Industries

Laser-based worker assistance for the Industrie 4.0

ZeMA in Saarbrücken demonstrates how LAP laser projectors are simplifying assembly processes

The assistance system controls a CAD-PRO laser projector, which is mounted on a surface with freely movable small load carriers above the workstation.

With "Pick-by-Laser," the worker thus receives a signal, independent of the position of the container, indicating which small parts are to be used in specific assembly tasks. Source: ZeMA - Zentrum für Mechatronik und Automatisierungstechnik gemeinnützige GmbH

Digital assistance systems can make an important contribution to providing support for 'Industrie 4.0' production staff. With LAP as an innovation partner, engineers from the Center for Mechatronics and Automation Technology [Zentrum für Mechatronik und Automatisierungstechnik – ZeMA] in Saarbrücken are developing application scenarios in which the laser specialist's laser projection systems provide workers with smart support when performing assembly activities and facilitate working processes.

"In the Industie 4.0, human work still remains an important part of the production process. Laser-based assistance systems can provide the worker with smart and qualified support, for example, in the assembly of complex components," explains Ralf Müller-Polyzou, Head of Marketing and Product Management at LAP GmbH. LAP's laser projection systems are fully digital. They project exact lines on 2D or 3D objects. The laser lines provide a visual aid for the exact positioning of components during the production process, ensure the correct material withdrawal from components by Pick-by-Laser, or show their correct fitting position.

Laser projectors save valuable time when performing positioning tasks

As part of the IProGro research project (development of innovative production technologies for large components), a new process has been developed at ZeMA for several possible applications of laser projection systems. This allows the position of various mechatronic components to be quickly aligned between simulation and reality. Alignment is performed using two CAD-PRO laser projectors from LAP: The position of the mechatronic equipment is first planned in the simulation, and then visually displayed by means of the laser projectors to support the worker during the assembly process. To make this possible, the LAP CAD-PRO laser projectors project the respective positions onto the work surface, along with the orientation of the components. Using the laser lines, the worker is able to see where he should position the components. To save time during this step in the work process, the worker only has to roughly position the equipment at first. In the next step, the mechatronic components are automatically measured with the laser projectors, and the acquired data is sent back to the simulation. In this way, the simulation can be adapted to reality using the data received.

The correct component in the right fitting position

Within the framework of the SmartF-IT research project, an assistance system has been developed to help with the material withdrawal during assembly. The assistance system hereby controls a CAD-PRO laser projector, which is mounted on a surface with freely movable small load carriers above the workstation. The laser beams indicate, from which small load carrier the component is to be withdrawn. With "Pick-by-Laser," the worker thus receives a signal, independent of the position of the container, indicating which small parts are to be used in specific assembly tasks. In addition to providing support with the correct picking of components, the latest research project, NeWiP (Neue Wege der informationsgeführten Produktion [New ways in information-guided production]) has made use of the laser projection system to show employees the exact fitting position for the component.

The advantages are clear: By means of clear optical indication by laser, the worker is safely guided through the process and can also react quickly to revised work plans. This allows faster workflow processes with less errors. And that leads finally to high process reliability and quality control in the production process.

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    Dunja Kandel

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