Industrial applications of automatic manipulation of flexible materials

Mozafar Saadat, Ping Nan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Citations (Scopus)


Flexible materials are used extensively in a wide range of industrial applications including the manufacture and assembly of garment and footwear products, the packaging industry and aircraft manufacturing. These applications are often extremely labour intensive requiring fast and accurate manipulation of materials by skilled human operators. This has resulted in numerous international research and development efforts to automate certain handling and manipulation processes involving flexible materials. Much of the research has been inspired by real industrial problems, and thus has been mainly sponsored by industry. A variety of innovative techniques and methods have emerged either addressing specific industrial problems, or suggesting a number of generic solutions. This paper closely examines the international research effort of automatic manipulation of flexible materials through a classification of workpieces in terms of their broad geometric shape, industrial applications, and individual processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-442
Number of pages9
JournalIndustrial Robot:
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


  • classification
  • innovation
  • industrial robots


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