Symposium on Automated and Robotized Remanufacturing

On March 20 and 21, 2019, the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld will host a conference on automated and robotized remanufacturing:

"Symposium on automated and robotized remanufacturing" (see flyer).

In industrial remanufacturing, particularly in the automotive sector, old products are very successfully collected, dismantled, tested, cleaned, processed and re-assembled. The aim of the conference is to present the latest developments in the fields of automation and robotics in lectures and exhibits. An accompanying exhibition will also present collaborative robotics.

Interesting lectures from industry and research have already been confirmed for the event.

Abstract of Presentations

Introduction to Remanufacturing (by F. Weiland)
Fernand Weiland

Fernand J. Weiland will give a general overview on the remanufacturing industrial processes and the market for remanufactured components and equipment. He will highlight the different sectors like Automotive, Information Technology, Industrial Machinery, Aviation and Health Care. Fernand will also focus on the challenges which the industry is facing and discuss opportunities to grow the environment friendly business of Remanufacturing.

Robotic assistants for remanufacturing processes- state of the art and outlook (by W. Gerke)
Wolfgang Gerke

The cooperation and collaboration of humans with robots, short human-robot collaboration,  is advertised by robot-suppliers and shown in exhibitions. Human Robot collaboration systems have to be designed properly in order to achieve a more efficient remanufacturing system for small batches. The pros and cons of robotic assistants in remanufacturing will be discussed with a look ahead in the future.

Automation of Disassembly and/or Cleaning: Challenges and First Solutions (by R. Steinhilper, S. Schötz & S. Thäter)
Rolf Steinhilper

This contribution by three Reman R&D-experts from Bayreuth University will present a survey from pioneering robotized disassembly developments in the 1980s until today’s findings regarding suitable applications of automation and/or robotization of various remanufacturing processes, covering a range from handling tasks up to information and quality control operations.

Digitalising Remanufacturing - some initial efforts (by D. Pham)

Remanufacturing benefits the economy, society and the environment.  It is therefore worth focusing efforts on remanufacturing to make it more widely practised.  However, this has not happened due to challenges such as supply, demand and operational uncertainties coupled with high product variety and low production volumes.  Digital manufacturing technologies have been developed to overcome such challenges in manufacturing. It is timely to consider using digital manufacturing technologies in remanufacturing in order to address the same issues.  In this presentation, we will briefly review the issues addressed and some of the tools available that could be adopted to digitalise remanufacturing.  We will also report on initial efforts in our Autonomous Remanufacturing Laboratory directed at one particular digital technology - collaborative robots - and its application to disassembly which is the first stage in most remanufacturing chains.  We will discuss human-robot collaboration as a means to deal with uncertainties and, at the same time, achieve the flexibility needed to cater for high variety and low production volumes.

Autonomous Remanufacture of Complex Products (by I. Briggs)

The aims of the Autonomous Remanufacture of Complex Products (ARCP) collaborative R&D project is to study and analyse the technical, operational and commercial feasibilities of using Autonomous Robotic Systems to provide flexible, responsive and quality-guaranteed remanufacturing services to a wide range of industrial sectors engaging in low volume/high variety remanufacture of complex bill-of-material products. ARCP is co-funded by UK government body Innovate UK along with 4 project collaborators, i.e. Remanufacturers’ MCT ReMan Limited (MCT) and Reco Turbo Limited (RTL); Autonomous & Robot Systems Developers’ and Integrators’ Homeodynamic Autonomy Limited (HAL); Circular Economy Analyst Oakdene Hollins Ltd (OHL); University of Birmingham (UoB) who undertake disassembly R&D using collaborative robots.

Sustainable modelling of robotic disassembly processes for remanufacturing (by F. Javier Ramirez)

Disassembly process is a critical and inevitable step in the recovery process of EoL products due to the components to be remanufactured must be previously disas- sembled. Disassembly Sequence Planning (DSP) is the part of the disassembly process focused on designing a detailed disassembly plan for removing specific components or sub-assemblies from a whole product or assembly. Disassembly emerges as a key issue in the success of remanufacturing as a recovery option due to the high costs associated with this process. Traditionally, and due to its complexity, disassembly process was usually conducted by humans. However, there is currently growing interest in automatic and robotic disassembly on accounting of its undeniable advantages in process efficiency and lower costs. In this research, a novel model to design the robotic disassembly process of EoL products is presented. An optimization decision-making model is designed to find the near optimal solution that best achieves the economic and environmental performance of the process, obtaining, at the same time, the optimal disassembly level, the disassembly sequence planning, and the selection of the best option to recover the components, in a robotic disassembly process framework. The model is able to assist the robotic cell to planning and re-planning in real time the disassembly sequence operations, making decisions on the optimal disassembly process “stopping point”, the disassembly sequence and the best recovery option for the components. Case studies based on the disassembly processes of water pump and gear pump are tested. Results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed model, providing a new tool to improve the recovery of components for remanufacturing.

