In order to pursue the dream combination of human flexibility and robot automation, human-robot collaboration (HRC) is increasingly being investigated through academic research and industrial scenarios. HRC involves several challenges ranging from safety and comfort of the human to process efficiency and cost of robot operation. Achieving the right balance between these aspects is critical to implementing a safe, profitable and sustainable HRC environment. In this paper, we propose the use of simulation-based optimization (SBO) for assembly task allocation and scheduling for a HRC working cell in which an industrial robot assists a human worker. The list of product assembly operations are classified according to the capability of human worker and robot, and the sequencing constraints on them are the initial inputs of the method. The operators’ ergonomic load scores and cycle time of the assembly process are achieved by simulation. The optimized solutions are sorted to find the trade-offs between ergonomics and cycle time. We demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed approach through an industrial case study.
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