Public Summary Month 20/2011

Various technical issues were solved thanks to collaboration between the BioRobotics Institute, CMO and the equipment providers (METRALABS, SCHUNK and KEBA AUTOMATION). All the technical documentation was submitted according to the original proposal. CMO is already taking care of the project results exploitation for the development of a new product.


Finally we were able to perform the experiment. These results have been achieved:


  1. It is possible to perform the varnishing with a mobile robotic device but improvements are needed. The robotic arm architecture is not suitable for the task and the nonholonomic mobile platform has not enough manoeuvrability
  2. The purchased Mobile Manipulator  has been integrated with a new arm and debugged. It now implements a Cartesian Control System (not available before the project)
  3. The chosen controller is versatile and robust enough to be used not only for the robotic arm control but also for the managing of the mobile platform
  4. The vision system and the algorithms are robust enough to be used for localization, navigation, shape recognition and real time path following during the varnishing
  5. The modular robotics (see the robotic arm) is a versatile solution but still need improvements in order to increase reliability (especially from the electronic point of view) and integrability
  6. All the control algorithms developed can be exported to the pre-industrial phase that CMO will start after the project
  7. In order to be commercialized, the future product has to be designed and developed taking into account ATEX regulations from the beginning. New hydraulic or pneumatic actuation systems could be developed starting from CMO products
  8. An underactuated anthropomorphic gripper has been designed and could be developed for industrial application
  9. Integration of different subsystems is complex and need the deep knowledge of each one of them. In order to have a high performance product specialized for the varnishing it is more convenient to design and develop the entire system from the beginning
  10. The patent application has been submitted. Internal agreements regarding the exploitation have already been drafted
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Public Summary Month 9/2012

During these months we implemented the varnishing algorithm using the closed loop through vision. In real-time Kinect gives information to the robot regarding the distance from the part and the system calculates the normal to the surface immediately next to the area varnished during the movement. The robot adapts the orientation of the spray gun respect to this normal. A lot of trials has been performed in our lab without the spray gun activation and finally a real test with the varnish has been done in a room next to our lab. Also a safety procedure has been implemented using vision so that the robot stops if an obstacle comes in the range of movement and it continues the task when the obstacle is removed.

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Public Summary Month 6/2012

At the beginning of April the arm came back repaired and the technical issues seemed to be solved. We can say that our project started at these date because all the other months were dedicated to the solution of all the problems and to the hardware reliability improvement. In the middle of April we were involved in the Middle Term Review Meeting. After the review meeting we began to study and solve the problems pointed by the reviewer in order to satisfy their requirements.  At the same time we started with the organization of our participation to AUTOMATICA 2012 and we prepared all the dissemination materials (videos, flyers, roll-up poster), the demo (without the spraying due to AUTOMATICA booth restrictions) and also a big poster reproducing the wall of the spray booth. The fair was very useful for us because some "customers" were interested in our application (the robotic arm provider was very interested, we also received the visit of a spray booth owner in the field of truck components and the visit of a company involved in the painting of aircraft parts). In order to exploit the project results it has been necessary to submit a system patent application. So that the month of May was dedicated to the patent preparation and to its submission. Just one day before the fair, the patent application has been submitted (Application n. : PI2012A000062, Application CCIA: Pisa, Application Date: 21/05/2012).  

At the end of May we received the visit of European Commission for the exploitation of our project.

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Public Summary Month 4/2012

Technical problems related to the integration of the arm with the mobile base do not finish!

The arm lost its reference position and performed movements totally not coherent with the desired trajectories with strange mechanical noises. We called again technical assistance and they repaired the arm.  The rest position is now correct. We are trying to implement the varnishing algorithms if any other technical problems do not arise.

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Public Summary Month 10/2011

The varnish experiment has not been performed yet because the robot has been updated by the provider with a new arm and a new controller. Now the robot is in our lab and we will test it. In the meanwhile acquisition and shape regognition algorithms have been elaborated and tested. The part database and varnish composition is under construction. The mechanical transmission system between the robot gripper and the spray gun has been designed and it is under fabrication. The navigation algorithms have been optimized with the integration of an absolute localization system.

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