Ph.D. Proposal Presentation by Sebastien J. Wolff
Friday, February 4, 2005

(Dr. Imme Ebert-Uphoff, Chair)

"Statically Stable Assembly Sequence Generation and Structure Optimization for a Large Number of Identical Building Blocks"

Abstract

This proposal addresses the development of optimal assembly sequences for modular building blocks. The underlying concept behind this proposal is an automated device that could take a virtual shape such as a CAD file, and automatically decide how to physically build the shape using simple, identical building blocks. This would entail selecting where to place blocks inside the shape and generating an efficient assembly sequence that a robot could use to build the shape. The proposed work will use blocks that have been defined in a general, parametrized manner such that their model can be applied to a variety of scenarios in the future.

The primary focus of this work is to develop a two-level rule-based approach to assembly sequences. This will be accomplished by formalizing and justifying both high-level and lower-level assembly rules. Application of these rules will help develop assembly sequences rapidly. Most existing research focuses on complete enumeration of every possible assembly sequence and evaluation of most possible sequences. This, however, is not practical for systems with a large number of parts. This thesis seeks to develop methods of generating assembly sequences that minimize assembly time while ensuring static stability at each step of the assembly.

This work will also attempt to develop methods by which stable assembly sequences can be generated in conjunction with optimizing the structure. Preliminary structure optimization research has been done by the author using genetic algorithms to solve the multi-objective optimization problem in two dimensions, and will be extended to three dimensions. While doing so, the proposed work will seek to allow feedback from an assembly sequence generator to impact the structure optimization.