Term of Award

Spring 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Engineering (M.S.A.E.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Department

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Committee Chair

Daniel Cox

Committee Member 1

Vladimir Gurau

Committee Member 2

Biswanath Samanta

Abstract

Recently demonstrated robotic assembling technologies for fuel cell stacks used fuel cell components manually pre-arranged in stacks (presenters), all oriented in the same position. Identifying the original orientation of fuel cell components and loading them in stacks for a subsequent automated assembly process is a difficult, repetitive work cycle which if done manually, deceives the advantages offered by automated fabrication technologies of fuel cell components and by robotic assembly processes. We present an innovative robotic technology which enables the integration of automated fabrication processes of fuel cell components with robotic assembly of fuel cell stacks into a fully automated fuel cell manufacturing line. This task, which has not been addressed in the past uses a Yaskawa Motoman SDA5F dual arm robot with integrated machine vision system. The process is used to identify and grasp randomly placed, slightly asymmetric fuel cell components having a total alpha-plus-beta symmetry angle of 720o, to reorient them all in the same position and stack them in presenters for a subsequent robotic assembly process. The dual arm robot technology is selected for increased productivity and ease of gasket handling during reorientation. The initial position and orientation of the gaskets is identified by image analysis using a Cognex machine vision system with fixed camera. The process was demonstrated as part of a larger endeavor of bringing to readiness advanced manufacturing technologies for alternative energy systems, and responds the high priority needs identified by the U.S. Department of Energy for fuel cells manufacturing research and development.

Research Data and Supplementary Material

No

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