Toolkit for building low cost robot co-workers in assembly lines

LOCOBOT will develop a toolkit for low-cost robots built from a set of plug-and-produce kinematic modules with compliant yet precise actuators and intelligent sensors for man-machine cooperation. The toolkit will provide higher flexibility, adaptiveness and scalability, all of which are required to meet the challenges faced by manufacturing in the 21st century. Key players in the automotive industry, along with the manufacturers of automation modules and components, as well as high-tech SMEs, are supported by a group of high-quality researchers in solving the project’s technical challenges. Production in the automotive industry is faced with the challenge of high numbers of variants. A robot co-worker will substantially enhance efficiency by cooperating with people and greatly reduce the need for heavy lifting. The need to enter the market early, with reasonably priced vehicles, while increasing production, has to be met by new production technologies such as those developed at LOCOBOT. LOCOBOT goes far beyond most available systems as it is safe, low-cost and tailor-made, complying with the end-user’s need to produce greener, more customised and higher-quality products for their industry. Stemming from its increased flexibility and efficiency, the immediate impact (2-5 years) of LOCOBOT will be about €150 million in savings. This will be 10 times as much in the following years, depending on how the production numbers of the e-vehicle evolve. Three major objectives will be addressed: • Development of a modular plug and produce robotic assistant platform in which the robot will consist of a set of lightweight, compliant kinematic modules built on a mobile platform. • Reconfiguration of adaptive control for plug-and-produce components to avoid costly reprogramming and setup procedures for control algorithms and software. Control algorithms need to be adaptive and self-optimising to account for the different kinematic structures, deal with oscillations induced by the mobile platform and achieve precise positioning. • Intelligent sensing and actuating structures, for which the robot will be equipped with a stereo camera system and audio components to obtain and process audiovisual information, so that it can learn to cooperate with human workers.
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Start date: 01-08-2010
End date: 31-07-2013
Total budget - Public funding: 5 323 426,00 Euro - 3 740 000,00 Euro
Call topic: Plug-and-Produce components for adaptive control (FoF.NMP.2010.1)