GB2225132A - "Robot systems" - Google Patents

"Robot systems" Download PDF

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Publication number
GB2225132A
GB2225132A GB8922320A GB8922320A GB2225132A GB 2225132 A GB2225132 A GB 2225132A GB 8922320 A GB8922320 A GB 8922320A GB 8922320 A GB8922320 A GB 8922320A GB 2225132 A GB2225132 A GB 2225132A
Authority
GB
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
robot
gt
lt
rti
members
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Granted
Application number
GB8922320A
Other versions
GB2225132B (en )
GB8922320D0 (en )
Inventor
Bashir Laheria
Derek Jonathan Robinson
Current Assignee (The listed assignees may be inaccurate. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the list.)
GE Power Conversion Brazil Holdings Ltd
Original Assignee
GE Power Conversion Brazil Holdings Ltd
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

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Classifications

    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B25HAND TOOLS; PORTABLE POWER-DRIVEN TOOLS; MANIPULATORS
    • B25JMANIPULATORS; CHAMBERS PROVIDED WITH MANIPULATION DEVICES
    • B25J9/00Programme-controlled manipulators
    • B25J9/16Programme controls
    • B25J9/1674Programme controls characterised by safety, monitoring, diagnostic
    • B25J9/1676Avoiding collision or forbidden zones
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B2219/00Program-control systems
    • G05B2219/30Nc systems
    • G05B2219/40Robotics, robotics mapping to robotics vision
    • G05B2219/40306Two or more independent robots
    • GPHYSICS
    • G05CONTROLLING; REGULATING
    • G05BCONTROL OR REGULATING SYSTEMS IN GENERAL; FUNCTIONAL ELEMENTS OF SUCH SYSTEMS; MONITORING OR TESTING ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SYSTEMS OR ELEMENTS
    • G05B2219/00Program-control systems
    • G05B2219/30Nc systems
    • G05B2219/49Nc machine tool, till multiple
    • G05B2219/49143Obstacle, collision avoiding control, move so that no collision occurs

Abstract

A robot system, for use, for example, in a garment manufacturing process, comprises one or more robots (1-4) and one or more fabric manipulators (8, 9), any of which may have overlapping zones of operation (21, 23). In order to avoid collisions, the system controller (18) allocates a higher priority rating to a particular robot or manipulator in respect of entry into a zone overlap region (25), and operates a notional token exchange between the robots and manipulators so that entry into the overlap region can be effected by a robot or manipulator only if it has the token. <IMAGE>

Description

Robot <RTI>System</RTI> This invention relates to robot systems, and particularly to apparatus for controlling the operation of one or more robots.

Robots are commonly used for automatically carrying out operations, such as paint spraying and welding, where each robot is confined to its own zone of operation. However, there are certain types of manufacturing processes in which the robot operating zones <RTI>nust</RTI> overlap, or a robot operating zone <RTI>nust</RTI> overlap with an operating zone of another movable member, and steps <RTI>nust</RTI> then be taken to ensure that the robots or attachments thereto do not collide or that the robot does not collide with the other movable member.

It is an object of the present invention to <RTI>prosice</RTI> apparatus for preventing such collisions.

According to the invention there is provided a robot system comprising first and second movable members at least one of which is a robot, to each of which members is allocated a respective operating zone in which at least part of the member and any attachment to said part can move, there being at least one region at which the zones mutually overlap; and means to control the operation of the members, the control means including means to allocate a higher priority rating to one of said members than the other member in respect of entry into said <RTI>region,</RTI> and to operate a notional token <RTI>exchange</RTI> <RTI>between</RTI> <RTI>the</RTI> members <RTI>hereb</RTI> movement into the region can be effected by a <RTI>member</RTI> or attachment orly if that member has the notional token.

An embodiment of the invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawing, which is a schematic plan view of a robot system in accordance with the invention, for use in the automatic manufacture of garments.

Referring to the drawing, a robot system comprises a number of robots, such as robots 1-4, which are used to move shaped pieces of fabric <RTI>("cut</RTI> parts") round on a work table 5 in the manufacture of garments. The cut parts have to be moved into position at work stations, such as manipulators and sewing machines, for a sequence of folding, overlaying and sewing operations to be performed. As an example, two sewing machines 6 and 7 and two manipulators 8 and 9 are shown, but any other combination of work stations may be involved.

The robots are preferably of the gantry type in which a robot is mounted to slide along a first overhead rail or pair of rails, which is mounted to slide along a second overhead rail or pair of rails, orthogonal to the first rail or rails, so that the robot can be moved in x and y directions relative to the table. The output shaft of the robot is substantially vertical and is aranged for upward and downward movement (z motion) and rotations <RTI>(6</RTI> motion) about its vertical axis. For the sake of clarity of the drawing, the overhead rails are not shown.

