Research Papers

“Adult” Robot Enabled Learning Process in High Precision Assembly Automation

[+] Author and Article Information
Hongtai Cheng

Institute of Mechatronics Engineering,
Department of Mechanical
Engineering and Automation,
Northeastern University,
3-11 Wenhua Road,
Heping District, Shenyang,
Liaoning 110819, China
e-mail: chenght@me.neu.edu.cn

Heping Chen

Robotics Laboratory,
Ingram School of Engineering,
Texas State University San Marcos,
601 University Dr.,
San Marcos, TX 78666
e-mail: hc15@txstate.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received February 5, 2013; final manuscript received November 18, 2013; published online January 16, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Xiaoping Qian.

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 136(2), 021011 (Jan 16, 2014) (10 pages) Paper No: MANU-13-1047; doi: 10.1115/1.4026084 History: Received February 05, 2013; Revised November 18, 2013

Typical robot teaching performed by operators in industrial robot applications increases the operational cost and reduces the manufacturing efficiency. In this paper, an “adult” robot enabled learning method is proposed to solve such teaching problem. This method uses an “adult” robot with advanced sensing and decision-making capabilities to teach “child” robots in manufacturing automation. A Markov Decision Process (MDP) which aims to correct the “child” robot's tool position is formulated and solved using Q-Learning. The proposed algorithm was tested using a mobile robot platform with an in-hand camera (adult) to teach an industrial robot (child) to perform a high accuracy peg-in-hole process. The experimental results demonstrate very robust and stable performance. Because the calibration between the “adult” and “child” robots is eliminated, the flexibility of the proposed method is greatly increased. Hence it can be easily applied in industrial applications where a robot with limited sensing capabilities is installed.

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Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Conceived scenes of using one mobile robot to teach a group of robots in a production line. The mobile robot holding a camera is a teacher. When a stationary robot needs help, it moves there and performs a teaching task

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Fig. 2

Structure of the proposed single 2D camera based robot teaching method

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Fig. 3

The View Cone concept. The view cone is a cone connecting the camera origin to the target. Objects in the cone will block the target

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Fig. 4

Coordinate projection from the robot tool coordinate frame, target coordinate frame to the image 2D coordinate frame. Ch and Ct are the target and robot tool coordinate frame. ch and ct are the projected target and robot tool coordinate frame

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Fig. 5

View Cone Block Modeling. The projected tool can be described by its blocking property and the gap pixels

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Fig. 6

Flow chart of robot training process

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Fig. 7

Flow chart of the robot teaching system. Several subtasks are integrated together to accomplish the robot teaching task

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Fig. 8

The platform for automatic robot teaching with camera-in-mobile configuration. The “child” robot performs a high precision assembly task

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Fig. 9

Captured image from the camera. It is a 2D image with no depth information. The goal is to insert the peg into the second hole

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Fig. 10

Sample points of the initial robot tool positions. They cover the range of ±10 mm around the real hole location

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Fig. 11

Snapshot of the experiments. In the last figure, the tool has been inserted into the hole

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Fig. 12

The recorded robot tool trajectories starting from three different positions

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Fig. 13

Distribution of the final robot tool location (the robot tool coordinates when the robot teaching process ends) with Δxh = 0.5 mm,Δyh = 0.5 mm,Δz = 0.5 mm. They fall in the range of ±0.3 mm

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Fig. 14

Distribution of the final robot tool location (the robot tool coordinates when the robot teaching process ends) with Δxh = 0.25 mm,Δyh = 0.25 mm,Δz = 0.25 mm. They fall in the range of ±0.3 mm




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