In the manufacture of its broad-based product range, Stäubli Electrical Connectors (Duncan, SC) favors hybrid assembly systems that combine fully automated and manual workstations. The only downside to this strategy is that the line comes to a standstill if an operator is absent due to illness. In addition, unmanned night shifts are not possible.
The company now has the optimal solution: the HelMo mobile robot system from Stäubli Robotics. HelMo is capable of navigating with complete autonomy by permanently monitoring its environment with three integrated laser scanners and can perform its tasks either fully automatically or in collaboration with humans. Once trained, HelMo can handle almost any manual job on a variety of assembly lines. This production assistant navigates to its own workplace, decelerates or stops when human colleagues come too close, and then continues its process. Built around a six-axis standard TX2-90L robot with a payload of 15 kilos and a reach of 1,200mm, HelMo comes with a sophisticated safety package that meets the strict requirements of category SIL3/PLe.
The intention is not to replace human labor with mobile robots, but rather to deploy HelMo as a flexible stand-in and thereby increase the availability of hybrid assembly lines or cope with peak demand.