Force and torque sensing are essential to modern, efficient industrial robotics. For production applications, the strength of a robot gripper when manipulating or interacting with parts can literally make or break a product.
In the video above, we look at how force sensing technologies can allow robots today to adapt to dynamic geometries of parts for applications like part polishing and material or part handling.
“When you want to polish a part, the part may have some variances that you can’t have the robot follow because the part is not where it’s supposed to be,” said Dwayne Perry, PE, chief sensor technologist at ATI Industrial Automation. “You may want to apply a constant force while you’re polishing, 10 newtons perhaps, so the robot can gently follow the contours of the piece and produce a great shine. Maybe you have a peg in a hole; you can return force feedback to the robot and it can adjust dynamically to put together the parts that you want.”
With force sensing capabilities, the UR robot shown in the video above adapts to the wave-like contours of a testing part, gently sliding across the surface.
“We are introducing a new force sensor that’s targeted for the UR robot line, our ATI Industrial Automation Axia80 Low-Cost Force Torque Sensor, which can be found through Universal Robots Plus program,” said Perry.
With the Axia80 sensor, the UR robot applies equal pressure across the entire surface of the part despite changes in height. The part can even be manipulated to change where it lies in relation to the robot, without interfering in the robot’s force sensing capabilities.
The sensor measures force and torque using a monolithic instrumented transducer. These measurements are streamed to the robot controller.
Using force torque sensors, engineers can monitor what the robot is doing and adjust the pressure as needed for more dynamic applications, Perry explained.
“Verification is part of the production process – you make something and need to be sure you made it correctly. With force sensor technology, like the Axia80 Low-Cost Sensor, you can inspect your products while you’re making them with live data.”
For more information, watch the video above and visit the ATI Industrial Automation website.