History of Robotics Research and Development of Japan1976Integration, Intelligence, etc.Automatic Bolting Robot

Takeshi UnoCentral Research Laboratory, Hitachi, Ltd.
Masakazu EjiriCentral Research Laboratory, Hitachi, Ltd.
Takeshi TokunagaTaga Works, Hitachi, Ltd.
As a pioneering machine with visual and tactile sensors, an automatic bolting robot for concrete industry was developed in 1973 (Fig. 1). This robot was used for automating the molding process of concrete piles and poles, and fastened bolts arranged side by side on the mold flange before pouring liquid concrete or loosened them after the concrete solidified. This robot is characterized by the technologies that:
図1 ボルト自動締緩ロボットの構成
Fig.1 Construction of the automatic bolting robot
  1. Detect tires, ribs and bolts in real-time by continuously observing the side view of the moving mold by a camera (Fig. 2),
    図2 視覚認識の原理(窓枠法)
    Fig.2 Principles of visual recognition (multiple windowing method)
  2. Verify the detected positions further by using a tactile sensor, and
  3. Execute different actions in response to the detected object types. Namely, in case of tires or ribs, a manipulator takes more or less backward position to avoid bumping, and in case of bolts, it follows the mold motion and fastens or loosens them while the mold is moving.
This robot drew considerable attention from academic and industrial societies, and was recognized as the world-first sensor-based “industrial” intelligent robot. Its vision was soon improved to a simple, high-speed, general-purpose position recognition technique (multiple windowing method) and was widely used in industries as one of the fundamental machine vision technologies.   Award
  • IR-100 Award (USA), 1974
  • Best Paper Award, Pattern Recognition Society (USA), 1978
  • SME's Half-Century Award for the year 1973, Society of Manufacturing Engineers (USA), 1982

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