Siemens hopes to further reduce the energy consumption of industrial robots in the automotive industry. According to the latest issue of Window of the Future, there is now a solution that focuses on improving exercise modes and making energy consumption lower when accelerating. As a member of the "Green Body Technology" Innovation Alliance (referred to as "InnoCaT"), Siemens worked with Volkswagen and the Fraunhofer Association to study the motion sequences of industrial robots. Partners have developed a simulation model that can calculate the optimal trajectory of an industrial robot from an energy efficiency perspective. Tests show that using the best trajectory can reduce energy consumption by up to half. Siemens' goal is to develop a software program that reprograms existing industrial robots without changing production processes, allowing them to work more energy-efficiently.
Industrial robots consume a lot of electricity while increasing the production speed and efficiency of automobiles. Especially in the body manufacturing link where multiple robots are required, the energy consumption of the robot accounts for more than half of the total energy consumption of the body manufacturing. A way to save energy needs to be used in control systems. The movement of modern robots is not smooth. Their arms can only move in a straight line. Each time they change direction, they need to brake suddenly and then accelerate again. This method consumes a large amount of power and is easy to cause mechanical stress loss.
In the laboratory, engineers analyze the energy consumption of the robot in different work steps. They want to understand the impact of direction changes on power consumption, and determine the parameters of the optimal sport mode from the perspective of energy consumption. The new simulation model algorithm can calculate the optimal motion trajectory. Through laboratory tests, engineers found that when the robot's arm moves smoothly along a curve, it can save 10% to 50% of power consumption. At the same time, reduced mechanical stress can reduce maintenance costs and downtime.
Automotive production often requires the use of many industrial robots. A robot can usually hand over tasks to other robots within a few seconds, with smooth operation and coordination. Long-term tests under real conditions show that even with the same cycle time, using the best trajectory can reduce energy consumption by up to half. A software module that Siemens is testing can automatically program the robot's energy consumption in a given workflow, and also help the robot adapt to interaction with neighboring machines. It is also the only economically feasible way.
Siemens plans to integrate this module into Tecnomatix production software to easily and safely reprogram existing robots and reduce their energy consumption without increasing hardware investment.