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Bedarf und Konzeptvorstellung des Forschungsprojekts ROBOTOP für einen webbasierten Konfigurator für den Massenmarkt


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The development of a modular, internet-based and open robot platform (ROBOTOP) serves to open up the mass market for robots in service and manufacturing applications. Through an intelligent standardization and reuse of software, hardware and peripheral components as well as the significant reduction of offer and engineering costs, significant cost reductions can be achieved in the planning and design of industrial robotics solutions. Lizenz: CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
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... Due to the existing uncertainty and in order to specify the architecture based on concrete empirical values, various sub-prototypes were created [15,[18][19][20]24]. Through the prototypes a large interdependency becomes obvious, e.g. the BP preparation is necessary for the click-prototype and the click-prototype to validate BP in the overall context [24,26]. ROBOTOP is based on the scalable and flexible idea of a microservice architecture, firstly introduced in 2006 through amazon [29]. ...
... This enables an easy implementation of multi-user configuration of RAS and even more flexible user interfaces via micro front end approaches [17]. In order to solve the problem of overly complex user interfaces, a target group specific front end concept for ROBOTOP was developed based on a user-centered approach [26]. Parallel to this, a specific procedure for the development of user-centered user interfaces for KBECs was developed [23]. ...
... Best Practice Selection: comparison of the click-prototype[23,26] (left) and the ROBOTOP platform (right) to show the iterative development of the platform Adapt the configuration to your specific requirements ...
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Automation solutions in production represent a sensible and long-term cost-effective alternative to manual work, especially for physically strenuous or dangerous activities. However, especially for small companies, automation solutions are associated with a considerable initial complexity and a high effort in planning and implementation. The ROBOTOP project, a consortium of industrial companies and research institutes has therefore developed a flexible web platform for the simplified, modular planning and configuration of robot-based automation solutions for frequent tasks. In this paper, an overview of the project’s scientific findings and the resulting platform is given. Therefore, challenges due to the scope of knowledge-based engineering configurators like the acquisition of necessary data, its description, and the graphical representation are outlined. Insights are given into the platform’s functions and its technical separation into different Microservices such as Best Practice selection, configuration, simulation, AML-data-exchange and spec-sheet generator with the focus on the configuration. Finally, the user experience and potentials are highlighted.
... As already mentioned in section 3, the six-step approach was derived and validated based on various practical cases, mainly in the context of the research project ROBOTOP. In the latter, a web-based KBEC for supporting the concept planning of RAS was developed [25,32]. Data collection was performed using multiple data sources via non-systematic direct observation, literature review, archived document analysis, and semistructured interviews. ...
... The first relevant output documents are requirement specification and quotation proposal. Thus, for the minimal necessary scope, a so-called Best Practice selection, a subsequent adaptation configuration, an extraction of a requirement specification and a quotation proposal have to be configured and generated [32,35]. ...
... The general architecture of the configurator builds upon a Best Practice based adaptation respectively change configuration. [25,32,36] In general, it was shown that the KA process could be optimized and accelerated by the proposed strategic six-step approach. Using the method, an overall transparency and understanding of which functionalities are relevant was achieved. ...
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The high complexity of today’s automation solutions often raises integration costs to an uneconomic level, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises. Analyzing the total costs of automation solutions, engineering efforts account for the largest share. However, potentials for time and cost savings as well as quality improvements by reusing existing engineering knowledge are usually not exploited in industrial practice. In this context, knowledge-based configurators are the most popular expert systems and present an opportunity to automate the creation of customer-specific automation solutions. Especially for efficient knowledge reuse, constraint-based configurators seem suitable. However, existing methods for developing configurators focus on product configurators rather than on knowledge-based engineering configurators (KBEC). In addition, the necessary knowledge acquisition (KA) is still one of the major challenges in developing KBECs. Open fields of action include the definition of the optimal functional scope as well as the identification, prioritization, and selection of suitable knowledge sources. Another prerequisite represents the transparency of existing engineering processes and interests of all affected stakeholders. Therefore, this paper introduces a six-step approach enabling the development of use-oriented KBECs with the minimum required functional scope to reduce efforts for KA and thus overall development costs. Finally, the strategic approach is validated using the example of a KBEC for the concept planning of robot-based automation solutions.
... Therefore, the classical planning process for RAS is analysed and divided into subsequent stations. Furthermore, we identify potentials of streamlining the planning process through the use of KC, resulting in a second proposed process, the Best Practice based planning, developed within the research project ROBOTOP [2,3,[26][27][28][29]. To allow for an intuitive side-byside comparison, the individual scenes from both planning approaches up to the virtual robot teach-in are combined and implemented in order of execution in a virtual tour. ...
... Station seven: The first step of the proposed concept of planning is Best Practice based planning, first presented by SCHÄFFER et al [2,28]. In this concept, essential steps of planning are eliminated and replaced by a selection of one existing Best Practice solution to reduce complexity (Fig. 8). ...
