Globalization and miniaturization - these trends in production technology cause R&D activities, focused on agile microassembly systems with autonomous subcomponents. Besides product and processes flexibility, agility in small production volumes can be mainly achieved by controlling the system in different operational modes and switching between those in an efficient way. Therefore an agile micro-assembly structure is presented, which can be controlled both in manual mode by teleoperation and in semi-automatic mode. To assure a highly efficient use of production resources in all operational modes, several cooperating sensor components have been developed. Thus a human operator can focus on the main processes, while secondary processes like adjusting and calibrating of sensor-modules are controlled by autonomous functions. In automatically controlled systems the same agents can speed up the main production processes and minimize set up times. In order to switch simply between manual and automatic mode, a smart teaching procedure is integrated into the control framework.
Micro-production is meeting new challenges due to the continuing miniaturization of modern products and the increasing variety of emerging hybrid microsystems, which are mainly produced manually. For small lot production, teleoperated micro-assembly systems offer new perspectives in improving manual assembly processes. By using smart sensor information, teleoperated systems enable an operator to feel physically present in a distant environment. In contrast to conventional sensor applications, smart sensors are encapsulated and intelligent sensor modules with integrated functions for data processing, status monitoring and autonomous dynamic parameter adaptation. To investigate the correlation between smart sensor data and immersion, a teleoperated micro-assembly system has been developed. To achieve a close-to-reality impression and to improve the dexterity of the operator, several smart sensor modules, including virtual sensors and shared sensor components, are integrated into the system. If required, sensor signals are enhanced and transformed into other modalities in order to control the micro-assembly system more intuitively. Due to flexibility requirements, all sensors are adaptable to new environments. Visual supervision is achieved through a precise optical system. All sensor components have been tested within an international teleoperation scenario consisting of a local operator in Munich, Germany, and a distant operator in Pittsburgh, USA.
Innovative production processes and strategies from batch production to high volume scale are playing a decisive role in generating microsystems economically. In particular assembly processes are crucial operations during the production of microsystems. Due to large batch sizes many microsystems can be produced economically by conventional assembly techniques using specialized and highly automated assembly systems. At laboratory stage microsystems are mostly assembled by hand. Between these extremes there is a wide field of small and middle sized batch production wherefore common automated solutions rarely are profitable. For assembly processes at these batch sizes a flexible automated assembly system has been developed at the iwb. It is based on a modular design. Actuators like grippers, dispensers or other process tools can easily be attached due to a special tool changing system. Therefore new joining techniques can easily be implemented. A force-sensor and a vision system are integrated into the tool head. The automated assembly processes are based on different optical sensors and smart actuators like high-accuracy robots or linear-motors. A fiber optic sensor is integrated in the dispensing module to measure contactless the clearance between the dispense needle and the substrate. Robot vision systems using the strategy of optical pattern recognition are also implemented as modules. In combination with relative positioning strategies, an assembly accuracy of the assembly system of less than 3 μm can be realized. A laser system is used for manufacturing processes like soldering.