Flexiv Brings Profound Value to Customers in The Automotive Industry by Diverse Applications
With the rise of new energy vehicles and the rapid development of automotive intelligence, more and more car companies are accelerating technological innovation and automation transformation. In line with this trend, Flexiv actively explores the needs of the whole industry based on adaptive robots. Various automation solutions are created in scenarios such as grinding, tightening, precision assembly, testing, and automatic charging. In this article, you can find six typical Flexiv automotive applications, which bring profound value to customers within the travel ecosystem through adaptive robotic technology and delicate solution design.
Car Welding Debris Removal
Welding is a common process in car manufacturing, which often causes varying degrees of defects to the surface of parts, such as welding spatter, weld spots, and weld seams, bringing a significant impact on subsequent assembly and painting processes. The customer in this case, a leading new energy vehicle(NEV) company, is using manual labor with electric tools to handle post-welding defects and facing challenges in product yield, efficiency, and cost control.
Car Body Spatter Grinding
Flexiv created a body spatter grinding solution for the customer using the high-payload adaptive robot Rizon 10 equipped with an electric grinding tool. This solution achieves real-time fitting of complex surfaces, compensates for trajectory or workpiece precision errors, and effectively ensures grinding quality.
Chassis Welding Spot Grinding
The chassis welding spot grinding solution brought by Flexiv does not require visual assistance and can confirm the position and grinding amount of base material by force-control probing, then it grinds the protruding welding spots to be flush with the base material.
The high-precision active force control and surface fitting capacities of the adaptive robot enable it to handle large surfaces and multiple turning angles, ensuring superior production quality.
Based on profound research and experience, Flexiv decodes complex grinding/polishing techniques into simple elemental robotic operations (Primitives), lowering the threshold for use.
Mature techniques with high quality
A single weld slag removal rate of over 99% can be achieved, and the results are highly consistent.
In combination with the graphical programming system Flexiv Elements and the grinding primitive toolkit, the solution is simple enough to be deployed in 10-15 days.
Lean and Cost-effective
No need for additional floating grinding heads or force control systems, the solution has lower equipment wear and maintenance costs than those of manual work.
Flexible and Versatile
The solution can meet the needs of mixed-line production of multiple products and be quickly developed for different grinding/polishing processes.
Robotic Adhesive Primer Application
Adhesive primer is commonly employed in the pre-treating process of car window installation to maximize the bond between the glue and substrates. Primers are often made from volatile solvents, which are potentially harmful to human health. Despite this, most automotive priming processes are currently performed manually, bringing problems of unstable trajectories and inconsistent quality at the same time.
Flexiv's automotive adhesive primer application features high flexibility, great yield rate, and fast deployment, effectively solving the pain points of high labor turnover and recruitment costs and assisting the customer's automation transformation.
With a 0.1N force sensing accuracy and a 1KHz high-response control frequency, the solution ensures constant contact pressure while working.
Based on an advanced active force control strategy, the robot end follows and fits the work surface in real time, tolerating complex curvatures and position errors.
Consistent and Delicate
The solution can stably handle workpieces of different shapes and surfaces and cope with position errors, ensuring trajectory continuity and completeness and qualified centerline position. The yield rate can reach 99% or more.
No need for a large amount of non-standard tool investment, the solution can adapt to different workpieces such as triangular window glass, front, and rear windshield glass, car frames, etc., and the product changeover is effective in time and cost.
Users can create trajectories easily by drag-and-drop teaching with Flexiv Elements and embedded software packages, thus, deployment can be realized within a week.
Safe and Reliable
The adaptive robot Rizon 4 is dual-certified by CE & ETL, and can work with humans safely or be deployed in a fully automated production line.
Automotive Steering Column Calibration
New types of automotive steering columns (including wiper control systems) applying Hall sensors need to calibrate the shift level system to ensure the gear lever's user experience consistency. By using external equipment to map the gear lever's mechanical position to the Hall sensor's induction signal, force calibration can be completed.
Based on the adaptive robot Rizon 4s and the development toolkit RDK, Flexiv has created a steering column handle calibration system. While the robot performs a high-precision trajectory, it records the robot's end position and force data in real time, synchronizes them through SPI, and stores all data as a file. This solution can ensure real-time control, detection, data management, and other tasks throughout the process.
The high-performance robot control system combined with precise and reliable force/torque sensors can achieve high-frequency, high-precision data collection.
The development toolkit Flexiv RDK provided by Flexiv for robot developers can meet the needs of real-time data synchronization and comparison mapping.
