KoRo: Automated programming of cooperative industrial robots (NCT initial project)

The fields of application of industrial robots are becoming increasingly complex. Among other things, applications with several robots working together in a cooperative manner are becoming increasingly common. However, the equally increasing complexity of the programming is problematic. Within the research project “Automated programming of cooperative industrial robots”, a programming environment is being developed in which such applications can be automatically programmed on the basis of simple graphical inputs.


While writing on a clipboard, a person usually only moves their pen. Two cooperating robots are able to simultaneously move a pen as well as the board in opposite directions to write something. The work is divided between the two robots, which enables the process to be optimized. In almost the same manner many industrial processes can be realized by two cooperating robot arms.


A programming environment will be developed in this research project that will automatically generate programs for cooperating industrial robots on the basis of simple graphical inputs. In principle, the path specification should be input two-dimensionally by the user. A projection to a three dimensional component would then be possible within the automatic program generation.

Intended improvements:

  • Simultaneous movements of components and tools
  • Increased process speed
  • Improved accessibility
  • Simplification of the programming of cooperating industrial robots


The program generation is based on a 3D model of a component and specific inputs from the users. Users only need to provide inputs such as parameters or a two-dimensional sketch of the pathway. In the subsequent step, the sketch is projected onto the component surface, which results in a spatial trajectory. Taking basic constraints into consideration, for example, the orientation of a tool in relation to a component surface, the trajectory is divided into movements for both robots. Finally, the generator produces two robot programs that are coordinated with each other in terms of pathways and time.

Flow for automatic program generation.


The application of adhesive and sealing compounds will be used as a reference process. An adhesive metering system has been integrated into the robot cell for this purpose. The following main tasks will be realized:

  • Construction of the robot cell
  • Production of an intuitive user interface
  • Registering and scanning individual components
  • Generation of cooperative robot programs
  • Implementation of cooperative application processes


The robot cell for this project was completely reconstructed. Two KUKA KR AGILUS Sixx industrial robots, whose controls are coupled, are in the center of the cell. However, numerous other subsystems that are required for the desired process must also be considered in the increased workload. Examples of such subsystems include the metering system for the adhesive, a tool changing system, or the components required to transfer the work piece.

Before the robot programs are generated, the work piece should be mapped as accurately as possible to enable precisely tailored processes for individual work pieces. To this end a 3D scanning system was realized based on the cooperating robot arms. In the process, diverse calibration processes for the system and the sensors used were compiled. Furthermore, the system was extended to colour information (sensor fusion: laser sensor-camera). Initial cooperative robot programs have been generated and successfully tested based on the 3D models generated.


Wagner, Maximilian; Heß, Peter; Reitelshöfer, Sebastian; Franke, Jörg: 3D Scanning of Workpieces with Cooperative Industrial Robot Arms, Proceedings of the 47th International Symposium on Robotics (ISR 2016), Berlin, Germany: VDE-Verlag, 2016, pp. 431-438.

Wagner, Maximilian; Heß, Peter; Reitelshöfer, Sebastian; Franke, Jörg: Self-Calibration Method for a Robot Based 3D Scanning System. In: Proceedings of 2015 IEEE 20th Conference on Emerging Technologies & Factory Automation (ETFA 2015), IEEE, Piscataway, NJ, ISBN: 978-1-4673-7928-1.

Wagner, Maximilian; Heß, Peter; Reitelshöfer, Sebastian; Franke, Jörg: Data Fusion between a 2-D Laser Profile Sensor and a Camera. In: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Informatics in Control, Automation and Robotics (ICINCO 2015), SCITEPRESS, Portugal, ISBN: 978-989-758-122-9.

Wagner, Maximilian; Heß, Peter; Reitelshöfer, Sebastian: Automated programming of cooperating industrial robots. In: Proceedings of the 41st International Symposium on Robotics (ISR/Robotik 2014), VDE, Munich, Germany, ISBN: 978-3-8007-3601-0.

Project participants

Project leader:Prof. Peter Heß
Research associate:Maximilian Wagner, M.Eng.
Final thesis:Christian Beez
Student project groups:Justyna Lenda
Rainer Lehnert, Oleg Licegevic
Dominik Wodtke
Christian Brand, Florian Schemberer
Michael Merz, Florian Palau
Christian Stangl
Joel Kuiekem
Franklin Naha
Steffen Neumeier, Hannes Oeder
Contact:Prof. Peter Heß