Factory-in-a-day aims at improving the competitiveness of European manufacturing SMEs by removing the primary obstacle for robot automation; installation time and installation cost. The high costs result in payback periods, making the investment in robotized automation economically unattractive. Factory-in-a-day will reduce the installation time (and the related cost) from months to one single day. The project follows the steps of such an installation day.
(1) New standardized arms, mobile platforms, and hands are combined with 3D printed custom parts to be designed in a matter of hours from novel design templates.
(2) Robots are placed in an unaltered production location, where new self-calibration routines and a novel software framework allow effortless interconnection of robot components and existing machinery.
(3) For selected application domains (e.g. mould finishing and assembly) a set of novel learnable skills (cf. "Apps") allow rapid teaching of the production tasks.
(4) The robots collaborate safely with humans in a shared un-fenced workspace due to safe robot arms with dynamic obstacle avoidance, made possible by novel proximity-sensing skin and online path re-planning algorithms. Augmented reality lets the robots project their intended motion plans to inform the workers.
(5) Finally, Factory-in-a-day also innovates the organizational aspects of robot installation.
The project is driven by Europe’s top robotics researchers (e.g. TUD, KUL, TUM, Fraunhofer) and industry players (Philips, Universal Robotics, Siemens, Materialise). The second-largest temp agency Randstad and its participating client SMEs will test hybrid human-robot teams performing short-batch production work. Together with novel certification procedures proposed in Factory-in-a-day and strong , Europe-wide dissemination targeted at manufacturing industry, the technological and organizational innovations are poised to radically change the robot automation sector.