A low-cost laser scanning solution for flexible robotic cells: spray coating

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Marcos André Ferreira
Pedro Neto
António Paulo Moreira
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In this paper, an adaptive and low-cost robotic coating platform for small production series is presented. This new platform presents a flexible architecture that enables fast/automatic system adaptive behaviour without human intervention. The concept is based on contactless technology, using artificial vision and laser scanning to identify and characterize different workpieces travelling on a conveyor. Using laser triangulation, the workpieces are virtually reconstructed through a simplified cloud of threedimensional (3D) points. From those reconstructed models, several algorithms are implemented to extract information about workpieces profile (pattern recognition), size, boundary and pose. Such information is then used to on-line adjust the 'base' robot programmes. These robot programmes are offline generated froma 3D computer-aided designmodel of each different workpiece profile. Finally, the robotic manipulator executes the coating process after its 'base' programmes have been adjusted. This is a low-cost and fully autonomous system that allows adapting the robot's behaviour to different manufacturing situations. It means that the robot is ready to work over any piece at any time, and thus, small production series can be reduced to as much as a one-object series. No skilled workers and large setup times are needed to operate it. Experimental results showed that this solution proved to be efficient and can be applied not only for spray coating purpo