This content is not available in your region

Scientists in Spain make giant leap in accuracy with industrial robots

Scientists in Spain make giant leap in accuracy with industrial robots
By Denis Loctier
Text size Aa Aa

The world’s purportedly biggest robot has been constructed in a research centre near Zaragoza, Spain.

Engineers have used lasers to make a record-breaking industrial robot – with amazing levels of accuracy.

The robotic platform measures 20-metres long, six metres wide and five metres high and is mounted on a simple structure controlled by computers.

A laser track allows a continuous monitoring of the position of the robot.

Laser beams create 1,000 scans per second to achieve high levels of accuracy in the robot’s performances.

José Antonio Dieste, an industrial engineer at AITIIP, says:Average classical machines base their accuracy on mechanical systems. So whenever the temperature changes, for instance, these machines are prone to making mistakes.

“And the bigger these machines are, the more mistakes they can make. What we have tried to do here is to substitute that mechanical approach [with lasers].

“So we are able to monitor in real time where the bit [of the machine] always is and correct also in real time the robot´s position.”

Researchers think the robot can be accurate within minus 0.4 mm when working on 100-metre long parts

That would make the robot suitable to perform extremely challenging and technical operation on big surfaces; This would be an ideal working tool for the factories of the future, scientists believe.

Dieste adds: “The system has been designed to allow accurate operations in drilling and milling, which are the most demanding (factory) operations from the point of view of accuracy; they are really prone to all kind all mistakes.

“But we now have many other applications in mind: welding or laser-cutting, for instance. And we are currently working to transform the whole system into a huge 3D printer for both metal and not metal [industrial] pieces.”

Grinding, polishing, riveting, screwing, coating or painting are other industrial applications the existing platform is reportedly able to offer in markets and sectors as diverse as construction, aeronautics & aerospace, shipbuilding or civil engineering.