In cooperation with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce for Munich and Upper Bavaria (IHK), the Research for Breakfast event took place on April 9, 2019 at the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics. The series of events by the IHK aims to introduce research institutions from the region and their work to companies and interested parties. After brief keynote speeches, the main focus is on visiting the respective research laboratories and the dialogue between research, industry and interface facilities. This year, the focus is on research activities in the field of man and machine.
“For us, the event was a good opportunity to present the DLR’s cross-sectional project Factory of the Future to an interested audience, particularly from industry. The aim of the project is to transfer innovative production technologies from aerospace to the range of industrial automation,” said Professor Alin Albu-Schäffer, head of the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics. “The exchange between researchers and stakeholders from industry and interfacing facilities is a great opportunity for us to think about possible application scenarios for our research and to network accordingly,” adds Roman Weitschat, Factory of the Future project manager. Interested questions from the participants already offered new ideas, says Weitschat.
Following a tour of the laboratory, the staff members of the DLR institute presented the research work of the Factory of the Future on the basis of detailed demonstrations. In addition to the determined task, the new DLR lightweight robot SARA also learns and reproduces the required strength after being instructed by the worker. Another demonstrator shows the autonomous assembly of individual products, which is aimed above all at ease of use: Product configurations are entered using a tablet PC – the robot system simply assembles these according to specifications. In mobile manipulation, the combination of a manipulator with a mobile platform expands the working space: This increases mobility and flexibility, especially in the area of fetch-and-carry operations in an industrial environment. In the Collaborative Workcell, the focus is on intuitive robot programming – and thus on humans and robots working together safely. This gave the participants a major insight into the work of the Factory of the Future research project.
In addition to the Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, there are nine other institutes involved at other DLR locations. Factory of the Future is a cross-sectional project by the DLR, which combines interdisciplinary expertise. The goal is the digital transformation of robot-supported production processes in the context of Industry 4.0. The DLR initiative is pursuing a comprehensive strategy by exploring future technologies and approaches from research on artificial intelligence and collaborative robots – from novel ideas to refined concepts. This makes Factory of the Future a trailblazer: Using state-of-the-art research methods from aerospace makes it possible to simplify and optimize production processes.