Purpose - This paper aims to investigate automatic assembly planning for robot and manual assembly. Design/methodology/approach - The octree decomposition technique is applied to approximate a computer-aided design model with an octree representation which is then used to generate robot and manual assembly plans. An assembly planning system able to generate assembly plans was developed to build these prototype models. Findings - Octree decomposition is an effective assembly planning tool. Assembly plans can automatically be generated for robot and manual assembly using octree models. Research limitations/implications - One disadvantage of the octree decomposition technique is that it approximates a part model with cubes instead of using the actual model. This limits its use and applications when complex assemblies must be planned, but in the context of prototyping can allow a rough component to be formed which can later be finished by hand. Practical implications - Assembly plans can be generated using octree decomposition, however, new algorithms must be developed to overcome its limitations. Originality/value - This paper has proved that the octree decomposition technique is an effective assembly planning tool. As a result, an assembly planning system has been developed. Assembly plans for automatic and manual assembly can be generated automatically by the proposed system, which is a novelty since there are no fully automatic assembly planning systems for manual assembly reported in the literature. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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