Automated PCB Testing with Franka Emika Robot

The Franka Emika cobot automates the loading and unloading of electrical test systems for PCBs. This involves the transportation of the PCB into a test system for electrical testing and out again after the test has been completed.

02 Feb, 2022

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The Franka Emika Robot is a flexible and lightweight collaborative robot (cobot). It is designed to conduct accurate and efficient handling duties while posing low risk to humans during interactions in shared workspaces. The cobot performs repetitive and non-ergonomic activities, increasing the efficiency and precision of inspection procedures significantly. One of these activities is printed circuit board (PCB) testing. This requires large quantities (up to several tens of thousands) of PCBs to be inserted into a manual test fixture for in-circuit testing, and then removed after the testing is complete.

The Franka Emika cobot automates the loading and unloading of electrical test systems for PCBs. This involves the transportation of the PCB into a test system for electrical testing and out again after the test has been completed. It then sorts them into good or bad categories based on the test results and attaches a test printout to the board that has been tested. Franka Emika Robot performs sorting tasks that necessitate vision-based judgments using vision and machine learning. As seen in the video, the cobot is used to visually locate, pick and place PCBs on the tester, then deposit the PCBs on collection trays, which are separated into good (approved) and bad (discarded) categories.

Inspired by the human sense of touch, Franka Emika Robot is equipped with link-side torque sensors in all 7 axes. This allows the cobot to evaluate products with tight tolerances while maintaining consistency in its motions. In fact, when it comes to small/fragile parts like PCBs, it is critical to be extremely repeatable in order to test the PCB and avoid damaging anything during the process. The cobot can actively perceive its surroundings because of its high resolution, accuracy, and repeatability. The Franka Emika cobot has a repeatability of 0.02mm and can pick up very small parts weighing less than 0.5kg.

Speed is of the essence in most product testing applications. Granulated speed control can make a significant difference in product testing, and it can also significantly impact the cycle of time. The Franka Emika cobot incorporates the features of a classical stiff industrial robot with a negligible path deviation even at high velocities of up to 2 m/s. This enables reliable, precise, and quick PCB testing.

Printed Circuit Board testing requires force feedback. The Franka Emika cobot incorporates a force-torque sensor, which allows consistent force/pressure to be applied to the PCB. This means that the force can be lessened at a certain point while the information is recorded and stored in a database. As seen in the video, the cobot may be required to carry the PCB, and then open and close doors in order to complete the PCB testing. This necessitates the use of a flexible gripper. The gripping tasks carried out by traditional industrial robots require precise station programming that follows industry best practices. Franka Emika Robots gripper is a very sensitive grab with a force of 70N and a stroke of 80 millimeters.

02 Feb, 2022

More about Franka Emika

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Franka Emika is a young high-tech company from Munich, Germany, dedicated to making robotics accessible to everyone and helping humans perform unpleasant and even dangerous tasks. To achieve this, the company has combined human-centered design with German engineering.

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