Project Aim

Ford Motor company, specifically their Dagenham facility, aims to introduce an automatic checking system using collaborative robots for quality checking of electrical harnesses.

As a part of the Cobot Design and Certification (CDC) service, HSSMI provided a project, with a set of defined deliverables, to assess the suitability of collaborative robots for this application.

The Challenge

Collaborative robotics is an emerging technology, introduced as a game changer in manufacturing. Even though collaborative robots are force and power limited, they can still represent a hazard to workers. In this context, the challenge was to implement a cost-effective and efficient workstation which ensures operator safety.

The CDC service therefore contributed in achieving this goal, by following a step by step approach to assess the suitability of collaborative applications before any cost was invested in hardware and implementation.

The Solution

- Application assessment: A visit onsite allowed three HSSMI team members to view the workstation and understand the business requirements. Further to this visit, an assessment was made to ensure that the collaborative application was suitable for the intended use case

- Virtual design: HSSMI provided a static 2D layout of the future collaborative application within the desired work station for visualisation purposes

- Virtual simulation: In this phase, a series of simulations were run and tested using a tool capable of visualising the path of the cobots alongside the path of the operators. The defined parameters inserted into the tool enabled the team to understand the points at which there could be a potential collision/near miss. The new design was revisited in the simulation until no hazards were identified

- ROI calculation: HSSMI provided a thorough calculation to determine the business benefit of installing a collaborative application

- Compliance with safety standards: HSSMI worked with the relevant guidelines and standards to ensure that the designed application met all the requirements for certification.

To complete the project, HSSMI worked closely with Ford to create a defined specification which could then be shared with vendors to help to successfully install a collaborative application.

Duration

November 2017 - April 2018 (Six months)

Project Members

HSSMI and Ford Motor Company

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