TIMAIRIS: Autonomous Blank Feeding for Packaging Machines

Eurico Pedrosa, Gi Hyun Lim, Felipe Amaral, Artur Pereira, Bernardo Cunha

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Current packaging machine vendors do not provide any automated mechanism for blank feeding and the state of the art is to have a human operator dedicated to feed the blank piles to the packaging machine. This is a tedious, repetitive and tiring task. This also results in problems with unintentional errors, such as using the wrong pile of blanks. An alternative solution is the use of a fixed robotic arm surrounded by a protective cage. However, this solution is restricted to a single packaging machine, a unique type of blank shapes and does not cooperate with humans. TIMAIRIS is a joint effort between IMA S.p.A., Italy, (IMA) and the Universidade de Aveiro, Portugal, (UAVR), promoted by the European Robotics Challenges (EuRoC) project. Together, we propose a system based on a mobile manipulator for flexible, autonomous and collaborative blank feeding of packaging machines on industrial shop floor. The system provides a software architecture that allows a mobile robot to take high level decisions on how the task should be executed, which can depend on variables such as the number of packaging machines to feed and the rate of blank consumption at each one. Through a computer vision system, blanks of different shapes and sizes are correctly identified for adequate manipulation. The manipulation of the piles of blanks is performed using a single arm using compliant modes of operation to increase manipulation safety and robustness. Additionally, it has a safe navigation system that allows the robot to be integrated in an industrial environment where humans are present. Finally, it provides an enhanced multimodal interaction between human and robot that can be adapted to the environment and operator characteristics to make communication intuitive, redundant and safe.
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publicationBringing Innovative Robotic Technologies from Research Labs to Industrial End-users
EditorsF. Caccavale, C. Ott
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)9783030345068, 9783030345075
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2020

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