Autonomous AssemblyToday's assembly systems must be flexible to quickly adapt to an increasing number and variety of products and a changing volume of demand. To manage these dynamics, flexible, reconfigurable, and autonomous assembly systems have been proposed and partially realized over the past two decades. The flexibility and adaptability is achieved by clustering the assembly system into subsystems and modules that are given a certain degree of autonomy and control themselves in a decentralized manner. This keynote paper presents the general principles of autonomy and the proposed concepts, methods and technologies to realize autonomous processes in assembly systems. Different approaches to design and autonomous operation of assembly will be explained and future trends towards fully autonomous components of an assembly system, as well as autonomous parts and products will be discussed.
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