Safe and effective HumAn-Robot coopEration toWards a better cOmpetiveness on cuRrent automation lacK manufacturing processes.

Safe and effective HumAn-Robot coopEration toWards a better cOmpetiveness on cuRrent automation lacK manufacturing processes.
Summary

SHAREWORK's main objective is to endow an industrial work environment of the necessary intelligenc and methods for the effective adoption of Human Robot Collaboration (HRC) with not fences, providing a system capable of understanding the environment and human actions through knowledge and sensors, future state predictions and with the ability to make a robot act accordingly while human safety is guaranteed and the human-related barriers are overcome. SHAREWORK will develop the needed technology for facing the new production paradigm compiling the necessary developments in a set of modular hardware, software and procedures to face different HRC applications in a systematic and effective way.

A knowledge base (KB) to include system know-how data as well as real-time environment information is developed. An environment run-time perception and cognition updates this KB with object detection, human tracking and task identification. A human-aware dynamic task planning system will react based on previous knowledge and environment status by reassigning tasks and/or reconfiguring robot control. This data will allow robot intelligent motion planners to control robots while safety is ensured by a continuous ergonomics and risk assessment module to face a safety-productivity trade-off. A multimodal human-robot communication system will provide interfaces for bidirectional communication between operator and robot. Finally, methods for overcoming human-related barriers and data reliability and security concerning the entire framework are applied for a successful integration in the industry.

SHAREWORK technology will be demonstrated in four different industrial cases: for railway, automotive, mechanical machining and equipment goods sectors. The usability of the developed HRC solutions in different industrial sectors and company sizes will increase productivity, flexibility, and reduce human stress, to support the workers and to strengthen European industry.

SHAREWORK project progress beyond the state-of-the-art by designing and developing a knowledge base capable of supporting all the cognitive processes involved in the controller of the robot by leveraging and extending a suited ontology. This project will solve the semantic cognition in a highly dynamic and complex environment as given in a modern production environment.  This environment cognition will also be extended by recognizing and predicting usual human movements and adding its dynamic primitives to the motion library without the need of "teaching" the robot. SHAREWORK will develop a human aware motion planner to be used as an off-line motion planner and as real-time motion planner, exploiting the massive GPU parallelization. Furthermore, SHAREWORK will exploit the latest trends and advances in Augmented Reality (AR) technology and IoT wearable devices towards providing the human operators with the appropriate means during assembly operations in human robot collaborative workplaces. In addition, SHAREWORK will study and validate best practices to improve human-robot collaboration acceptance and satisfaction in industrial environments 

SHAREWORK project will have a positive impact to general European industry by developing costeffective, and easy to adapt and reconfigure solutions for the implementation of collaborative robotic systems. Any company will have access to the developed modules within the project through the possibility to acquire the required modules developed and implement it to their industrial processes, increasing efficiency and productivity. The SHAREWORK framework will impact on the profitability of these manufacturing companies, the majority of which are SMEs, by reducing operational costs. This will result in more job security and direct and indirect job creation in the European manufacturing sector. It will also impact on the employability opportunities. The SHAREWORK framework will have a substantial impact on the environmental performance of manufacturing processes and thus will support European industries to achieve the ambitious goals set in the Europe 2020 strategy for sustainability, resource efficiency and climate and energy targets, and beyond. 

 

More information
Web resources: https://sharework-project.eu
https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/220005/factsheet/en
Start date: 01-11-2018
End date: 31-10-2022
Total budget - Public funding: 7 351 467,00 Euro - 7 351 467,00 Euro
Call topic: Effective Industrial Human-Robot Collaboration (RIA) (DT-FOF-02-2018)
Twitter: @Sharework_EU
Location
Safe and effective HumAn-Robot coopEration toWards a better cOmpetiveness on cuRrent automation lacK manufacturing processes.
Contacts
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Latest news
Jesus Pablo Gonzalez
06/07/20 - 13:49
KEY FACTOR MOVEMENT PRIMITIVES: HOW CAN WE MAKE A ROBOT LEARN FROM HUMANS?

