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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/T023805/1
Title: High-accuracy robotic system for precise object manipulation (AccuBot)
Principal Investigator: Branson III, Dr D T
Other Investigators:
Piano, Dr S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Labman Automation Ltd NuVision Ophthalmics Limited
Taraz Metrology
Department: Faculty of Engineering
Organisation: University of Nottingham
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 April 2020 Ends: 31 March 2023 Value (£): 672,068
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Control Engineering Manufact. Enterprise Ops& Mgmt
Robotics & Autonomy
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
04 Feb 2020 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 4 and 5 February 2020 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The use of industrial robots, specifically multi-axis robotic systems, for object handling and manipulation has significantly increased due to the need to reduce costs, increase production efficiency and avoid difficult and dangerous jobs for humans. Despite the important capabilities of robots, especially in manufacturing, and their use in many types of process automation, their accuracy is relatively poor (in the millimetre range for 1 m^3 working volume), compared to other Cartesian-based Numerically Controlled (NC) automation systems, due to their joint compliance and relatively high structural flexibility in comparison to load capacity. Because of these limitations, robots are restricted in their use for processes that require very high accuracy. Recently, collaborative robots, a special type of multi-axis industrial robot, that can be placed without a safety fence, have become a popular choice due to their flexibility, simplicity to re-program and ability to safely work collaboratively with humans in the same workplace. The joint compliance in these collaborative robots is even less rigid than traditional industrial robots due to the need to have responsive force sensing and coalition-reaction capabilities, further decreasing accuracy capabilities. Most collaborative robots are unable to achieve an absolute positioning accuracy within a 1 m^3 working volume of less than 2.5 mm, making their accuracy more than one order of magnitude higher than their resolution (0.1 mm). This low accuracy limits their utilisation, especially for collaborative robot, so that they are generally restricted to simple pick-and-place tasks. This project will increase by an order of magnitude the absolute positioning accuracy of industrial robots with multi-axis motion to less than 100 micrometres for working volumes exceeding 1 m^3. In this way we will enable precise object manipulation across many application areas.
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Organisation Website: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk