Microfactory concept with bilevel modularity
Kunt, Emrah Deniz (2012) Microfactory concept with bilevel modularity. [Thesis]
Official URL: http://192.168.1.20/record=b1416994 (Table of Contents)
There has been an increasing demand for miniaturization of products in the last decades. As a result of that, miniaturization and micro systems have become an important topic of research. As the technologies of micro manufacturing improve and are gradually started to be used, new devices have started to emerge in to the market. However, the miniaturization of the products is not paralleled to the sizes of the equipment used for their production. The conventional equipment for production of microparts is comparable in size and energy consumption to their counterparts in the macro world. The miniaturization of products and parts is slowly paving the way to the miniaturization of the production equipment and facilities, enabling efficient use of energy for production, improvement in material resource utilization and high speed and precision which in turn will lead to an increase in the amount of products produced more precisely. These led to the introduction of the microfactory concept which involves the miniaturization of the conventional production systems with all their features trying to facilitate the advantages that are given above. The aim of this thesis is to develop a module structure for production and assembly which can be cascaded with other modules in order to form a layout for the production of a specific product. The layout can also be changed in order to configure the microfactory for the production of another product. This feature brings flexibility to the system in the sense of product design and customization of products. Each module having its own control system, is able to perform its duty with the equipment placed into it. In order to form different layouts using the modules to build up a complete production chain, each module is equipped with necessary interface modules for the interaction and communication with the other process modules. In this work, the concept of process oriented modules with bilevel modularity is introduced for the development of microfactory modules. The first phase of the project is defined to be the realization of an assembly module and forms the content of this thesis. The assembly module contains parallel kinematics robots as manipulators which performs the assigned operations. One of the most important part here is to configure the structure of the module (control system/interface and communication units, etc.) which will in the future enable the easy integration of different process modules in order to form a whole microfactory which will have the ability to perform all phases of production necessary for the manufacturing of a product. The assembly module is a miniaturized version of the conventional factories (i.e. an assembly line) in such a way that the existing industrial standards are imitated within the modules of the microfactory. So that one who is familiar with the conventional systems can also be familiar with the construction of the realized miniature system and can easily setup the system according to the needs of the application. Thus, this is an important step towards the come in to use of the miniaturized production units in the industry. In order to achieve that kind of structure, necessary control hardware and software architecture are implemented which allows easy configuration of the system according to the processes. The modularity and reconfigurability in the software structure also have significant importance besides the modularity of the mechanical structure. The miniaturization process for the assembly cell includes the miniaturization of the parallel manipulators, transportation system in between the assembly nodes or in between different modules and the control system hardware. Visual sensor utilization for the visual feedback is enabled for the assembly process at the necessary nodes. The assembly module is developed and experiments are realized in order to test the performance of the module.
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