore, energy efficient machines are more likely to be takeninto account before the company make a purchase. Withregards to the information showed above, the benefits of human-robotcollaboration are very significant and far outweigh the drawbacks. In the nearfuture, the contribution of human-robot collaboration in the industrialproduction as well as the economy would be drastically valuable to us. In thenearest two decades, we have witnessed the increasing application ofhuman-robot collaboration in many different fields; however, mostly stillindustrial manufacture.
Therefore, it has become important step for us on ourway to develop our civilization as well as make this world a better place. ConclusionTheGerman automobile industry is the most competitive and innovative in the worldas it has the highest car production and the fourth highest total motor vehicleproduction. Therefore, it requires an advance technology such as collaborativerobot, which can cooperate and assist worker. Due to the advantages ofhuman-robot collaboration being maximum flexibility in production, reliefemployees by performing ergonomically unfavorable work, reduced risk of injury,high-quality performance, and increased productivity, the car industry inGermany can get a great number of benefits that will enhance the Germanautomotive industry in the near future. Beside these benefits, human-robotcollaboration still has its drawbacks such as the high cost in installation, maintenance,and training for employees, the errors, which probably can happen, and thewaste of energy. However, as one of the advantages of human-robot collaborationis productivity, so that the output of a company is much greater than the costfor this technology. With the growth of technology, it is possible for us toimprove the collaborative robots in order to reduce maximum the errors inoperation. In the modern life, instead of using the old energies (e.
g.gasoline, oil, etc.), we now begin to use the green energies (e.g.
solarenergy, wind energy, etc.) in our life. This means that the power consumptionof collaborative robots can be improved with these renewable energies, whatsolves the energy problem for human-robot collaboration technology and makes itmore environment-friendly. As a conclusion, the human-robot collaboration isworth implemented in different kind of businesses and manufactures.
ReferencesAndrea Bauer, Dirk Wollherr, MartinBuss. (March 2008) Human–robotcollaboration: a survey. InternationalJournal of Humanoid Robotics. 5 (1), 47.
Available from: https://doi.org/10.1142/S0219843608001303 Accessed December 4th, 2017AndreaCherubini, Robin Passama, Andre Crosnier, Antoine Lasnier, Philippe Fraisse.(August 2016) Collaborative manufacturing with physical human-robotinteraction.
Robotics andComputer-Integrated Manufacturing. 40, 1-13. C.Vogel, C. Walter, N.
Elkmann. (November 2012) Exploring the possibilities ofsupporting robot-assisted work places using a projection-based sensor system. Robotic and Sensors Environments (ROSE),2012 IEEE International Symposium on.
67-72. Available from: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/6402623/ Accessed December 4th, 2017ChitraReddy. Robots in the Workplace – Types – Pros and Cons.
Available from: https://content.wisestep.com/robots-workplace-types-pros-cons/ Accessed January 22th, 2018DavidGreenfield. (March 26, 2015) Inside the Human-robot Collaboration Trend.
Available from: https://www.automationworld.com/inside-human-robot-collaboration-trend Accessed December 13th, 2017GeorgeMichalos, Sotiris Makris, Panagiota Tsarouchi, Toni Guasch, DimitrisKontovrakis, Goerge Chryssolouris. (2015) Design Considerations for SafeHuman-robot Collaborative Workplaces. ProcediaCIRP. 37, 248-253.
HerbertMeyr. (October 2004) Supply chain planning in the German automotive industry. OR Spectrum. 26 (4), 447-470.InakiMaurtua, Aitor Ibarguren, Johan Kildal, Loreto Susperregi, Basilio Sierra. (July7, 2017) Human–robot collaboration in industrial applications: Safety,interaction and trust. InternationalJournal of Advanced Robotic Systems. 14 (4).
J.Krüger,T.K.Lien, A.Verl. (2009) Cooperation of human and machines in assembly lines. CIRP Annals.
58 (2), 628-646.KUKASystems GmbH. Human-robot collaboration (HRC). Available from: https://www.kuka.com/en-au/technologies/human-robot-collaboration Accessed December 1st, 2017LenCalderone.
(February 25, 2016) Collaborative robots working in manufacturing.Available from: https://www.manufacturingtomorrow.com/article/2016/02/collaborative-robots-working-in-manufacturing/7672/ Accessed January 22th, 2018Michael Rüßmann, Philipp Gerbert,Markus Lorenz, Manuela Waldner, Jan Justus, Pascal Engel, Michael Harnisch.
(April 9, 2015) Industry 4.0: Thefuture of productivity and growth in manufacturing industries. Available from: https://www.bcg.com/publications/2015/engineered_products_project_business_industry_4_future_productivity_growth_manufacturing_industries.
aspx Accessed December 4th, 2017PanagiotaTsarouchi, Sotiris Makris, George Chryssolouris. (2016) Human–robot interactionreview and challenges on task planning and programming. International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing.
29 (8),916-931.StefanosNikolaidis, Przemyslaw Lasota, Gregory Rossano, Carlos Martinez, ThomasFuhlbrigge, Julie Snah. (October 2013) Human-robot collaboration inmanufacturing: Quantitative evaluation of predictable, convergent joint action.Robotics (ISR), 2013 44th internationalsymposium on. Available from: http://ieeexplore.ieee.
org/document/6695625/ Accessed December 8th, 2017TerrenceFong, Charles Thorpe, Charles Baur. (June 30, 2003) Collaboration, Dialogue,Human-Robot Interaction. RoboticsResearch.
255-266.Wilcox,Ronald, Stefanos Nikolaidis, Julie Shah. (2012) Optimization of temporaldynamics for adaptive human-robot interaction in assembly manufacturing Robotics Science and Systems VIII.