Robotics-enabled logistics and assistive services for the transformable factory of the future

Today’s automation and logistics paradigms make it difficult, time-consuming and costly to change the type of product manufactured in a given production line and adjust production levels in response to market shifts. Compounded by current market uncertainties, it becomes more difficult to justify new automation lines being added to the overall production chain. To avoid a consequent shift in manufacturing to low-wage economies, TAPAS will make it possible for future factories to engage in more effective and streamlined production, regardless of changes in volumes and product type. To do this, TAPAS will focus on the following tasks: - Development of mobile robots with arms to make logistical tasks more flexible by collecting, as well as transporting, the parts needed at any given time and delivering these to their relevant locations. - Automation of assistive tasks which naturally build on logistical tasks, such as preparatory and post-processing work, e.g. pre-assembly or machine tending with inherent quality control, since the simple movement of parts around the shop floor does not generate value in itself. Through this additional creation of value and faster adaptation to changes, with tasks being completed in a shorter time, TAPAS will yield much earlier returns on investment and as such deliver better results. To fulfil these aims, the project consortium will test and validate the above developments with two pilot installations of increasing complexity and scale. The consortium partners are made up of a robot manufacturer and a systems integrator, who will provide their production environments for testing and validation to take place, and one software technology provider. In collaboration with three research partners, they will develop logistical and assistive robotic solutions for transformable automation which are applicable across the board.
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Start date: 01-10-2010
End date: 30-03-2014
Total budget - Public funding: 5 179 257,00 Euro - 3 400 000,00 Euro
Call topic: Smart Factories: ICT for agile and environmentally friendly manufacturing (FoF.ICT.2010.10.1)