Robotic Arm Manufacturing Cell

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Denso Robotic Arm

Team Name Team CSRM
Team Members
  • Reb Revels
  • Cameron Spaulding
  • Michael Meyer
  • Smirthya Somaskantha Iyer
  • Duration Summer - Fall 2017
    Faculty Advisers Dr. Steven Beyerlein
    Mentor Alex Olson
    Previous Projects

    Team CSRM is tasked with restoring the robotic arms within the manufacturing cell to working condition, and designing simple manufacturing processes that can be used as demonstrations in a future course on robotic manufacturing at the University. We also want to install a vision system on the robots to remotely check the progress of tasks that the robot is doing.



    In Spring 2013 The Boeing Company donated DENSO robotic arms to The University of Idaho College of Engineering. That fall Mechanical and Electrical Engineering students, as a part of Team Roboshow, were tasked to learn basic programming of the robotic arms and create a work-cell for the arms. Their work-cell incorporated multiple safety features as well as a clear poly-carbonate enclosure for public demonstration. The team was able to successfully program the robot to use a dry-erase marker to create logos and patterns on a white board.


    The following year another design team, known as Team Vandalbot, was formed to design a manufacturing process which could assemble various rivet and nut-plate assemblies in order to automate a repetitive task currently done by factory workers. The team was able to demonstrate this process and provide documentation for future teams.

    Summer-Fall 2016

    Manual Cover Page.
    Team Do All Robotics Drawing program

    During the Summer and Fall of 2016 team Team Do All Robotics completely redesigned the robotic manufacturing cell. They made the cell larger which allowed for operators to have easier access to the robots for things like maintenance or changing end effectors. They also made the work cell fully modular allowing future teams to rearrange the cell for their specific needs. New pedestals for the robots were also designed because the originals were very unsteady. The team also performed stress analysis on the new pedestals to ensure they wouldn't break or fall over during operation. The team also programmed the robots to do tasks such as stack cups and write with a marker on a board. Finally the team also created a simple beginners manual that included all the basics needed to run the robot.

    Design Task[edit]

    Problem Statement

    The Mechanical Engineering Department wants to use the Denso Arms in a course on robotic manufacturing. Our main goal is to design a manufacturing process that can be used as a demonstration in this course. We also want to design a vision system that can be integrated into the robot arms so that the process can be done with almost no human interaction.


    1. Design and setup a manufacturing process that the robot arms can perform.

    2. Create a vision system using cameras and sensors so that a person outside the cell can see in detail if the process is working as intended and so the robot can identify between different parts

    3. Fix the Interlock safety system that shuts down the robot if the cell door is opened.

    4. Create documentation for how to connect the wires of the robot so that they may be unplugged and moved easily if needed.

    Design Specifications[edit]

    Csrm specs table.JPG

    Manufacturing Process[edit]

    Process Details

    Manufacturing Process Flowchart

    The manufacturing process that the robot arms will demonstrate is fastening screws to two different plates. One plate will be a 5" x 6" rectangular plate with four holes one on each corner and the other plate will be a hexagon with 6 holes also arranged with one on each corner. The plates will all start on one holder and will be mixed up. One robot will then pick up a plate from the holder and take it to a scanner where it will scan a barcode at the bottom of the plate. Each type of plate will have a different code and the robot will know which process to run based on which code was scanned. The first robot will then pass the plate to the second robot where the second robot will fasten the screws. Once the screws are fastened the first robot will pick up the plate again and sort it into the correct outbound holder. This will be repeated for all 6 plates.


    The fixtures that we designed for this manufacturing process includes two different types of plates to have screws fastened to them. One plate is hexagonal and the other is rectangular. There is also an inbound plate holder and an outbound plate holder as well as another plate to secure our plates while they are being fastened.

    Part Description
    Csrm rectplate.PNG Rectangular Plate to be Fastened by the Robot
    Csrm hex plate.PNG Hexagonal Plate to be Fastened by the Robot
    Csrm inholder.PNG This part holds the plates and waits for the robot to pick them up
    Csrm outholder.PNG Holder that the plates will be sorted to after they have been fastened
    Csrm tablefix.PNG Fixture that holds the plates in place while they are being fastened by the robot

    Screw Ramp

    We needed a way to dispense screws so that the robot could go to the same position for each screw that it needed to pick up. After testing many different designs we chose to use a ramp. The ramp can hold all the screws required for the manufacturing process. The robot can then move over the ramp with a magnetic tip screw driver to pick up the screw. Because it is possible that the screw won't be picked up straight or can slip a sleeve was also created where the robot could move the screw to straighten it out before moving to fasten it to the plate.

    Part Description
    Csrm Ramp.JPG Ramp assembly showing the ramp with screws in it
    Block.JPG Straightening sleeve to align the screws before fastening.

    Robot Programming[edit]

    WINcaps Software

    The robot is programmed using a specific software from Denso called WINcaps. This software has the capability to write programs for the robots as well as run simulations of those programs. CAD files can also be uploaded to this program to get a more specific simulation involving parts from the users process.

    Demonstration of Final Process

    Teaching Pendant

    The other method of programming involves the teaching pendant. Through the teaching pendant a user can manually choose positions then teach these positions to the robot. This allows the process to be precisely created in a much more efficient way than trying to type coordinates into the robot.

    Teaching Pendant interface

    Air Actuation

    The robots have the capability to use air to operate tools on their end effectors. This actuation of the air is controlled by solenoid valves which are controlled by electric signals sent from the robot controller. These signals are sent from the controller using the CN20 cable provided by Denso. This cable is connected to the back of the robot and the Hand I/O on the robot controller. Actuating the air on the robot allowed us to pick up our parts and move them around the cell.


    Vision System[edit]

    Dataman 260s Scanner

    The team was also tasked with creating a vision system for the robot. The goal of this system is to differentiate between the different shaped plates in the process. A Cognex Dataman 260s bar-code scanner was chosen for this application. This scanner has the capability to scan codes that are placed on the parts then send a string of data to the controller that will give the robot a different action to take depending on which code is scanned.

    The scanner can be calibrated for different brightness and exposure settings in the provided setup tool and it can be trained to read different types of images using the built in train image button.

    Dataman Setup Tool

    The scanner is programmed through the provided Dataman Setup tool using the JavaScript programming language. The scanner can be programmed to send a signal through many communication types. These types are directly through the I/O, through an RS232 connection or through an Ethernet connection. The connection that we chose was an Ethernet connection because this would allow us to send signals to our PC and both controllers simultaneously.

    Scanning a Part

    Team Members[edit]


    Reb Revels

    My name is Reb Revels. I am a Mechanical Engineering student at the University of Idaho. I am from Lewiston Idaho and enjoy long walks on the beach.

    Cameron Spaulding

    I am a Mechanical Engineering major from Boise. I've always been interested in learning how things work and building things so I decided to go into engineering. Other hobbies of mine include running,skiing,hiking and camping.

    Michael Meyer

    I am a transfer student from College of Idaho, where I was studying math and physics, and have been a part of the Mechanical Engineering program at University of Idaho for four years. I was part of the College of Idaho Men's Soccer program for three years. I hope to one day have a job in the field of robotics.

    Smirthya Somaskantha Iyer

    I am an international transfer student from Sri Lanka. I have been at the University of Idaho for 2 years and I'm pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I am applying for graduate school and I want to get a PhD in Robotics.