Usually, the automation process of an assembly plant means robots work separated from the human force, doing heavy tasks like taking care of the welding or processing sheet metal. Now, in a premiere, at a Volkswagen facility humans and robots work side-by side.
The VW engine plant in Salzgitter is now equipped with a robotic arm that works side by side with the right people and helps them when installing delicate elements, such as glow plugs.
According to the robotic arm’s provider, the Danish manufacturer Universal Robots, this “collaborative robot” is a world’s first, a record that was promptly backed by Volkswagen.
“Through the use of robots without fences the human workers can work together hand in hand with the robot. In this way, the robot is the production assistant and as such the employees are liberated of ergonomically unfavorable works “, explained Jürgen Häfner, project manager at the VW plant in Salzgitter.
To date, employees working on the now collaborative task should have entered the delicate glow plugs, barely visible in the cylinder head holes, hunched over and with a corresponding strain on the back.