Development of flexible, sustainable and automated platform for high accuracy manufacturing operations in medium and large complex components using spherical robot and laser tracker on overhead crane


The main objective is to design a flexible and sustainable platform that automates high precision manufacturing operations in mid- and large sized parts or structures (typically from 10 meters long and above) and to develop a full scale demonstrator.

The proposed system will consist in a conventional spherical robot mounted on a simple structure such as an overhead travelling crane, controlled by a friendly high-level control system with the suitable ICT support. This structure will be able to cover a very large working area, releasing the 100% of shop-floor, and will allow the robot or set of robots to have a huge workspace. It is planned for the working area to be split into discrete areas, by dividing it into sectors shaped as three-dimensional cubes.

Using the latest technology in laser tracker a system will be developed to continuously monitor the position of the robot, and to adapt its behaviour to the on-going measurement, thus achieving the excellent accuracy expected (ie. a tolerance of ±0.4mm in a 100 meters long part). As result the new development will allow very precise manufacturing processes of mid- and large sized complex parts and structures, with tolerances very similar to the high-accuracy achieved for smaller parts standards, not yet reached for large parts in the current state of the art. Furthermore, European factories, including SMEs, will be able to have a very flexible multi-process manufacturing machine, with a very low investment, compared to big machines the accuracy of which is based on their mechanical design.

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Start date: 01-11-2012
End date: 31-10-2015
Total budget - Public funding: 4 345 909,00 Euro - 2 761 000,00 Euro
Call topic: High-performance manufacturing technologies in terms of efficiency (volumes, speed, process capability etc), robustness an (FoF.NMP.2012-4)
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Economic sustainability Flexibility Social sustainability Increasing human achievements in manufacturing systems Environmental sustainability
Reducing the consumption of energy, while increasing the usa... Reducing the consumption of water and other process resource... Material efficiency Waste minimisation

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Manufacturing the products of the future Complex structures, geometries and scale Customised products
Resource efficient, sustainable products Domain 2: Adaptive and smart manufacturing systems

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Advanced manufacturing processes Methods for handling of parts, metrology and inspection Integration of non-conventional technologies and conventiona... Mechatronics Control technologies
Intelligent machinery components, actuators and end-effectors Measurement, condition and performance monitoring technologi... ICT solutions for modelling and simulation tools Skills - Knowledge-workers