Optimisation process for robotic assembly of electronic components
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Adoption of robots in the manufacturing environment is a way to improve productivity, and the assembly of electronic components has benefited from the adoption of highly dedicated automation equipment. Traditionally, articulated 6-axis robots have not been used in electronic surface mount assembly. However, the need for more flexible production systems that can be used for low to medium production builds means that these robots can be used due to their high degrees of flexibility, excellent repeatability and increasingly lower investment costs. This research investigated the application of an articulated robot with six degrees of freedom to assemble a multi-component printed circuit board (PCB) for an electronic product. A heuristic methodology using a genetic algorithm was used to plan the optimal sequence and identify the best location of the parts to the assembly positions on the PCB. Using the optimised paths, a condition monitoring method for cycle time evaluation was conducted using a KUKA KR16 assembly cell together with four different robot path motions. The genetic algorithm approach together with different assembly position iterations identified an optimisation method for improved production throughput using a non-traditional but highly flexible assembly method. The application of optimised articulated robots for PCB assembly can bridge the gap between manual assembly and the high-throughput automation equipment.
KeywordsSequencing optimisation Electronics assembly KUKA robotics Flexible manufacture Genetic algorithm
This work was supported by the Advanced Sustainable Manufacturing Technologies (ASTUTE 2022) project, which is partly funded from the EU’s European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh European Funding Office, in enabling the research upon which this paper is based. Further information on ASTUTE can be found at www.astutewales.com.
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