Elevate Remanufacturing by Innovation and Automation (by F. Weiland)
Fernand Weiland

In our economies the most important driver is Innovation which will lead to higher performances and greater achievements. In order to take remanufacturing to the next level, members of the Circular Economy together with Remanufacturers must follow these premises. Fernand will show recent developments in terms of innovations in automotive and non-automotive areas. He will also cover latest reman projects for automation which will create, greater efficiencies, better working environments, consistent high quality and higher production volumes.

Human / Robot Cooperation with Standard and Collaborative Robots (by N. Ramsden)
Nigel Ramsden

Mr Nigel Ramsden of Fanuc Europe Corporation will give an introduction to the risk assessment for human/robot cooperation and discuss matching of robot safety features to risk level. He will propose examples of human robot cooperation with standard robots and with collaborative robots.

Challenges and Outlook in the remanufacturing of automotive Li-Ion Batteries (by F. Maltoni)
Francesco Maltoni

Automotive Lithium-Ion batteries are made by very highly valuable battery cells, which age at still different unpredictable rates, therefore a large number of cells has still a potentially long life when the batteries are disposed. The salvaging of still functioning cells from disposed batteries, would allow to tap into the vast future supply of still functioning cells, which have been proven to age slowly at a fraction of the cost; nevertheless it poses some challenges for an industrially effective remanufacturing.

First of all, the process differs from standard remanufacturing, because a battery does not have a single core and many periphery components, but each cell is to be considered a core, classified and repurposed according to its aging characteristics. Secondly the joining technologies in cells contacts have evolved for very short station times and permanent joints, so remanufacturing-friendly solutions must be found, where connection safety and station times are even more important. Overarching these challenges is the safety challenge, both during the use of remanufactured batteries, and during the remanufacturing operation itself, where errors can be specially unforgiving because of the dangerous nature of cell chemistry.

Robotized Solutions (by T. Jasink)
Thijs Jasink

What solutions and challenges are to be found when it comes to the remanufacture of electronic components?

Implementation of Robotics and Automation offer advantages and new solutions for the remanufacturing industry. Gain insight and knowledge, and share views  during  a pro-/inter active presentation.


Possible applications of assistance systems for increasing flexibility and efficiency in the assembly process (by M. Vette-Steinkamp)
Matthias Vette-Steinkamp

As part of the TRSE (semi-automated robot welding for single item production), 4by3 (Modularity, Safety, Usability, Efficiency by Human-Robot-Collaboration) and Robotix Academy research projects, ZeMA uses new process technologies, planning tools, and appropriate equipment in order to enable efficient and customizable automation for various production processes. One solution for the flexible and skill-based automation of processes is Human-Robot-Cooperation (HRC). HRC is an approach which allows the operator and robot to work together in an overlapping work space without separation devices. The proposed automation concept seeks to support the operator in the assembly production process with an HRC robot system in the planning, (re-) configuration as well as in the operation phase.

Development of an intelligent robotsupported assistance system for non-destructive dismantling (by J. Jungbluth)
Jan Jungbluth

One key to successful and fluent human-robot collaboration in disassembly processes is equipping the robot systems with greater autonomy and intelligence. In presentation, recent progress in developing such an intelligent robot assistant system is shown. The multi-agent control architecture developed is presented and its technical implementation discribed. The control approach relies on two types of knowledge models: product and process models. The product model describes the structure of the product to be dismantled through a description of the parts involved and the connections between them. A connection type-related process model describes which agents and objects participate in the disassembly process and which methods of human-robot cooperation or collaboration are most useful. When supplied with a product model and a goal definition, the robotic assistant can automatically generate a partially ordered disassembly task sequence. For each disassembly task, the user can choose one of the divisions of labor defined in the process model. Using the process model, through perception and deliberation, the control system can both execute actions and coordinate and synchronize the actions of human and machine. This approach allows the system to be more autonomous when providing assistance to human coworkers in complex and one-piece disassembly processes.

The power of digital manufacturing and robotics to revolutionise traditional reman processes (by M. Hague-Morgan)
Mike Hague-Morgan

Remanufacturing has traditionally been based on manual processes relying on the excellent skills and experience of our employees. As a result remanufacturers usually have highly flexible processes which suit our lower volumes. However, it usually comes at the expense of higher labour costs per part and increased quality checks compared to a new OEM part; because even the best human will make an occasional mistake.  Digital manufacturing and modern robotics can be integrated into our traditional reman processes to give us similar levels of productivity and quality control as a high volume OEM assembly. Mike will share some of Autocraft’s experience and successes with both digital manufacturing and robotics. In doing so he will try to persuade others in our industry to embrace these modern manufacturing techniques so that the wider reman industry can also benefit.

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