HOW DOES A ROBOT LEARN HOW TO PERFORM A TASK NOWADAYS?

Since Henry Ford’s assembly lines, automation systems have been developed and integrated in the industry all over the world. Clear examples of this are Amazon’s automated warehouses or Coca-Cola’s dark sheds

While these examples are stunning, it is also true that nowadays, these robots need their own warehouses where no interaction with humans happens. Also, high qualified robotics engineers have to program them to perform the required repetitive tasks.

In the future, we imagine a world where anybody, without any prior knowledge in robotics, could buy a robot, set it in their workshop and start teaching the robot to perform some task interacting with the human workers. But, what should the robot learn? Welcome to the Movement Primitives.

WHAT ARE THE MOVEMENT PRIMITIVES?

Movement Primitives are the set models that represent the different type of actions the robot could do.These models will generate trajectories the robot should follow in order to perform a certain task.

Let’s assume we want a robot to learn to pick a certain object. Instead of programming the task, we can make the robot learn from human demonstrations. A human could move manually the robot arm to the object we want to pick several times while changing the object position and the robot will learn a model that represents that action. Afterwards, if the object is set in a completely new position, the robot will be able to generate a trajectory to pick this object.

MOVEMENT PRIMITIVES IN SHAREWORK

SHAREWORK project benefits from the use of Movement Primitives for task recognition and also prediction of human movement. Movement Primitives can represent the different type of motions the human does and so, they could be integrated as an additional feature for a task classification module. On the other side, Movement Primitives can provide a probabilistic prediction model about where the human is going to be, in order to improve the robot motion planners. 

During the SHAREWORK project, Context-Aware Movement Primitive Segmentation algorithms are going to be applied. The algorithm will be able to segment the recorded human motion online and learn the simplest blocks of which the human motion is built in order to solve a complex task

SHAREWORK project will use Movement Primitives for learning from human actions by understanding the worker’s behaviour and anticipating tasks 

These learned motion primitives are contextualised with the objects in the environment in order to adapt to the different positions the same object can be placed. Afterwards, these Movement Primitives will be used as the building blocks of the task classification algorithms.

These same Context-Aware Movement Primitives will provide a probabilistic prediction of the position of the human in the future. Mixed with robot motion planner, the robot will plan safer trajectories, avoiding the collision with the humans.

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Jesus Pablo Gonzalez
06/07/20 - 13:48
ROBOTICS INTO HANDWORK MANUFACTURING: THE FIGURE OF THE TECHNOLOGY COACH FOR LEADING AN EFFECTIVE AND SMOOTH IMPLEMENTATION

THE NEW CHALLENGE OF ROBOTICS: TAKE OVER THE HANDWORK MANUFACTURING

The Robotic Industry is growing bigger day by day, launching on the market several advanced solutions which promise to revolutionise the way factories produce goods and assembly parts in a near future. As a result, also the expectations of Industry are constantly increasing and they look at robots as the definitive solution to save time (and, of course, money) and boost profits of their manufacturing companies.

The handwork manufacture is the new battlefield that robotics has begun to conquest in recent years, but despite this there is still a lot of room for improvement and expansion. In fact, while nowadays almost all the operators performing repetitive and simple tasks have been replaced with highly automated assembly lines, the same has not yet happened for handcraft. This is mainly due by the fact that manual labour requires such high skills and a human sensitivity that, at the moment, a robot cannot replace the operator in almost all the cases.

The automation of assembly lines based mainly on handwork are quite a challenge for the robotic industry due to the need of high skills and sensitivity

The solution that robotic producers have found to overcome this limit is the launch on the market of collaborative robots (also called cobots). Cobots aim to support handcrafts in the most repetitive, heaviest and uncomfortable tasks rather than completely replace them, allowing to preserve the high quality generated by manual labour and speeding up the productivity at the same time.

