Workshop-oriented machine tool automation through flexible robot support

Key Info

Basic Information

01.01.2017 to 30.06.2019
Organizational Unit:
Chair of Machine Tools, Automation and Control
German Federation of Industrial Research Associations AiF

Research partner

    • FVP
    • Kirchoff
    • DTG
    • IFT
    • Saint-Gobain
    • Ph Mechanik
    • Skrobanex
    • Springer Presswerk- und Rohbau-Automation
    • Festo
    • Müller Maschinentechnik
    • Matrix
    • Heinen Automation
    • Bosch
    • ModuleWorks
    • Ex4pt
    • Neugart



Philipp Blanke



+49 241 80 28233



Machining processes in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) currently have no or only a low degree of automation. Shorter product life cycles or low quantities of NC-machined parts as well as specific requirements require frequent adaptation of machining processes and thus a high degree of flexibility of the resources used. For this reason, machine loading is currently largely carried out manually by the machine operator. Although approaches exist for series production that prefer to design and set up robot-supported production processes offline in the planning phase, these cannot be efficiently implemented for small series due to the variance and the lack of personnel resources in SMEs. In addition, the pure offline approach does not allow any subsequent (online) adaptation of robot programs due to the lack of suitable interaction interfaces. The acquisition of automation solutions is associated with a high investment risk, as refinancing through orders with small quantities is usually difficult. For this reason, it is imperative to develop automation solutions that cover all workpieces and reduce the strategic dependence on individual orders.

The objective of the "FlexARob" research project is to be able to compensate for short-term personnel bottlenecks more easily through temporary automation and to integrate robot processes into offline CAD/CAM/NC planning without machine model availability. For this purpose, first a rough planning of the automated production process takes place, in order to program automated production plants afterwards. Flexible workpiece interfaces are also developed - with special requirements for handling and repeated positioning - as well as IT interfaces for the relevant control systems.