Robotics and Mechatronics are key research fields for the Machine Mechanics team. Their long term experience on such subjects ranges from pure research to the most recent industrial applications.
Relevant results have been obtained on the design and prototyping of parallel kinematics machines, as well as on the analysis and development of novel reconfigurable mechanisms. The researchers have recently focused their activities on the hot topics of collaborative robotics and Industry 4.0.
Collaborative robots, or cobots, are industrial robots of new generation that have been designed to work with the man in safety, without barriers or protective cages between them. Cobots are specialized in carrying out tasks that learn directly during operation; they are autonomous and are bringing a revolution in the factory automation field.
i-Labs Cooperative Framework
A reconfigurable mechanism is able to generate different kinds of motions without needing to be reassembled. This feature can be exploited to increase the flexibility of production processes that require, within the same task, different skills of dexterity or mobility.
PARALLEL KINEMATICS MACHINES
Parallel kinematic machines (PKM) have a kinematic structure characterized by two or more closed chains; as a matter of fact, a mobile platform is in-parallel actuated by several legs. This architecture is often used for the design of parallel robots characterized by impressive static (i.e. high stiffness and load capacity) or dynamic (i.e. high acceleration) performance.
The study of small-scale devices and mini-robots is a cutting-edge research field of precision mechanics that finds application in areas such as biomedical engineering and mechatronics (e.g. MEMS). The research of the Machine Mechanics team focuses mainly on new forms of actuators, on the realization of miniaturized and precision mechanical joints and on the design of high precision mini-grippers.
Mini-robot for Orientation Tasks
The development of autonomous submarine vehicles (AUV) with increasingly higher performance drove the research into the study of bio-inspired robots. In fact, it is known that the instinctive swimming skills developed by biological systems (marine fish and mammals) over the course of millions of years, are largely superior to what is able to produce modern naval technology.
The Machine Mechanics team developed skills on the kinematic calibration of manipulators; in fact they addressed both the definition of numerical models for the computation of kinematic parameters and the set-up of measurement instrumentation for the execution of experimental tests.
ADVANCED SOLUTIONS FOR INDUSTRIAL ROBOTICS
Current level of robotics technology allows to broaden the scope of industrial robotics towards new application fields or to increase the flexibility of standard processes. This is the case, for example, of the use of an industrial parallel kinematics machine for the “heavy” tasks of incremental forming or friction stir welding or the design of an integrated automated cell for the disassembly and reuse of RAEE devices.