Minimization of uncertainties in shop-floor oriented machine tool automation by flexible robot support (FlexARob²)

Key Info

Basic Information

01.01.2020 to 31.12.2021
Organizational Unit:
Chair of Machine Tools, Automation and Control
German Federation of Industrial Research Associations AiF

Research partner

    • Forschungsvereinigung Programmiersprachen für Fertigungseinrichtungen e.V.
    • Basler
    • CAMAIX GmbH
    • DTG
    • EXAPT
    • Festo
    • Heinen Automation
    • IFT
    • MATRIX Automations
    • ModuleWorks
    • Müller Maschinentechnik
    • Neugart
    • PH Mechanik
    • Saint-Gobain
    • Skrobanek
    • Springer Presswerk- und Rohbau-Automation
    • THH Drehteile



Philipp Blanke



+49 241 80 28233



Machining processes of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) today have no or only a low degree of automation. For this reason, machine loading is currently done mostly manually by the machine operator. In the course of the preceding research project "FlexARob", an approach for automated machine loading was developed and a plug&produce-capable mobile demonstrator, consisting of a collaborative robot and several gripping and clamping systems, was developed, which can be programmed via a uniform software interface. For the programming of the sequences, the information was derived from the CAD data of the workpieces and processed, so that the commissioning was also possible for a worker without knowledge of robot programming.

Based on the findings and feedback from operators, the focus in the follow-up project will now be laid on the following three main topics:

  • Collision avoidance and optimization of the process sequence
  • Accelerated commissioning
  • Gripping of parts

Collision risks are, for example, changing environments or a displacement of the demonstrator in front of the machine. In addition, the environment within the machine tool with variably positionable axes, spindle and clamping table is very complex and a costly machine model is usually not available in SMEs, so that path planning based on a dynamically generated 3D map is aimed for.

Furthermore, the programming of the individual sequences is very time-consuming and error-prone. The derivation of gripper fingers and the use of position markers should enable an accelerated commissioning. For example, existing sequences should be easier to reuse.

Above this, raw parts are often stored unordered in boxes, which is why the existing CAD-CAM chain is to be extended to enable automated gripping of components, taking into account quality-relevant areas or functional surfaces