AREUS for sustainable robot automation

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AREUS looks for green robotics of tomorrow

Robot energy consumption hasn’t been a topic in robotics so far though it’s high relevance. In AREUS project for the first time the sustainable robotics focusing in robot energy consumption will be developed and demonstrated.  

Daimler, KUKA Roboter, Siemens, Danfoss, Delfoi, Engrotech, SIR, University of Modena (UNIMORE), Technical University of Denmark,  Chalmers University of Technology, and Riga Technical University is the consortium who has taken the challenge to introduce green robotics for the near future – for the first time. 

There are a number of different technologies which will be developed in the project. There are hardware related development tasks, as well as mathematical, physics based, control scientific, and software related development tasks. 

On hardware side the project focuses in developing technologies to improve the use of renewable energy sources in robotized production. One example is a new electrical power supply system based on direct current (DC). DC-based servomotors will dramatically reduce the energy consumption of robotized automation systems. New mathematical models and algorithms for energy consumption will be developed for controlling code generation and optimization. These will have effect both for a less-energy consuming robot arm manipulation as well as for robot cells with multiple cooperating robots. In a big picture Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)-based tools and algorithms will be developed for optimized material and workflow. Activity Based Costing and respective assessment will be linked with the flow of material, energy and waste.

Robot simulation and analyzes for energy consumption

Simulation will have a crucial role when validating and verifying the effect of mathematical models, controlling algorithms and software tools for energy consumption. The existing commercial simulation tools lack the ability to simulate and analyze energy consumption related variables and attributes. In AREUS the commercial simulation packages as well as more research oriented simulation software will be further developed to be able to cope for sustainability simulation and analysis.

Energy consumption of a robot system is dependent and relative to e.g. following factors:

  • mass of robot arm and masses of individual links
  • mass of end-effector combined with the load (handled object)
  • link lengths of offsets
  • the distance of link gravity centers and end effector plus load from the robot base
  • joint accelerations and cartesian accelerations

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Picture. Green "ball" describes a robot movement with low energy consumption while red describes higher consumption.


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Project web site: AREUS, "Automation and Robotics for EUropean Sustainable manufacturing

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme  theme FoF.NMP.2013-1 FoF.NMP.2013-1. Grant agreement No. 609391 (AREUS, " Automation and Robotics for EUropean Sustainable manufacturing ").

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