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dFab Handbook

General Safety:

Safety is the most critical topic of this course. We consider safety ahead of any activity in the lab. Please remember, while the ITAR team and the dFab staff will supervise you during the class time and office hours, each student is also responsible for:

  1. Its own safety;

  2. Its fellow students’ safety;

  3. Safe use of equipment.

To utilize industrial robots safely and successfully, users require experience, extensive training, and constant monitoring/attention. This course serves as the portal course for the industrial robotics lab. Students that are interested in pursuing coursework and/or research related to industrial robotics in architecture must successfully complete the Introduction to Architectural Robotics course.

The dFAB abides by the CMU “buddy-up” work policy to ensure that students do not conduct robot-related work alone. Under no circumstances, students of this class will be given keys or card access to the robot lab. You must leverage the work sessions or TA’s office hours to conduct your assignments and projects.

For a comprehensive list of policies, please refer to SoA dFab site:

https://soa.cmu.edu/robotics-policies

https://soa.cmu.edu/architectural-robotics

Industrial Robotic Arms

An industrial robot is a reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator.

There are three primary components in any industrial robot system:

  1. Teaching Pendant, also known as the Flex Pendant

  2. Robot Controller

  3. Robotic Arm


Controller

The controller, the robotic arm’s “brain”, is responsible for interpreting a set of instructions written in code and ensure that the many parts of the robot to operate in unison. These instructions are known as a program.


For additional safety, dFAB’s robotic lab has implemented a physical partition that separates the operator from the work cell. This countertop hosts a computer for robot lab use only, as well as two remote boxes that extend functionalities and access from the controllers beyond the safety barrier.


There are three switches on these boxes that replace those on the controller:

  1. An E-stop button;

  2. The motors-on button;

  3. An operation mode switch to enable automatic mode.

Automatic mode allows the robotic arm to achieve full speed and enables safety sensors. Especially while in auto mode, no one is allowed inside of the work cell.

Manual mode [teaching mode] limits the speed to 250 mm/s but overrides safety sensors.


Teaching Pendant

The teaching pendant, also known as a flex pendant, is a handheld device used to interface with the robotic arm. On this device, you will find an enabling switch which allows machine operation only when activated. This type of switch is a deadman switch or a 3-position [OFF-ON-OFF] switch. Another switch on the teaching pendant is called an E-stop [emergency stop]. This button is the primary safety device for industrial robots. When the emergency stop is pressed, all motions are stopped instantly.



Robotic Arm

The industrial robotic arm can vary in size and shape but is responsible for positioning an end of arm tool [EOAT]. It can have as many as six joints or degrees of freedom, that can rotate as a coordinated effort to place the tool in a designated position. dFAB currently has three robots - an ABB IRB 120, an ABB IRB 4400, and an IRB 6640. All of these have six joints but the former incorporates an additional external track of motion in order to mobilize the robotic arm within the work cell.


In order to interact with an environment, a device called an end of arm tool [EOAT] is attached to the end of the robotic arm. This tool, also known as an end effector, is typically designed to engage with materials within a designated space as part of a flexible fabrication workflow.

To provide flexibility for any automated process in changing tools, the robotic arms in dFAB are fitted with tool changers called ATI plates, which also pass utilities such as electrical signals, pneumatic, water, etc to the end of the arm tool.


General Guidelines

Using Robotic Cell:

  • Clean up: All mess, debris, and scrap must be cleaned. Stock, tools, and material shall be returned to the original state when done.

  • Room access: All entry into the room must remain closed and locked except during project execution or preparation.

  • Tools: All hand tools tagged with blue spray paint and hosted in the robotics lab never leave the room.

  • Desks: White tables are for computer/clean work ONLY.

  • Storage: Project/material storage must be labeled. A three (3) day storage limit is in effect unless other arrangements have been made. Any file on the lab machines will be deleted periodically.

  • Appointment: Equipment reservations allow for preparation, testing, research, computer use, operation, and robotic-related workflows. Users must be mindful of limited time and shared space issues.

