Making textile manufacturing adaptive
Flexible handling of textile materials in production is a difficult task. In contrast to other materials like metals, textiles are highly deformable and interact with other objects in a complex physical way. In the context of individualization of cloth production, this makes flexible and adaptive production systems necessary.
In order to enable robots and other handling systems in a manufacturing environment to cope with highly individualized textile products, advanced sensor systems and smart data processing is required. The example that we discuss in the following focuses on dispensing of glue to join textile patches. Within the ReFream project, Yokai and Profactor jointly investigated possibilities to make this process highly adaptive.
A laser sensor system was developed that scans the textile surface with high accuracy in a first step. The result of this process is a 3d reconstruction of the actual textile surface. This reconstruction reflects the actual position and geometry of the material at hand. In a second step, a robot path is automatically extracted from the 3d geometry. The robot is then able to move the dispenser with an accurate working distance relative to the textile surface.
In July 2020, Yokai was present at the laboratory at Profactor to conduct final experiments of the laser sensing system. As no dispenser was available at Profactor, a pen was used to mimic the dispenser head. Results of the system are promising and an integration with a real dispensing head will be investigated as a follow-up activity. In addition, strategies for an implementation of real-time path correction were elaborated by Yokai and Profactor.