June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.25.1 - 12.25.7
A Cost Effective Automation & Robotics Lab
Much work has been published in the area of design of laboratory exercises and facilities to support teaching robotics and automation. New opportunities are becoming available, however, to allow laboratory facilities that are portable, have applications to a wide range of subjects, and are inexpensive.
A large software manufacturer has recently entered the robotics software arena with a unique approach. They are supporting small hobby class robots as well as larger industrial units. This provides an opportunity to build small robot models that may easily be scaled to large industrial systems. This paper describes the construction of small 6 axis robot manipulators and the development of lecture and laboratory components to capitalize on them. Materials were developed in the areas of kinematics, dynamics, control and interfacing with work cells, integration with industrial controls, and programming. Development of industrial scale systems using the same software architecture is also addressed.
Introduction This paper describes an approach to teaching a robotics and automation course in an undergraduate engineering curriculum.
Traditionally the undergraduate course in robotics is organized in one of two forms. These are; • Kinematics of manipulators • Programming and system integration of robots Typically ABET EAC engineering programs focus on the kinematics, and ABET TAC engineering technology programs focus on system integration and programming. Both typically include some material on characterizing robots by their work envelope, i.e., cylindrical, rectangular coordinate, etc.
Both of these approaches are valid for undergraduate engineering students, but it is difficult to fit all of the material in a one semester course, much less a one quarter course. Since these courses are generally elective courses, it is very difficult to fit a two course sequence into most programs.
The approach at Oregon Institute of Technology has been to offer a senior level course which examines the selection and programming of robots as well as the selection and design of the material handling and fixed automation devices that comprise an automated work cell. One of the problems with this approach is that student do not get to spend much time on the design of the fixed automation pieces. These design parameters are similar to that of the robot, so if additional attention is spent in this area it would serve two purposes.
A problem with this approach is that industrial robots are expensive, and much of the detailed design data on the robot is held as company proprietary. Allowing student to disassemble and examine the structure of a robot costing $15,000 to $20,000 did not seem to be a good approach, particularly when you would need multiple robots to accommodate a lab section of 15 students.
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