Audi has installed a fenceless robot at its Ingolstadt factory in Germany, thus enabling a human-robot cooperation on the assembly line. The robot works “hand-in-hand” with Audi’s employees to assemble the A4, A5 and Q5 models who up until now had to bend over material boxes to take out the coolant expansion tanks. While this might seem like a simple task, with time this repetitive action could lead to back problems but this won’t happen as the robot will now take care of this job.
Known internally as “PART4you”, the robot installed in Audi’s Ingolstadt factory features a camera and a built-in suction cup used to pick up the parts from the boxes and handing them over to the assembly workers. There isn’t a safety barrier between the robot and the employees and according to Johann Hegel, Head of Assembly Technology Development, “the robot becomes an assembly assistant operating at the same speed as the assembly worker – and not the other way around.”
The employees at the Ingolstadt factory are not in any danger as the robot boasts a soft protective skin with integrated safety sensors. Moreover, PART4you has been granted with the necessary certificate from the employers’ liability insurance association.
Audi says similar robots will be introduced at their factories outside Germany in the future.