Flexible Automation 

Advanced manufacturing and assembly of discrete products require flexible automation technologies to enable higher production efficiencies and improved final product quality. This is especially true in manufacturing of products characterized by high product mix and variable production volumes. While industrial robots enable tremendous flexibility in manufacturing and assembly, they lack the accuracy required for precision manufacturing and assembly tasks. 

Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI) and Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM) affiliated Georgia Tech faculty and researchers are engaged in basic and applied research to enable the development of flexible automation technologies for precision manufacturing tasks that are currently not automated and/or are challenging to automate.

Flexible automation for advanced manufacturing research is focused on the following topics:

  • Accurate industrial robotics for automation of precision manufacturing processes with a focus on external sensing and feedback control methods for robot trajectory error compensation
  • Use of data-driven methods for modeling various aspects of industrial robot behavior
  • Robotic manufacturing capability that integrates additive, subtractive, and other processes into a hybrid flexible manufacturing system
  • Robotics for biomanufacturing applications

Work in these areas is supported by industry and government sponsors. A unique aspect of several projects is the translational work happening in close collaboration with industry personnel on-site at the Boeing Manufacturing Development Center, housed within the Applied Manufacturing Pilot Facility (AMPF) at Georgia Tech. Additionally, work in this area is supported by IRIM. 

Georgia Tech is also an active member of the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Manufacturing Innovation Institute headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA.  

Two students with an industrial robot in the Applied Manufacturing Pilot Facility (AMPF).

Two students with an industrial robot in the Applied Manufacturing Pilot Facility (AMPF).

Accurate robotic milling utilizing closed-loop wireless force feedback control of a six degree-of-freedom industrial robot.

Faculty and Research Collaborators at GT

Konrad Ahlin, Ph.D., Research Engineer II 
Stephen Balakirsky, Ph.D., Chief Scientist - Aerospace, Transportation & Advanced Systems Laboratory and Director of Technical Initiatives, Parker H. Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience
Matthew Baxter, Research Engineer II 
Gary McMurray, Associate Director, Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM)
Shreyes Melkote, Ph.D., Morris M. Bryan, Jr. Professorship in Mechanical Engineering