Robotic Cell for Construction Scotland Innovation Centre

Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC) had a requirement for a robotic cell with a variety of end effectors in order to develop and evaluate a range of manufacturing processes.

There is a big push within the industry to minimise the amount of work performed onsite, and perform as much as possible in the factory, to reduce health and safety risks related to handling heavy windows on site.

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We provided the design, manufacture, installation and initial commissioning of a modular and configurable cell integrating the following components:

  • KUKA KR210 R2700 Quantec robot
  • KUKA SafeOperation to maximise the space available within the cell whilst ensuring the robot cannot operate outside the cell guarding
  • Automatic tool changer
  • Control system PLC
  • Safety system and safety related equipment
  • System control software for simple program creation, program selection, cell sequencing, and safety monitoring
  • Robot end effectors
    • Vision system end effector
    • Window gripper end effector
    • Nailer end effector
    • Slot cutter end effector
    • Machining spindle end effector
  • Vision software toolset with web application to configure the vision system
Vision system end effector

An end effector with a monochrome camera for image acquisition.

It works in conjunction with Loop Technology’s vision software toolset which enables barcodes to be read, and corners and rounds to be found relative to a given position.

This allows CSIC to program the robot to automatically determine the exact position of an object or feature of interest. Without it, their positions within the cell must be known. For example, a window and its placement target would need to be lined up in the exact same place every time in order to place it accurately. The vision system provides the essential flexibility required for a highly adaptable process.

Window gripper end effector

A 2.6m long x 1.5m wide pick and place end effector with suitable contact and adhesion to handle up to 120kg.

It is comprised of a manually adjustable array of suction cups that can be repositioned in all axes for a completely customisable set up – including Z axis adjustments.

This allows CSIC to handle a wide range of windows, including protruding or recessed windows within the same frame.

Nail inserter

An end effector that can operate hand held power tools with sequential triggers.

It utilises a solenoid to pull a finger trigger and a modular carriage mechanism to depress the nose to satisfy a tools safety feature which requires engagement before firing.

This allows CSIC to safely automate the use of various hand-held power tools such as nailers and staplers.

Slot cutter

An end effector with angle grinder.

This allows CSIC to use it as a slot cutter to produce the desired kerf to create slots in wooden panels.

Machining spindle

A machining end effector with high-speed milling spindle.

This allows CSIC to perform machining with a large working envelope.


One of the many challenges of this project included the recoil from the nailer presented forces into the robot which influenced the position of the tool. It was difficult to compensate for these forces which were not only difficult to measure accurately, but also highly variable and dependent on the hardness of each material.

This was overcome by designing a bespoke counter force sliding rail to eliminate the effect on the robot. It was also designed to accommodate a variety of interchangeable hand tools to reduce the cost of installing and implementing additional tools.

Another challenge was the general safety around making hand tools safe for automated use. This required an extensive risk assessment to develop specific risk control measures, the careful definition of tool safety zones using KUKA Safe Operation, and localised guarding where required.


The robotic cell provides CSIC the ability to perform in-house development, evaluation and demonstration of a range of ground-breaking manufacturing techniques at their innovation centre.


If you are interested in talking to us about a similar project, please contact us.

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