The movement of a cut part is effected by a <RTI>"gripper",</RTI> such as the grippers 10-13, which is mounted on the output shaft of the robot, and which makes contact with the upper surface of the cut part, so that movement of the robot causes the cut part to slide or the table to the required position.

Each robot 1-4 is controlled by its respective controller 14-17, but the overall control of the robots is effected by <RTI>a</RTI> system controller 18, in accordance with a process control <RTI>program</RTI> and <RTI>tasking</RTI> into account indications from devices (not shown) which <RTI>monitcr</RTI> the progress of the manufacturing operations.

Let us assume that a cut part 19, which has been taken from a stack <RTI>2Q</RTI> and has been placed on the table 5 by a ply separator and feeder 26, has firstly to be bound at its edges. The syster controller 18 causes the robot controller 15 to move its <RTI>robot</RTI> 2 into position <RTI>ormer</RTI> the <RTI>ctit</RTI> part and to lower its gripper 11 <RTI>accurately</RTI> into position on the cut part. The robot then moves the cut part to the sewing machine and adjusts the position and orientation of the cut part while it is being fed through the sewing machine. The edges of the cut part are thereby bound. A waistband may also be attached to the cut part at that stage.The robot 2 then has to move the cut part away from the sewing machine, so that the next process step can be carried out, for example folding of the cut part by the manipulator 8. The robot 2 therefore moves the cut part across the table 5 to a position where the gripper 10 of the robot 1 can be lowered on to the cut part and can feed the cut part to the manipulator. Subsequently, the robot 3 extracts the folded cut part from the manipulator 8 and feeds it to the sewing machine 7, which sews the side seams. The robot 3 may then move the cut part across the table to a position where the robot 4 takes over movement of the cut part, for example for feeding it to the manipulator 9.

It will be apparent that the robot must have a zone of operation 21 <RTI>which</RTI> is indicated by a chain <RTI>Qotted</RTI> line 22, and that the robot 2 must have a zone of operation <RTI>23,</RTI> which is indicated by a dotted line 24. Clearly, these zones must overlap, so that the cut part can be passed from one robot to the other. The region of overlap 25 is indicated by hatching. The boundary of <RTI>each</RTI> zone, and hence the region of overlap, nust take into account the extremities of the robot movement, which will probably be determined by the size and shape of the gripper.

Similarly, the zone of operation of the robot 3 must extend past the manipulator 8, in order for the robot to be able to extract cut parts from the manipulator. There will therefore be a region of overlap between the operating zones of the robots 1 and 3.

Furthermore, it will be apparent that the operating zones of tre robots 3 and 4 will partially overlap.

<RTI>The</RTI> manipulators 8 and 9 will also have moving parts and so will have a zone of operation. Tne zone of operation of the manipulator <RTI>8,</RTI> for example, will overlap with the zones of operation of the robots 1 and 3.

Clearly, the robot 1 or its gripper 10 must not enter the region 25 if the robot 2 or its gripper 11 is already there, and vice versa, or there will almost certainly be a collison. Similarly, the robots 1 and 3 or their grippers 10 and 12, respectively, must not enter the zone of operation of the manipulator 8 while it is operating or about to operate, and similarly the manipulator must not operate while either of the robots or grippers is in its region. To add to the problem, it may be necessary to pass cut parts from the sewing machine 10 to the sewing machine 9, which would involve overlapping of the operating zones of the robots 2 and 4.

If a number of different garments, or different sizes of the same garment, are to be made by the plant, a range of grippers of different sizes and shapes will have to be accommodated by each robot.

This means that the size and shape of the operating zone of each robot (and hence of the region of overlap) will not be permanently fixed, but will have to be <RTI>redetermined</RTI> for each gripper configuration.

In order to avoid collisions, a number of steps are taken by the system controller 18, in accordance with its software. Firstly, the sequence of the manufacturing processes which are required to make a particular type of garment is quite clearly defined. Hence, the system controller can allocate priorities to the various robots and manipulators. Then, the controller 18 allocates a "token" to a first robot or manipulator which is to be allowed to move, the token being passed to a second, potentially colliding, robot or manipulator only when the first robot or manipulator has finished its operation and has retracted outside the region of overlap. When the second robot or manipulator has operated and has retracted outside the overlap region, the token is passed back to the first robot or manipulator or is passed on to a third robot or manipulator, depending upon the operating sequence. Only one robot or manipulator can be allowed to operate within the overlap region at any one time.

