In the posts for February and March, we would like to introduce you to each of the MirrorLabs partners. MirrorLabs currently consists of seven research institutions distributed over Europe which is shown in the figure below. Today's post will introduce SUPSI which is located in Switzerland.
Within SUPSI (University of Applied Science of Southern Switzerland) the Institute of System and Technologies for Sustainable Production ISTEPS (www.supsi.ch/isteps_en) is involved in MirrorLabs. Key research areas are: Automation and control, Machine learning, High precision measurement systems, Sustainability, and personalization; Simulation technologies.
The Mini Factory produces and assemble a personalized TANGRAM game-set, packaged into diverse boxes. The mini-factory offers a wide set of personalization options.
The Mini-Factory is a manufacturing cell integrating all of the different automation components that can be found in a modern manufacturing environment. The laboratory addresses education, research and development of new RTD approaches as well as of new automation technologies.
The factory is composed of: 1. warehouse with 81 configurable positions; 2. three-axis Cartesian robot to serve the warehouse; 3. laser triangulation sensor coupled with an optical linear encoder to verify the geometrical features of the produced components; 4. advanced transportation system with totally independent carriages based on the concept of the linear motor; 5. control station with PLCs, HMI and motion controllers; 6. set of different tool heads for the robot coupled with an automatic tool change interface; 7. SCARA robotic arm mounted on one carriage of the transportation system, in order to reach and serve all the workstations, equipped with a vision system that ensures its capability of interact with a wide set of different components without the need of dedicated mechanical jigs; 8. a fully operation digital twin; 9. set of manufacturing modules ( automated: FDM 3D printers, laser engraver, milling machine and human assembly stations). 10. a UR5 cobot to collaborate with human in performing some artistic personalization on tangram boxes on customer demand.
Integration in Teaching
The Mini Factory lab has of course educational purposes in the technology areas of Automation and control; I4.0 testbed and inline metrology.
The disciplines addressed in current engineering courses are control systems, distributed control, sensors, and actuators, networked factory, IA industrial applications, SCADA, digital twins, and production systems architectures.