Real-time and Precise Data
The adaptive robot's force-sensing accuracy of 0.03N and a response frequency of 1kHz enable diverse mechanical testings which require high precision and multi-dimensional force measurement.
The solution supports graphical programming and drag-and-drop robot teaching, making the deployment and object changeover more efficient, and it's easy to be transferred into other force testing applications.
Safe Robot-human Cooperation
CE and ETL certified adaptive robots can ensure the safety of human-robot cooperation to realize flexible deployment.
Automated Flexible Printed Circuit Insertion
The assembly automation of flexible printed circuits (FPC) is one of the key difficulties in the industry. FPC is often small, soft, and deformable, making its grasping, insertion, and assembly challenging for traditional position-based robotic solutions. Most FPC tasks are completed using expensive and error-prone manual labor. Based on adaptive robots, Flexiv has created an FPC assembly automation solution, achieving a breakthrough in this process automation.
The adaptive robot's high-precision force sensing capability combined with a real-time machine response frequency of 1kHz ensures a stable, high-yield assembly effect.
High real-time visual servo technology is applied to adapt to the incoming material status.
The patented end-of-arm tool also works to solve the pain points of FPC grasping.
Adaptive & Flexible
By leveraging force control capability and visual servo technology, Rizon can tolerate various position errors, and monitor and adjust the motion/force performance during the whole process, effectively avoiding workpiece damage.
Efficient & Consistent
With simultaneous visual and force guidance, the robot can accommodate variations in the size, shape, and status of workpieces, increasing the assembly success rate and overall efficiency.
Universal & Expandable
Leveraging Rizon's force control capacity, Flexiv's FPC solution can easily adapt to different FPC types and insertion techniques.
Power Battery Pack Assembly
The power battery cover of new energy vehicles is generally made of metal or composite materials, which are large in size, light in material, and deformable. Besides, due to a large number(60-80) and the common quality inconsistency of through holes, it's difficult for traditional assembly solutions to solve the millimeter-level position error between the cover holes and lower screw holes. Therefore, cover installation and fastening still rely on manual work, bringing problems such as high work intensity, high NG rate, and uncontrollable quality.
Utilizing two independently controlled Rizon 10 robots in simultaneous operation mode and Flexiv’s indentation detection algorithms, both arms work together to install the battery pack cover like humans. Once the cover is correctly aligned, the battery pack is transported to the automated screw fastening station, operated by two other Rizon 4 robots.
Based on Flexiv's innovative dual-arm cooperative hole search technology, which combines advanced force/motion hybrid control and compliance control, the main arm actively searches the hole, and the subordinate arm follows it flexibly, completing multi-directional pin-hole alignment. The alignment accuracy can reach 0.4-0.6mm.
Through several force-control-based techniques like hole searching, screw inserting status sensing, screw direction guidance, etc., the screw fastening process can highly tolerate workpiece position errors.
No manual participation is needed during the whole process, reducing the negative impact of human instability on production.
Great Success Rate
With advanced force control technology, the solution can adapt to position and pose error, lowering the NG rate while the success rate can reach 99%.
Effective Space Utilization
The solution combines previous installation and screw fastening workstations, reducing the required operational space by 50%.
The intuitive human-robot interaction and fast deployment features of an adaptive robot make it compatible with similar products and tasks in the new-energy vehicle assembly.
Charging Solution for Electric Vehicles
With the rapid adoption of electric cars, parking lots are increasingly looking to offer car charging solutions to their customers. Installing a dedicated car charger per parking space is often impossible or cost-prohibitive though. Flexiv developed a solution to this problem by mounting an adaptive robot to a mobile platform that can navigate the car park and automatically insert the charging connector in the car charging port.
Equipped with seven degrees of freedom and whole-body control capability, the adaptive robot can demonstrate a highly flexible human-inspired control strategy.
The robot's force control ability with fast response and high accuracy ensures precise grasping and fine plugging and unplugging.
A reliable and adaptable AI vision algorithm provides exceptional tolerance to lighting changes with non-expensive cameras, and secondary camera angles are automatically adjusted to enhance object recognition accuracy.
Safe and realiable
Leveraging high-precision force control and inbuilt safety features, Flexiv’s automatic charging solution guarantees the safety of personnel, vehicles, and charging devices during the charging process.
Compliant and damage-avoding
A human-inspired approach to object manipulation, supported by multiple force control strategies and compliance control, enables the charging solution to eliminate port damage caused by posture, position, trajectory accuracy, and other variables.
Flexible to be multi-used
An adaptive robot can adapt itself to any make and model of the electric car, which means that the robot can complete the charging task regardless of body styling, port location, or charging port height.