Each robot and manipulator has its own required sequence of operations. When such device is required by its sequence to go into the region of overlap, it is inhibited from doing so until the correct point in the overlap region sequence is reached. Hence, <RTI>or</RTI> <RTI>wrcn</RTI> the previous operation is completed and the region is clear, the next step in the overlap region sequence is enabled and the corresponding robot or manipulator is allowed to proceed with its operational sequence.

The token will not be a physical token, but will be a notional token represented by a state in the control logic of the system controller, which will allow only the authorised robot or manipulator to move. The robot and manipulators are assigned tasks which require investigation of the status of logic states which have to be fulfilled before the task can be executed. In the operating procedure, when a task is to be executed, each state is checked and if the state is free a token is passed so that the task can proceed.

The status of the state then changes. No other operation of a robot or a manipulator can then take place until the state again becomes free by "return" of the token.

As well as operating the token system, the system controller monitors the movements of all of the robots and manipulators and stops their operation if, despite the token system, any of the devices come closer together than a predetermined distance.

In the control system of each individual robot an emergency stop will be initiated if a closed loop position control is not maintained at all times.

Claims (6)

1. A robot system comprising first and second movable members at least one of which is a robot, to each of which members is allocated a respective operating zone in which at least part of the member and any attachment to said part can move, there being at least one region at which the zones mutually overlap; and means to control the operation of the members, the control means including means to allocate a higher priority rating to one of said members than the other member in respect of entry into said region, and to operate a notional token exchange between the members whereby movement into the region can be effected by a member or attachment only if that member has the notional token.
2. A system as claimed in Claim 2, wherein the operating zone of either or both of said first and second members overlaps with an operating zone of a third member; and wherein the control means allocates a priority rating also to said third member and operates the notional token exchange also between that member and one or both of said first and second members.
3. A system as claimed in Claim 1 or Claim 2, wherein at least one of the members comprises a fabric manipulator.
4. A system as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein a said attachment comprises a gripper for moving a piece of fabric in a garment manufacturing process.
5. A robot system substantially as hereinbefore described with reference to the accompanying drawing.
6. Garment manufacturing apparatus including a robot system as claimed in any preceding claim.
GB8922320A 1988-10-04 1989-10-04 Robot systems Expired - Fee Related GB2225132B (en)

Priority Applications (1)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB8823216A GB8823216D0 (en) 1988-10-04 1988-10-04 Robot systems

Publications (3)

Publication Number Publication Date
GB8922320D0 GB8922320D0 (en) 1989-11-22
GB2225132A true true GB2225132A (en) 1990-05-23
GB2225132B GB2225132B (en) 1992-09-16

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Family Applications (2)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
GB8823216A Pending GB8823216D0 (en) 1988-10-04 1988-10-04 Robot systems
GB8922320A Expired - Fee Related GB2225132B (en) 1988-10-04 1989-10-04 Robot systems

Family Applications Before (1)

Application Number Title Priority Date Filing Date
GB8823216A Pending GB8823216D0 (en) 1988-10-04 1988-10-04 Robot systems

Country Status (1)

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GB (2) GB8823216D0 (en)

Cited By (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP0433522A1 (en) * 1987-10-26 1991-06-26 Megamation Incorporated Robotic system
FR2697192A1 (en) * 1992-10-27 1994-04-29 Heidelberger Druckmasch Ag Machine tool for machining by chip removal.
GB2354842A (en) * 1999-10-01 2001-04-04 Gpc Ag Preventing interference in 'pick and place' robot systems
US6658324B2 (en) 2000-09-29 2003-12-02 Gpc Biotech Ag Pick and place robot system

Cited By (5)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
EP0433522A1 (en) * 1987-10-26 1991-06-26 Megamation Incorporated Robotic system
FR2697192A1 (en) * 1992-10-27 1994-04-29 Heidelberger Druckmasch Ag Machine tool for machining by chip removal.
GB2354842A (en) * 1999-10-01 2001-04-04 Gpc Ag Preventing interference in 'pick and place' robot systems
GB2354842B (en) * 1999-10-01 2002-06-19 Gpc Ag Pick and place robot system
US6658324B2 (en) 2000-09-29 2003-12-02 Gpc Biotech Ag Pick and place robot system

Also Published As

Publication number Publication date Type
GB2225132B (en) 1992-09-16 grant
GB8823216D0 (en) 1988-11-09 grant
GB8922320D0 (en) 1989-11-22 grant

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Legal Events

Date Code Title Description
PCNP Patent ceased through non-payment of renewal fee

Effective date: 19971004