Digital Theses Archive


Tesi etd-02172022-155133

Type of thesis
Mechatronics-enabled augmentation of dynamic tasks to increase quality, efficiency, and sustainability in industrial and environmental applications
Scientific disciplinary sector
Istituto di Biorobotica - BIOROBOTICS
relatore Prof. STEFANINI, CESARE
  • Dynamic Tasks
  • Energy Harvesting
  • Eolic Harvester
  • Human-centered Design
  • Increased Efficiency
  • Industry 4.0
  • Mechatronic Augmentation
  • Operator 4.0
  • Regenerative Shock Absorbers
  • Renewable Energy
  • Sustainable Development
  • Welding Tool
Exam session start date
Sustainable Development is one of the most in-depth and debated issues in the socio-economic field of the last fifty years. It is characterized by strong interactions between humans and the biosphere which provides the material necessities for a decent standard of life. <br>In the 21st century, besides the concept of Sustainability, another phenomenon is disruptively emerging: the fourth stage of Industrial Revolution. The key feature of Industry 4.0 is the combination and integration of advanced digital-based and intelligent-based machines and platforms with the organic and dynamic nature distinguishing human beings to cope with old and new socio-economic and environmental challenges. Fundamentally, all those jobs that are based on a codified knowledge will be digitized and automated, while the role of individuals will be likely related to supervisory roles and innovative and critical thinking. This human-centered design aims at optimizing human-machine cooperation to efficiently allocate cognitive and physical labor and distribute tasks between automated agents and humans. The Operator 4.0 generation represents the ‘operator of the future’, a smart and skilled operator who performs ‘work aided’ by machines only if required. It represents a new design and engineering philosophy for adaptive production systems where the focus is on treating automation as a further enhancement of the human’s capabilities. <br>Humans and robots collaborating on a common task form a team, defined as a group of partners with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose and approach it holding themselves mutually accountable and sharing responsibilities. It is usually human task to determine the goal, while it is task of the robot to assist the human and take on his/her intention as its own and therefore as the joint intention of the whole team. <br>In his Ph.D. period, the author engaged in the ecologically and socially sustainable engineering, contributing to technological development, aiming at potential economic advantages, and taking into account specific human and environmental needs. In particular, innovation was introduced by contributing to:<br>(1) Production efficiency and execution quality in the field of Manual Metal Arc (MMA) welding by developing a servo-assistive MMA electrode holder that represents the first attempt to introduce automation in the field of coated electrode welding. The final product proved to be effective in enhancing welding quality by reactively executing automatic corrections of the arc distance with limited overall size and total weight. The findings of this research study constitute a solid base for the industrialization of a complete system to automatically monitor and enhance the manual welding quality in areas that are not easily accessible by the end effector of an anthropomorphic robotic arm.<br><br>(2) Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by increasing fuel efficiency in wheeled vehicles through a dedicated regenerative damper. This project proposes a method to build a regenerative valve by properly select off-the-shelf components. The traditional alternator used on endothermic engine vehicles for recharging the service battery may be replaced by four efficient regenerative dampers, so that no mechanical power would be required from the crankshaft to produce electricity, with consequent decreased fuel consumption. More generally, whenever a pressurized fluid is present in the application at hand, a regenerative valve like the one described in this document can be implemented to produce electric energy for further use.<br><br>(3) Exploitation of the renewable Eolic energy through a dedicated bio-mimetic harvesting system. This research study is the first attempt to harvest Eolic energy coming from polarized wind at low altitude avoiding rotary axial devices that negatively affect the landscape. The final prototypes are bio-mimetic devices resembling big tree leaves, thought to be integrated inside natural landscapes without altering them. They convert kinetic energy of air into electric energy by means of the coupling between a simple mechanics and an electromagnetic part that exploits the induction principles to generate electric current. Smart Bushes can be deployed inside natural environments, such as forests, or in urban or sub-urban context. They are characterised by flexibility of use, and they can be composed of any number of Leaves.<br>Each proposed device, despite born with the idea of being applied in a specific field, is characterized by great versatility of use, i.e., it can be developed in many different ways and adapted to numerous different contexts, constituting the basis for very disruptive future developments and applications. <br>