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Graphic of human-robot collaboration
Press Release

Dürr develops innovative concept for human-robot collaboration

Bietigheim-Bissingen, November 18, 2015 - Human-robot collaboration – or HRC for short – is a new trend in industrial production. This involves skilled workers and robots tackling a production stage jointly, each contributing their respective strengths. Dürr has now presented one of the first HRC concepts for automotive production. When gluing in fuel tanks during final vehicle assembly it increases quality, saves time and cuts unit costs.

Automotive body shop and paint shop operations are highly automated nowadays. A modern Dürr paint shop includes a good 100 robots. Final assembly systems, on the other hand, feature a significantly lower level of automation since many processes are complex and require flexibility. The automotive industry is expecting HRC concepts to accelerate the automation of final assembly operations and thus increase production efficiency.

In Dürr’s HRC concept for tank fitting a skilled worker moves the tank to the workplace and cleans it. A robot equipped with an applicator for adhesive then takes over. It applies a bead of adhesive to the edge of the tank in the predefined cycle time. Sensor monitoring ensures that the bead is absolutely uniform. The skilled worker then attaches the tank precisely in the body.

Dürr developed the entire robot cell for this process. This includes, for example, the material feed, the dispensing technology for a controlled adhesive flow, and the control unit. Particular importance is attached to the issue of safety. The robot is positioned such that contact with the human colleague is more or less ruled out. Should contact occur nevertheless, the robot, which is equipped with multiple sensors, comes to a standstill within milliseconds. The robot operates slowly, using rounded components and always below head and chest level.

Ralf W. Dieter, CEO of Dürr AG: “We see great potential for human-robot collaboration concepts. Our customers will benefit from lower unit costs, the physical demands on the workers in final assembly will be reduced, and the workers can concentrate on demanding tasks which require situation-related thinking and flexibility.”

The Dürr Group is one of the world's leading mechanical and plant engineering firms. Products, systems and services offered by Dürr enable highly efficient manufacturing processes in different industries. Business with automobile manufacturers and their suppliers accounts for approximately 60% of Dürr's sales. Other market segments include, for example, the mechanical engineering, chemical and pharmaceutical industries and – since the takeover of HOMAG Group AG in October 2014 – the woodworking industry. Dürr has 92 business locations in 28 countries. With about 14,700 employees, the Group plans to generate sales revenues of € 3.6 - 3.7 billion in 2015. The Dürr Group operates in the market with five divisions:

  • Paint and Final Assembly Systems: paintshops and final assembly systems for the automotive industry
  • Application Technology: robot technologies for the automated application of paint, sealants and adhesives
  • Measuring and Process Systems: balancing and cleaning equipment as well as testing and filling technology
  • Clean Technology Systems: exhaust-air purification systems and energy efficiency technology
  • Woodworking Machinery and Systems: machinery and equipment for the woodworking industry