Unfortunately, the implementation of a robotic system into the production process is everything except easy and instantaneous and the benefits the robot could bring are not so obvious. In fact, the selection of proper components and a smooth integration are crucial to generate the positive impact on productivity, quality and operators’ working conditions which factory owners wish. And this is even more true for the implementation of collaborative robots into handwork manufacturing, where the system should reach high performance without neglecting the operator safety and the human acceptance.

Collaborative robots offer handcraft industries a support in repetitive and uncomfortable tasks for operators

Indeed, there is the need of an intermediary figure which could drive the end-user through the jungle of robotic products and serve as an interface between the salesman approach of suppliers and the concreteness of craftsmen undertaking in the workshop. This figure within Sharework project is commonly named as “Technology Coach”, and STAM is in charge of filling that role for one of the four use-cases, namely the assembly of rotary table in Goizper factory.

THE TECHNOLOGY COACH: NOT ONLY A MATTER OF DESIGN

If the role of the Technology Coach is essential in the implementation of a robotic system into production lines, it could be even crucial when we talk about the introduction of cobots supporting handcrafts because of the aforementioned reasons. But exactly, who the Technology Coach is? And what it is supposed to do?

Generally speaking, it is a work team with well-mixed competences which belongs to a high-tech company or a R&D center. Unlike suppliers or system integrators, the Technology Coach not only proposes the design of a tailored robotic cell, but they follow a holistic approach which involves the end-user to reinvent and redesign the workflow and the workshop layout of tomorrow in a better way.

The Technology Coach should listen and understand the needs and the objectives of the end-user. Satisfying these wishes and achieving these goals will be its main mission. Once an agreement is found, Technology Coach should select suitable commercial solution, get in touch with suppliers, design the robotic system, reinvent the workflow and reshape the layout if needed, install and test the solution.They should take care of the whole process of implementation of the robot into the shop floorfrom the definition of requirements to the commissioning and final test. This is an iterative and continuous process, some steps should be done several times until finding an equilibrium among the end-user expectations, the current robotic supply, the budget, the operator acceptance and well-being, the timing and so on.

Technology Coaches help industries in the implementation of new robotic systems, leading the whole innovation process matching he end-user’s demand in the most effective way

Most of the work of a Technology Coach can be done in its headquarters, using modern communication network to periodically update the end-user about the work progress. However, it is highly recommended to have a face-to-face with the end-user at the begin of the project, as well as to visit the shop floor and talk with operators working there to have a clear picture of the process.

The value added to the figure of the Technology Coach is to put at the stake all its set of cross-cutting competences and resources to satisfy the wishes of the end-user. Technical Coaching does not simply mean designing a robotic cell, but leading the whole innovation process of the manufacture, matching the robotic supply to the end-user’s demand in the most effective and smooth way.

THE SHAREWORK EXAMPLE: A COBOT FOR SUPPORTING THE MANUAL ASSEMBLY OF ROTARY TABLE

As mentioned before, STAM embodies the role of Technology Coach in Sharework project to support Goizper and coordinate partners contributions in the implementation of a collaborative robot system in their servo rotary table assembly area. As the assembly of these components requires a remarkable human sensitivity and manual skill, the main aim of Goizper is to delegate to the Sharework system the most heavy and repetitive tasks of the assembly, while preserving worker focus on the most skilled operations.

As first step, we worked together to select the most suitable tasks to be delegated to the cobot and to define in details each scenario. In order to have a complete and clear picture of the workshop and the process, we carried out a technical visit to the factory together with the consortium. We had the chance to directly experience the working conditions (e.g. spaces, loads, noise), as well as to talk in first person with the workers to collect their feedback.

Once the use-case was pretty defined, STAM began to serve as an interface among the end-user and the external world. Our role was double: on one hand we translated the requests of Goizper into requirements and clear specification to effectively communicate with commercial suppliers and with the multiple software developers involved in Sharework, each one focused on different specific tasks. And, vice versa, we collected feedbacks, requests and suggestions from all the different entities involved in the Sharework project to provide a unified vision to Goizper and to propose them a feasible human-robot collaborative solution that could meet their expectations.

