Audi is taking an unconventional approach to assemble its RS 5 Coupe: having humans work side-by-side with robots on the model’s CFRP roofs.
As the OEM explained in a recent press release, inside its plant in Ingolstadt, Germany, a robot named KLARA (a German acronym that translates to “adhesive application with robot assistance” in English) is assisting in the adhesive process for the roofs.
The human-robot collaboration on each roof is a multi-step process that begins with a human employee placing the CFRP roof on a rotary table and tilts it. The application of adhesive is triggered by pressing and holding a button. An illuminated ring indicates when KLARA has precisely applied adhesive over a length of more than five meters. The robot then signals that the roof is ready for installation. The employee takes the roof with the aid of a handling device and installs it in the car.
As Audi notes, the CFRP roof is optional in the RS 5 Coupe and is significantly larger than comparable roof systems. The OEM believes a human would therefore not be able to apply the adhesive as reliably and accurately as KLARA.
Unlike conventional robots, KLARA does not require a protective fence, which means that the working spaces of human and machine blend into one. This saves considerable space at the assembly line and allows HRC to be integrated into the production line. The employee is in control, initiates the application of adhesive and can halt the process at any time. Sensors in the robot arm recognize when a human is touched and automatically stop any movement in the case of danger. KLARA also indicates any danger with the illuminated ring: It lights up red if there is any disturbance.
All equipment components were preassembled on a base plate. This allowed KLARA to be installed and put into operation within a short time. Integration took place without any interference in the existing assembly line. An alternative solution for applying adhesive to the new roofs would only have been possible with far greater effort and expense.