Lean Intelligent Assembly Automation

LIAA aims to keep assembly jobs in Europe by creating and implementing a framework that enables humans and robots to truly to work together in assembly tasks. Co-working allows the senses and intelligence of the human to be complemented by the strength and endurance of the automation and so obtains the best from each of them, reducing repetitive injuries and costs and enhancing job satisfaction and the average length of time that a worker can continue in the same job. The LIAA framework will be developed not from theory, but instead from the extensive experience partners have gained through many previous projects. It will not be a thought experiment, but applied to create solutions to five real use cases from five different areas of industrial assembly. In this way the framework will be forced not only to be useable and functional but also general enough to be broadly applicable. A LIAA work station can be used either by human or robot alone or by both together, and the instructions for tasks will be written for both, by formalising a modular skill hierarchy and creating both human and machine instruction sets for each skill. People will be able to keep track of what the automation is doing and is about to do via an augmented reality (AR) display. The robot will keep track of what the human is doing and is about to do via a dedicated camera-based system and some intelligent prediction algorithms. To date, safety regulations only cover very limited types of human-robot interaction in industry. The inclusion of Denmark’s Notified Body as a partner in LIAA ensures that not only will all our solutions be properly risk assessed for actual use in industry but also that our experiences will feed back to those responsible for drafting new EU robot co-worker safety regulations. The direct final outcome of LIAA will be five working co-worker solutions to diverse industrial assembly use cases and a strong unifying framework providing a basis for future co-worker solutions.
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