Mercedes-Benz Cars has received an award for its groundbreaking “Robot Farming” production concept at the annual International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Hong Kong. “Robot Farming” stands for overcoming previously irreconcilable antitheses in production technology:
The concept allows people and robots to work together directly in production, without a protective fence. In this interaction, the movements of the robot are directly influenced by the actions of the person. In this way, the person and the lightweight robot can carry out intricate assembly work together as part of an optimized production process. Mercedes-Benz Cars received the “IEEE Robotics and Automation Award for Product Innovation”. Since 2010, the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) has bestowed this award for new, innovative and commercially viable developments and products in the field of automation and robotics.
“The award for the “Robot Farming” production concept affirms our position in progressive, revolutionary production technologies of tomorrow,” says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain Management. “We aim for premium cars and top quality. These innovative technologies will bring us forward in automotive production in terms of quality and efficiency. At the same time, the robot facilitates the work of our employees by taking over tiring tasks.”
About “Robot Farming” at Mercedes-Benz Cars
Mercedes-Benz was the first automotive manufacturer to recognize the potential of the reactive light-duty robot, and successfully test it in series production in the course of pilot applications. This is based on a strategic partnership with the robot and machine engineering company KUKA AG from 2012. In operating tests, employees of both companies investigate procedures including screwing processes in vehicle assembly.
In the adaptable production systems of the future, innovative new lightweight robots and employees will work together very closely without the robot replacing the person. Mercedes-Benz calls this holistic production system “Robot Farming”, which combines the cognitive and physical abilities of the person with the consistency, precision and stamina of the robot. Depending on the unit volumes and production scopes required, the employee can add one or more robots and assign them flexibly to various workstations, or even work with them in the same area without a protective fence. The robot can be positioned in a way that provides the best ergonomic support for the employee. For example, the light-duty robot can take on taxing duties like overhead work.
Source: Daimler AG / Picture: © Philipp Deppe