Simulation and Virtual Reality in Robotics for Industrial Assembly Processes,

Martin Mellado, Dominic Gorecky

In: Conference Proceedings "Mobility and Innovation in the European Context". Evaluation Conference on ERASMUS Intensive Programmes (IP-2011) "Mobility and Innovation in the European Context" November 22-23 Bonn Germany DAAD 2011.


SAVRO Intensive Programme was an educational Erasmus Intensive Program with the objective to teach engineering and computer science students about the design of industrial assembly processes. The idea behind SAVRO was to train computer engineering skills and to create additional learning outcomes by applying information technology to real industrial processes. The course involved three institutions from three European countries and put together students and lectures with different scientific and cultural knowledge, which participated in a short (two weeks) but intensive academic and social programme. The main task of SAVRO’s educational project was the development of a solution for a practical case applied to a real industrial environment. Therefore, the aim of SAVRO was to teach the students the skills that will allow them to solve standard robotics and industrial application problems, by the usage of simulation and virtual reality software in real assembly processes. SAVRO concept was not only based on theory lessons, but also on the application of the taught knowledge in practice-oriented workshops. The particularity of SAVRO was the strong involvement of industrial partners as a contact point and “client” that specified the project target and requirements. The students were confronted with a real industrial problem which had to be solved in international and interdisciplinary groups. The mixed team structure obliged the students to bundle up their competences. The groups involved students from computer science, computer engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering studies. Combining the knowledge of the specific groups resulted in a comprehensive team that had the required skills to solve the given industrial task. The activities in this project included the analysis of a real industry case, the learning and usage of software tools for automation and factory planning, the learning about assembly processes and the development of an industrial oriented team project. The partners of this project were the School of Computer Engineering from the Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain), the Faculty of Mechanical and Process Engineering of the Technische Universität Kaiserslautern (Germany) and the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Natural Sciences of the Universita degli Studi di Salerno (Italy). The SAVRO’s operative objectives were (i) to improve the quality and increase the amount of cooperation between academic institutions and companies; and (ii) to promote the development of innovative educational techniques for graduate level courses and export them from one participating country to others. During the project period of three year, three sessions of SAVRO Intensive Programme had taken part: • The first session of SAVRO was held in Valencia with a total of 22 students (7 from Spain, 10 from Germany and 5 from Italy). The company Desguaces Malvarrosa, devoted to scrapping cars, defined a project for the students, in which they had to design, simulate, and program a car disassembly process. • The second session of SAVRO was held in Salerno with a total of 25 students (10 from Italy, 5 from Germany and 10 Spanish students). The project, assigned during the visit to Elasis (a R&D centre belonging to the FIAT group), was to substitute two operators transporting a piece by a robotic system, considering a new factory layout. • The last SAVRO session was held in Kaiserslautern with a total of 30 students (10 from each country). The project, which was conducted in collaboration with the company Mann+Hummel GmbH, focused on the optimization of the manufacturing process for rolling filters, including the design and simulation of the workplace layout. Each project session follow the same procedure: First, the students made a visit to the company to learn about its production process and the project task, then they had to develop a solution for the given task, and finally they had to present their solution in English. Each team was evaluated by different aspects, such as technical implementation, applicably and presentation of their solution. Engineers from the collaborating company were following the students’ presentation and taking part in the evaluation process. The final objective of the SAVRO IP was to create an academic context that integrated students and professors of different EU countries academically and culturally within a common area of teaching and even research. Students taking part in SAVRO did not only benefit from the knowledge acquired from the technical work and courses, but also gained experience in cultural integration and language learning - a matter of vital importance in the current world. Also, participating professors had the opportunity to share experiences and found contacts that gave them a new perspective in the areas of teaching and research. As summary, SAVRO offered the students taking part in an international and interdisciplinary program, offering the students to gain a valuable insight into the future working life and to add a distinctive feature to their curriculum vitae.

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence
Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz