Service Robots for Production

General information

Lightweight manipulators and automated guided vehicles are currently used in many areas of industry. However, because the work space of manipulators is often severely restricted, application potentials can be significantly extended by combining both systems to create a mobile manipulator. For example, mobile manipulators can help workers at your assembly stations. Because they are not fixed, they can move around from one place to another.

Expertise and sample projects

Developed at Fraunhofer IPA, the mobile manipulator “rob@work 3” integrates all components for all sub-areas of service robotics onto an omnidirectional platform that guarantees mobility even in cramped industrial conditions. On the basis of natural and/or artificial landmarks, the system navigates its way around using different combinations of sensors (e.g. 2D/3D cameras, laser scanners, IMU, RFIDs, indoor GPS). A synchronized control of the mobile platform and manipulator extends the work space. The mobile platform enables the lightweight arm to move around an object. For example, an adhesive or sealant can be applied all around the object in an uninterrupted process. Under normal circumstances, this would be impossible due to the limited range of the robot’s work space.

The respective software for the two-arm assistive system allows collision-free planning of the arm in space. All interfaces are available to users as part of the open source project ROS (Robot Operating System).

The goal of the project PRACE was to develop highly-adaptable two-arm mobile robot systems that are especially suited for manufacturing small product series. These fulfill the increasing demands for flexibility in production. It is important that the robot moves in a similar way to its human counterpart and at the same speed. It can learn this by demonstration.

Our technical expertise and longstanding experience in designing and developing industrial service robot solutions offer you numerous advantages:

  • Minimum development effort thanks to the high level of integration of the platform and availability of basic functions
  • Shorter development times to start application experiments faster
  • Fast implementation of complex application scenarios
  • Evaluation and demonstration of specific robot functions


Fraunhofer IPA helps you to design and develop applications for industrial service robots:

  • Feasibility studies including experimental setups of industrial tasks
  • Assistance in the development of service robots for production for industrial application
  • Design, development and construction of new assistive service robots for manufacturing tasks
  • Implementation on the modular omnidirectional development platform “rob@work 3”, which integrates the basic functions of mobile manipulation systems
  • Consulting and support in the use of ROS (Robot Operating System)

Cloud-based Cooperative Mobile Robot Navigation visualized with Augmented Reality

rob@work 3 – Der Inkubator für die industrielle Servicerobotik

rob@work 3: Omnidirektionale Antriebsmodule

Loading and Operation of Dish Washers for Automatic Endurance Tests