Smart integrated Robotics system for SMEs controlled by Internet of Things based on dynamic manufacturing processes


HORSE aims to bring a leap forward in the manufacturing industry proposing a new flexible model of smart factory involving collaboration of humans, robots, AGV’s (Autonomous Guided Vehicles) and machinery to realize industrial tasks in an efficient manner.

HORSE proposes to foster technology deployment towards SMEs by developing a methodological and technical framework for easy adaptation of robotic solutions and by setting up infrastructures and environments that will act as clustering points for selected application areas in manufacturing and for product life cycle management (production and/or maintenance and/or product end of life). The main strategy builds on existing technology and research results in robotics and smart factories and integrates them in a coherent framework.

The suitability of the resulting framework is not only driven by but will be validated with end-users - manufacturing companies- in two steps: In the first, the joint iterative development of the framework together with selected end-users will take place (Pilot Experiments). In the second, its suitability and transferability to further applications will be validated with new end users, which are recruited by an Open Call mechanism. The novel approaches of HORSE are the integration of concepts such as (physical) human-robot interaction, intuitive human-machine interfaces, and interaction between different robots and machines into an integrated environment with pre-existing machines and workflows. Safety of the human worker as well as reduction of health risks through physical support by the robotized equipment will contribute to better overall manufacturing processes.

In these, pre-defined workflows to be customized are the basis for servitisation, for the entire value chain that allow rapid reconfiguration of the robots based collaborative production processes. HORSE aims to foster advanced manufacturing technology deployment by industries and especially SMEs.

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Start date: 11-01-2015
End date: 30-04-2020
Total budget - Public funding: 8 865 871,00 Euro - 7 945 601,00 Euro
Call topic: ICT Innovation for Manufacturing SMEs (I4MS) - Innovation (FoF.ICT.2015.09.a_Innovation)
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Innovation Action (IA)
Validation experiments - equipment assessments (I4MS)

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Significant innovations and achievements Significance of the results for SMEs
Lessons learned

    HORSE initiated the transformation of technology labs into Competence Centres closer to industry and the regional ecosystem. HORSE also launched the concept of 'Competence Centre Networking', where not only expertise was shared, but the experience of existing Technology Labs/Competence Centres was used for the establishment of new ones. As such, HORSE is the predecessor of the DIH concept, and was actually involved in the mentoring program of new DIHs, assisting in the establishment of even more such Innovation Hubs. Regarding the technologies developed, HORSE designed a reference Industry 4.0 architecture, which is applicable in manufacturing environments and taking into account all the different resources (humans, robots, machinery, sensors, etc.) that are present in a production shop floor. 


    With the pilot and open call experiments, which include SMEs as the manufacturing end-users, HORSE proved that using the technologies and approaches developed in the project, robotics is feasible and a good investment not only for large companies but also for manufacturing SMEs.


    HORSE developed not only technologies, but also methodologies and approaches that have been tested and can be resused for a number of different aspects, like requirements analysis, system design, system validation and business modelling.

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Flexibility Economic sustainability Increasing human achievements in manufacturing systems
Occupational safety and health Product quality - Quality assurance
    Comment: Novel approaches from the domain of Business Process Management will be adopted to enhance flexibility whereby robots and humans are actors to be allocated in the tasks of the process maintaining task constrains and safety requirements.
      Comment: The whole value chain of SME suppliers and researchers are represented through Open Calls, to define new business models to promote, supply and operate advanced robotics systems, with dynamically controllable and reconfigurable robots, thus servitisation, operation of robotics systems. These business models exploit concepts of Internet of Things (OSGi) and Business Process Management that promise to provide tools and support in customizing and applying advanced robotics within the factories.
      Comment: HORSE includes an automated quality inspection system which visually inspects assembled products (wiper systems) for errors before packaging
      Comment: Immersive and innovative augmented reality technologies will provide assistance via wearable, state-of-the-art dual glasses or Head Mounted Displays (HMD) for the worker, providing augmented reality presentation of the status of his condition and alerts, as well as guidelines for the task at hand where necessary
      Comment: HORSE has a multi-layered safety approach incorporating: a) Robot level safety (Fault detection, certified to work without fences), b) System level safety (portable devices for interactive inspection of the shop floor, augmented reality presentation of condition and alerts to the worker), c) Situation awareness software for manufacturing tasks (intention estimation, safety level monitoring)
      Safety of robots sharing workspace with human workers, as well as assigned tasks with a health-risk to robots, and to human workers easier tasks, is one of the top opbjectives for HORSE

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Domain 2: Adaptive and smart manufacturing systems

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Control technologies Intelligent machinery components, actuators and end-effectors Advanced and ubiquitous human machine interaction Measurement, condition and performance monitoring technologi...
IoT - Internet of Things Engineering tools Human Machine Interfaces Augmented reality

      HORSE includes human-machine interaction with Interfaces targeted to be easy-to-use by unskilled workers and learning by demonstration capabilities, to be able to program a robot without the need for robotics expertise.

        Comment: HORSE encompasses multi-modal supervision and control modes for a variety of existing and novel robotic co-workers: cooperative robots (cobots) and “third hand” robots for diverse manufacturing applications, and also demonstration based robot programming techniques for an intuitive programming of robots tasks by non-robotics experts.
      Comment: HORSE adopts the IoT paradigm and OSGI middleware enabling and facilitating remote control and monitoring of the production line and the available resources and ease installation. For that, the robot controllers, sensors and human-robot- interfaces will be coherently and seamlessly integrated as controllable and active agents in the production. Feedback from agents and sensors will be collected, analysed and used for process control decisions involving the dynamic deployment of cobotic, robotic, and human agents. Thus the constituted advanced closed loop production process control system integrates the high-level, state-of-the-art production process control and the low-level sensor measurements and high-tech robot and cobot solutions and cobot actuation control.
      Comment: HORSE will develop an integrated, process-oriented management model for the high-level control of the production line process with online, automatic allocation of resources (robots, human workers, interaction components, etc.) and rapid and straightforward dynamic re-allocation as necessary considering: the real-time monitoring of the production chain process; the actual worker safety and condition in the execution of the process; the robot positions within the autonomous mobile platforms; the required collaboration between human workers and robots and the available interaction modalities; the automated management of exceptions, occurring as effect of safety breaches, material or agent unavailability, delays in previous steps, e.g. triggered by quality checks, etc.
      Comment: HORSE incorporates the design and development of an innovative hybrid position/force control for intrinsically safe flexible robots.

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Manufacturing system levels Field Device Work station Enterprise - Factory Integration/ configuration of manufacturing systems Use-phase of manufacturing system (producing products)
Product component Product module Product Production of product Product distribution

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Industrial Reference ICT Architectures Scalability Field Device Work station
Enterprise - Factory Product Modular Design and Deployment Approaches Safety
    Comment: HORSE platform is designed as modular and scalable. New technologies and components can be integrated and take advantage of the capabilities that the HORSE platform provides.

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Business ecosystems associated to digital platforms