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The term Virtual Reality (VR), is very well known in the consumer goods and entertainment sector. The visual presentation of the VR environment is typically achieved via stereoscopic head-mounted displays (HMD), and the interaction via a 3D position detection of HMD and additional input devices such as controllers for active user input. While the variety of applications in the entertainment industry is constantly growing and the technological possibilities become more extensive, this trend has marginally established itself in the industry. Even though powerful and affordable VR hardware is available, VR applications are often associated more with gaming than professional industrial applications. In addition, only few interaction mechanisms such as 3D viewing, moving, teleporting and rarely direct interaction capabilities are used in the most industrial VR solutions. The reason for this is often a lack of understanding and structure of use cases and the added value that VR applications and interactions create for companies and their customers. This unnecessarily limits the applicability of new VR applications for the industry. For a better structuring of VR use cases and required 3D objects for targeted user interaction, we introduce seven Levels of Detail. Along these, one VR use case setup is created, to provide examples for classical concept planning and a new knowledge-based process based on engineering Best Practices. For each, we derive adequate prototypical implemented demonstrator stations and necessary interaction mechanisms for VR development. To highlight further VR possibilities, we extend the examples by adding a second use case setup for VR planning and virtual commissioning of industrial human-robot collaboration solutions based on body and hand tracking. Hence, the contribution provides a structured compilation of potential and useful industrial VR planning use case setups and for these relevant interaction mechanisms in combination with concretely implemented examples.
... The strategic architecture and the continuously executable approach are elaborated based on literature analysis and synthesis. Based on our experience and various use cases within the research project ROBOTOP [25,26] as well as other projects, we have introduced and enhanced the PDA for the engineering domain as shown in section 4. In section 5, a minimal functional architecture of the PDA within the engineering domain is evaluated using a prototypical implementation. ...
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Digitization within the framework of Industry 4.0 is considered the biggest and fastest driver of change in history of manufacturing industry. While the size of a company is becoming less essential, the ability to adapt quickly to changing market conditions and new technologies is more important than ever. This trend particularly applies to the companies’ software landscapes, where individual sub-processes and services must be orchestrated, seamlessly integrated, and iteratively renewed according to the ever-increasing user requirements. However, inflexible, closed monolithic software applications as well as self-programmed stand-alone tools that are difficult to integrate are still predominant in the engineering domain. A complete reimplementation of existing, proprietary engineering tools and their integration into monolithic applications of large software providers is often not economically feasible, especially for small and medium-sized machinery and plant manufacturers. In this context, the so-called Process-Driven Approach (PDA) offers a sustainable and tool-neutral opportunity for process and tool orchestration, enabling an easy integration of individual software applications by consistent utilization of the separation of concerns principle. The PDA, originating from business informatics, is mainly based on the standardized and machine-executable visual modeling language Business Process Model and Notation (BPMN). Using the semantic enhancements found in version 2.0, BPMN is not just used to model the business processes but also to model and execute the integration processes between different systems. After the PDA has already been successfully applied to large-scale projects in business informatics, it is now being transferred to the engineering domain. As shown in this paper, PDA allows to orchestrate the different processes in engineering and to integrate the underlying software tools, such as e-mail or spreadsheet applications, engineering tools, or custom microservices, using standardized interfaces like REST API. In doing so, engineering processes can be made more transparent, monitored, and optimized by means of appropriate key figures. The concept is validated by a prototypical implementation of a minimum functional PDA architecture for the engineering domain.
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Der Markt für roboterzentrierte Automatisierungslösungen (RA) ist ein globaler Wachstumsmarkt. Aufgrund der hohen Kosten und Komplexität von RA bleiben häufig kleine und mittlere Unternehmen (KMU) hinter diesem Trend zurück. Gegenstand und Zielstellung der Promotion ist die Schaffung von effizienten sowie skalierbaren Engineering-Konzepten und -Lösungen für die Planung von RA auf Basis von Webtechnologien. Hierfür wurden das Konzept des Engineering-Konfigurators, eine microservicebasierte Webplattform-Referenzarchitektur sowie eine für Engineering-Konfiguratoren benötigte Entwicklungsmethode basierend auf drei Teilmethoden (W1-W3) eingeführt. Über nutzerzentrierte Entwicklungsansätze, eine modulare Architektur für RA sowie Ansätze aus der wissensbasierten Konfiguration (Teilbereich aus der künstlichen Intelligenz (KI)) werden der Vertrieb, die Planung und das Engineering von RA einem breiteren Publikum zugänglich gemacht. Validiert wurden die Konzepte und Methoden im Rahmen der Webplattform ROBOTOP sowie anhand diverser 3D-Web-, AR (Augmented Reality)- und VR (Virtual Reality)-Mehrbenutzer-Demonstratoren. Die Konzepte und Methoden befähigen somit auch eine effiziente Digitalisierung bzw. Prozessautomatisierung des Engineerings von RA durch die eingeführten, strukturierenden Methoden zur Wissenserfassung, -modellierung sowie -implementierung und unterstützen dabei die Vision des digitalen Zwillings im Kontext von Industrie 4.0.
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