The Robotics Laboratory

(Department of Mechanical Engineering)

Robotics Laboratory
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742-3118


Also affiliated with the Center for Automation Research is the Robotics Laboratory of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, which is directed by Prof. Jackson C.S. Yang. It was established in 1983, with primary activities in education, research and industrial interaction.

The laboratory provides training, guidance and mentorship to the university's students, conducts research towards the development and improvement of new generation robots, and maintains cooperation with industry in projects of mutual interest and benefit. Facilities The Robotics Laboratory at the present time has a staff of about 20, including regular and visiting faculty, visiting researchers, graduate students, and other support personnel. Its funding comes from the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Standards and Technology, various government agencies and industrial sponsors.

The laboratory divisions

Industrial Robots
The Industrial Robots Division is equipped with standard robots and robotics supporting facilities necessary to provide robotics training in undergraduate education and guidance to the university's graduate students. In this division the laboratory has four robots: Unimation Puma 550 and 560 Robots, a Cincinnati Milacron T3 Industrial Robot and a General Electric A4 Robot. It is also equipped with a G.E. PN-2304 Vision System, a Selspot Optoelectronic 3D Precision Position Measurement System, and various machinery such as an automatic robot welding Hobart MegaMig 650 RVS system with Mega-Con 111 controller, and personal computers and conveyers.

New Robot Development
The New Robot Development Division is engaged in research and development of robotic hardware and software for automation and industrial applications. A significant part of the laboratory's efforts is directed towards cooperating with Maryland State industries in designing and building new robots and automatic mechanisms. This cooperation is being conducted through the Maryland Industrial Partnership program (MIPS) and has been very successful. The laboratory developed a new three-degree-of-freedom tripod, lead screw gantry robot, with a two additional degree-of-freedom end-effector. The robot is controlled by a laboratory-developed low-cost digital controller, based on fast 80386 Intel microprocessors. Software incorporating a new trajectory planning concept has been developed. A Teaching System, suitable for various industrial applications such as fiber glass spraying, painting, welding, gluing and assembling, has also been developed. This robot system has the potential of being used in a variety of industrial applications. Another research activity in the New Robot Development Division involves the adaptation of Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) concepts to engineering construction. The laboratory recently developed a gantry robot for use in a fixed construction workstation. This five-degree-offreedom robot was built to cut stone, concrete, bricks, and can perform grinding, milling, drilling, honing, polishing, painting and curving operations. Expert system and artificial intelligence techniques are being incorporated into a system that will automatically guide all the above mentioned capabilities. Some initial intelligent software has already been produced. The tested CAD/CAM system can be used to cut complex stone shapes automatically, without any operator intervention. Under a recent project, "Automated Sampling of Bioreactor," a computer controlled sample valve for extraction of samples from vessels automatically, without contaminating the contents has been developed. In another MIPS project, the Robotics Laboratory has produced an advanced motion control system for a six-degree-of-freedom gantry robot that provides motion to an L.A.I. Company waterjet cutting system. The laboratory has capabilities and equipment to produce industrial automated control systems, using fast computers, programmable controllers, linear and matrix vision arrays and laser scanners. It has been working on automated inspection of integrated circuit leads. This is a MIPS project with the goal of developing a high technology inspection system for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation. It is planned that the system, based on laser, vision and robotics technology, will be used by Westinghouse Manufacturing Systems. Recently a 3D graphics, animation, and simulation capability has been added to the laboratory's facilities using a Silicon Graphics Computer.

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Last updated $Date: 1996/10/22 18:34:52 $