Robot Test Cell and Assembly System for Telephone Transducers (1982/ 85)
The goals and objectives were to develop automated assembly and test systems for a new family of telephone transducers that were concurrently designed with the planned assembly and test procedures. (Probably the even more important challenge was to save hundreds of jobs!)
The analytical / engineering challenge was to develop novel concurrent engineering principles, and advanced electronic assembly and test methods. Furthermore to apply analytical methods to line balancing and dynamic scheduling of various electronic and electro-mechanical assembly lines in industry.
The method/ model was validated by designing/ implementing and testing robotized test cells, and automated electro-mechanical assembly lines at a research stage at Trent and then adopting the R&D results in the electronic design and manufacturing industry in a very short time.
The practical, industrial use and spinoffs included a major industrial installation at GPT/ GEC/ Plessey in Nottingham, as well as various UK national research prizes for robotics and for the SERC Teaching Company project, as the most successful project of the year, by the Engineering Science and Research Council (as it was called in the UK at that time).
Major lessons learned included lots of great opportunities to learn about electronic and electro-mechanical system design and manufacturing. It was a fantastic opportunity for all of us involved to innovate, develop and then test the results in industry! Thanks to all the projects became very susccessful!
The photos below illustrate the various stages of the robot test-cell, that I have designed, with one of my students, Mr. Ian Hewitt standing there programming a new location, as well as some of the rest of the assembly system and some of he products that we have worked on together as a large team of engineers. (Note, that the upside-down frame mounted robot cell arrangement was entirely my idea and design and despite initial concerns worked very well!)