  • Operation: When necessary, all other users must retreat to a safe work-zone and/or leave the space if deemed necessary by the operational status. All users must yield to the reservation/appointment owner.

Robot Work-Zones

Work zones are provided for various robotic workflows. With advance notification and permission, users may alter position and affix custom jigs, tools, or objects to the robotic lab mounting surfaces. Users are expected to breakdown, clean, and return work zones to their original state. Altered work zones are subject to change and movement throughout the semester.

  1. Simulation 3d model: Users are responsible for ensuring proper development and setup of 3D simulation environmental requirements for successful RAPID code generation/simulation.

  2. Rolling vacuum table: The rolling vacuum table is for robotic workflows ONLY. Vacuum table utilization must be discussed in advance and prior to the reservation/appointment. With approval, past and/or current projects, set-ups, jigs, etc. will be removed for reserved user appointments.

  3. Steel table: The steel table is for robotic workflows ONLY. Steel table utilization must be discussed in advance and prior to the reservation/appointment. With approval, past and/or current projects, set-ups, jigs, etc. will be removed for reserved user appointments.

  4. Wall-mounts: Wall-mount jigs are for robotic workflows ONLY. Wall mount jig utilization must be discussed in advance and prior to the reservation/appointment. With approval, past and/or current projects, set-ups, jigs, etc. will be removed for reserved user appointments.

  5. Rotary table: The rotary vacuum table is for robotic workflows ONLY.

Robotic Arm, External Devices, Controllers & TeachPendants

DO NOT:

  • Push ANY buttons on the robot

  • Unplug ANY connections on the robot or ATI robot-side interface

  • Climb or physically engage the robot

  • Place objects on the robot

  • Store/place objects on the track

CONTROLLERS:

  • Should remain ON

  • Cases are not to be opened by the user

TOOL PLATES:

  • All ATI tool plates are to be dismounted and returned to default configuration (user’s custom tools removed)

TEACH PENDANT (TP):

  • TP is to be treated with GREAT CARE. The user is subject to fines and/or fees related to TP misuse

  • TP menu user access is restricted to the following:

  • HotEdit, I/O’s, Jogging, Program Editor, Program Data, Production Window

  • System modules and other core files are not to be altered nor delete


Operation

UNIVERSAL:

  • All operations will be simulated prior to execution

  • All users will be aware of non-simulated variables, dress packs, work surfaces, etc.

  • Space will be cleared of debris and extraneous material, taking into account all moving parts of the manipulator and not just the TCP

  • Never operate the robot alone. The operator must be accompanied by at least one TA, teammate, or a robotic authorized personnel

  • The operator will be sober, awake, and attentive at all times of operation

  • The robot will not physically engage living organisms

MANUAL MODE:

  • Users will remain clear of the working perimeter

  • The operator may be accompanied by other users and robotic authorized personnel

  • The operator will hold TP properly while the motor is on

  • The operator will be accompanied by at least one authorized user

  • Users should not interfere with the environment while the motor is on

AUTO MODE:

  • All non-essential personnel are to leave the area

  • All essential personnel are to be on the SAFE side of the light curtain with required safety equipment

  • The operator will be accompanied by at least one authorized user

  • Speed will not be permitted to exceed 2000mm/s at any time for any operation

TOOLING:

  • When using Dangerous Tooling Attachments (i.e. Spindle, WireSaw, Plasma, etc.):

  • All non-essential personnel are to leave the room entirely

  • All essential personnel are to be on the SAFE side of the light curtain with required safety equipment

  • The operator will be accompanied by at least one authorized user

  • Stock is to be properly secured

  • Work with particular tools will only occur in designated work zones

  • When using Less Dangerous Tooling Attachments (i.e. Gripper, Hot-Wire, Sensory Apparatus, etc.) Follow the protocol for the mode of operation

SPECIAL CASES: Live Command, Indeterminate Operation

Modules that may produce non-simulative motion variability are to only be executed under direct supervision by an administrator or advanced user. Auto-Mode rules apply. Active tooling with indeterminate operation should be executed with extreme caution and supervision and should be preceded with rigorous testing and simulation.


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© 2015-2020 by Ardavan Bidgoli