Robotized Production Methods for Special Electric Machines

  • Datum:
  • Plats: Polhemsalen, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala
  • Doktorand: Hultman, Erik
  • Om avhandlingen
  • Arrangör: Elektricitetslära
  • Kontaktperson: Hultman, Erik
  • Disputation

A research project on renewable energy conversion from ocean waves to electricity was started at the Division of Electricity at Uppsala University (UU) in 2001. The Wave Energy Converter (WEC) unit developed in this project is intended to be used in large offshore WEC farms and has therefore been designed with large-scale production in mind. The concept has now also been commercialized by the spin

An essential part of the UU WEC is the linear direct-drive generator. This thesis presents the pilot work on developing robotized production methods for this special electric machine. The generator design is here investigated and four different backbreaking, monotone, potentially hazardous and time consuming manual production tasks are selected for automation. A robot cell with special automation equipment is then developed and constructed for each task. Simplicity, reliability and flexibility are prioritized and older model pre-owned industrial robots are used throughout the work. The robot cells are evaluated both analytically and experimentally, with focus on full scale experiments. It is likely that the developed production methods can be applied also for other similar electric machines.

The main focus in the thesis is on robotized stator cable winding. The here presented robot cell is, to the knowledge of the author, the first fully automated stator cable winding setup. Fully automated winding with high and consistent quality and high flexibility is demonstrated. Significant potential cost savings compared to manual winding are also indicated. The robot cell is well prepared for production, but further work is required to improve its reliability.

The other three developed robot cells are used for stator stacking, surface mounting of permanent magnets on translators and machining of rubber discs. All robot cell concepts are experimentally validated and considerable potential cost savings compared to manual production are indicated. Further work is however required with regards to autonomy and reliability.

Finally, the thesis presents a pedagogical development work connected to the research on robotized production methods. A first cycle course on automation and robot engineering is here completely reworked, as it is structured around three real-world group project tasks. The new course is evaluated from the examination results, the students’ course evaluations and the feedback from the teachers during six years. The students greatly appreciated the new course. It is indicated that the developed teaching approach is effective in teaching both classical and modern engineering skills.