French champion of collaborative robotics, RB3D intends to submit a new generation cobot created in cooperation with giant BTP Colas during Innorobo 2016.
As noted by Serge Grygorowicz, President and CEO of the startup, the exoskeleton of RB3D arrives in final phase of its development, that of its placing on the market. This civil cobot will precede a few weeks the first public presentation version 4 of Hercules, its exoskeleton.
The cobot supports efforts, but leaves the intelligence to humans
RB3D, these are 18 fans positioned on the emerging market of the cobotique. The startup today based at Auxerre has sold its cobots in industry, particularly in the foundries and forges where operators must make significant physical efforts. “Humans must remain at the heart of the process” believes Serge Grygorowicz, “the cobot just help his gesture and to bear the bad sides of the work, that is to say efforts, vibrations leaving to humans the ability to drive the action intelligently.”
The RB3D adventure goes back to 2009. With the help of the DGA, its founders have launched pursuit of the Americans and the Japanese. “The American project of exoskeleton Ekso Bionics was beautiful, but it was based on the hydraulics. We said that this might not work because it would require a lot of energy since water presents a poor performance. Our idea was to develop an all-electric exoskeleton. The Japanese exoskeleton from Cyberdyne was a very good project for the medical sector but worked with electrodes. Our experience as subcontractors years the field of Mechatronics, we knew that this approach is not easy to calibrate and settings must be adjusted throughout the day. We decided to create an exoskeleton electrodeless.‘
The Hercules project was funded through the program RAPID (Duale Innovation support scheme) of the DGA. “The first assembly version in 2009 was a monster of 56 kg without battery or brain unable to carry any loads. In 2012, we had made good progress with an exoskeleton of 48 kg, which could walk only, without umbilical cord and carry 16 kg. “With HV3, in 2014 the exoskeleton weighed more than 32 kg and lift a load of 40 kg.” This machine was presented on Innorobo in 2014 and visitors were able to try out it, which was a first in the field of exoskeletons.
Forgot the anthropomorphic cobot, embracing the cobot ultra-specialized
It is during this edition of Innorobo that the founder of RB3D came into contact with Colas. A partnership is tied on the use of the cobot in shoplifting of asphalt on roads. This is an extremely physical task that sees the operator to spread out up to 35 tonnes of bitumen a day with a rake. ‘Our project was to take the version 3 of our Hercules exoskeleton and attaching the rake. The trials took place at the end of year 2014 and it was a failure. The machine was heavy, too complex and greatly disrupted the work of the users. “It was a dead end, and by 2015, we decided to revise our way of dealing with the problem.” The RB3D engineers then studied a machine more specialized, but much simpler and lighter than its anthropomorphic exoskeleton. They have created a power rake supported on 2 legs. This cobot could be tested successfully by Colas in Geneva in December 2015 and its final version will be presented at the salon Innorobo 2016. It will be able to work 4 hours of rank, weighs more than 17 kg and is capable of pushing 40 kg of bitumen. At summer divided by 3: the weight, the price and, at the same time, the power was multiplied by 3. A similar collaboration with PointP will entail the creation of an exoskeleton specialising in the transport of loads.
“We reviewed our approach of the exoskeleton and income a notch back” says Serge Grygorowicz. “Try to have exoskeletons anthropomorphic with hips, knees, ankles to resume loads extremely complicated machines gives insoles with pressure sensors is very disturbing and difficult to use for the operator.” We now offer a new paradigm of exoskeleton. “We have removed the soles sensors to a direct activation.”
For the next 4 Hercules version that will be presented at the next fair Eurosatory in June, engineers have revised their copy. “The idea is to lower the load directly on the ground in order to have a much less cumbersome machine. “The weight was divided by three, multiplied by 2.5 carrying capacity.” Hips/knees/ankles architecture gave way to a single telescopic system. The absence of sole facilitates the market and a flexible link between the exoskeleton and the user allows the exoskeleton of the bandwagon without impeding the wearer. “Active exoskeletons will improve working conditions, increase productivity on condition that they design them for the task at hand.” We need to stop fantasizing about the armor of Iron Man… for now “concluded Serge Grygorowicz.”
Translation : Bing Translator