For these purposes, 3D models and views (see the following pictures), as well as all the other visual medias, are very useful to finally put on paper the developed concept and allow other partners to understand it in an easy and clear manner.

It has been a long and iterative decisional process, but, in the end, we did it! We reached a final solution reinventing the rotary table assembly workflow to enhance the productivity, exalt the qualities of workers and safeguard their well-being.

However, our job is just starting out: we have to work hard in the next months to make this design on paper a concrete reality. Stay tuned!

 

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Jesus Pablo Gonzalez
06/07/20 - 13:47
TRAVELLING TO GOIZPER 4.0 WITH COLLABORATIVE ROBOTICS ON BOARD

During the last years, Goizper’s mind has changed little by little, complementing new technology developments with the power transmission components portfolio. The obtained good results have certified that new technologies integration is the correct way to follow.

A STEP FORWARD BECOMING GOIZPER 4.0 

Goizper S. Coop. has already integrated several Industry 4.0 solutions related to its market products, such as smart-G, an IoT monitoring system integrated on mechanical components in order to predict failures. However, now Goizper has started a new era introducing Industry 4.0 solutions on its own shop floor in Antzuola, Basque Country (Spain).

On the one side, new machinery, such as milling and turning machines, are running in Goizper’s shop floor, with integrated IoT solutions and direct connection with the supplier (machine experts) through internet. On the other side, Goizper has decided to invest in new technologies on the manual assembly area, where operators’ ergonomic issues concern the company.

Conventional robots have never fit in the assembly area due to the flexibility degree that Goizper’s products assembly require and the high variety and low quantities of each reference. However, Goizper decided to go further and participate in Sharework project as we believe that collaborative robots will be able to provide the flexibility that Goizper’s assembly area needs. Within the project, Goizper Industrial will validate a new design of their workplace to introduce collaborative robots in their servo rotary table assembly area.

Several benefits are expected from Sharework project, including an improvement of ergonomics in the workplaceavoid work-related injuriesimprove the final quality of the product and a significant reduction of the assembly process’ cycle time.

OPERATORS’ ERGONOMICS CONDITIONS TO IMPROVE

A new way of introducing robotics into the workplace has risen with the development of collaborative robotics (Cobots), which allow the operator to share the assembly area with robots without the need to be separated by fences. Managers in Goizper think that Cobots introduction in the assembly line by means of Sharework project, will improve operators´ ergonomics conditions.

Power transmission components’ assembly, such as turning tables, request many manual adjustments applied by human force. Hence, some tasks could lead to back injuries or muscular pain in operators.

OPERATORS AND COBOTS, A SUCCESSFUL TEAM TO RISE PRODUCT QUALITY  

For sure, with the introduction of cobots for operators’ assistance, the quality of the assembled product will be higher. Obviously, automated processes provide a higher percentage of good parts compared to manual processes. In Sharework industrial scenario, bolts will be locked with the same torque in a repetitive and more precise tool than nowadays.

Goizper is eager to see how much the quality of their products is improved after cobots incorporation, during Sharework project.

SPEEDING UP THE ASSEMBLY PROCESS

Productivity is not the main goal of this technology integration; nevertheless, assembly cycle time is expected to be reduced due to the fast execution of UR10 Cobots. Within Sharework scenario, which will be applied to our servo rotary table assembly area, time reduction must provide a better lead time of the product and economic benefits.

THE SAFETY OF OUR EMPLOYEES AT THE CENTER OF ALL THE OPERATION

As none of these new technology’s integration could run before ensuring human safety and make sure that all safety requirements in the shop floor are met, Goizper’s Human Resources Department – the bridge between the new technology and the human – is also closely participating in Sharework project.

Goizper, as one of Sharework’s project industrial scenarios, aims to use the collaboration robotics technology for assisting and helping operators in their daily tasks, such as handling heavy parts to the operator and passing them the correct part to be assembled or the tool to be used at the correct time. Under no circumstances the operator will be replaced by the collaborative robot but just another tool available to help for the operator, in addition to other technologies or devices already deployed in the assembly workplace.

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