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Hannover Messe 2017

Bionic robot arm with CAN

At the fair, Festo presents its Bioniccobot based on the human arm not only in terms of its anatomical construction. Seven absolute CAN encoders are used in the robot arm.

The Bioniccobot (Photo: Festo)

The movement patterns of the Bioniccobot are modeled on those of the human arm, from the shoulder via the upper arm, elbow, radius, and ulna down to its gripping hand. Each of its seven joints makes use of the natural operating mechanism of the biceps and triceps – the efficient interplay of flexor and extensor muscles. It can thus execute very delicate movements, just like its biological model. Like the blood vessels and nerve fibers in the human body, the compressed air lines run safely inside the construction and thus cannot become bent. They supply the pneumatic rotary vane drives, which are located in the seven joints of the robot arm. Installed in each joint are also two pressure sensors and an absolute encoder with CAN for determining the positional data.

If compressed air is supplied to the air chambers in the drives, the rotary vanes move in a certain direction, which is transferred to the integrated bearing shafts. From the elbow downwards, all the lines down to the gripper are laid directly through the shafts. Special packing cartridges enable this rotary through-feed of up to six channels, of which two air lines ultimately supply the gripper. Depending on the task, different gripping systems can be connected to the Bioniccobot. All in all, the robot arm’s displacement encoder system comes with fourteen pressure sensors, seven absolute encoders with CAN for data transmission, as well as four CAN cables.

The movements of the Bioniccobot can be finely regulated so as to be either powerful and dynamic, or sensitive and readily yielding; the system therefore cannot endanger humans even in the case of a collision. This is made possible by the Festo Motion Terminal, a pneumatic automation platform that unites high-precision mechanics, sensors, and control and measuring technology within a small space.

Inside the Bioniccobot (Photo: Festo)

Depending on the task to be carried out, the robot can be fitted with different gripping systems. It is intuitively operated by means of a specially developed graphic user interface: the user can teach the Bioniccobot the actions to be performed and parameterize them. The defined work steps can then be transferred by drag-and-drop to a sequencer track for implementation in any desired order. The entire movement sequence is virtually depicted and simultaneously simulated. The interface between the tablet and the Festo Motion Terminal is the ROS (robot operating system) platform, on which the kinematic path planning is calculated. Based on the coordinates received, the Motion Terminal can use its internal algorithms to regulate the respective pressure in the air chambers and hence determine the position of the individual axes. The incoming sensor data from the seven joints is also channeled into the actions in real time. The company shows its products at the Hannover Messe 2017.


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