Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HORSE (Smart integrated Robotics system for SMEs controlled by Internet of Things based on dynamic manufacturing processes)

Think of a metal factory worker manipulating and finishing a heavy sand cast part full of sharp edges with a pair of gloves, a hammer and a heavy grinder as only tools - and imagine how a dynamically available robotic handling arm can improve this situation. Think of a car...\n\nThink of a metal factory worker manipulating and finishing a heavy sand cast part full of sharp edges with a pair of gloves, a hammer and a heavy grinder as only tools - and imagine how a dynamically available robotic handling arm can improve this situation. Think of a car factory where human workers and robots are strictly separated - and imagine how safe collaboration of both can make production much more efficient. Think of a robotic production line where a sudden robot failure brings things to a grinding halt - and imagine how safe human take-over of its task can bring things up-to-speed swiftly. You are now imagining what HORSE will bring: robotics assistance to improve operators conditions of work, improve their safety and at the same time provide a way to gain in production effectiveness and efficiency.

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 European and Regional hubs for selected application areas in manufacturing. The main strategy builds on existing technology and research results in robotics and smart factories other technologies such as Manufacturing Business Process management and Internet of Things based middleware. The focus is to integrate them in a coherent framework which enables SMEs to easily adopt for solving existing robotic challenges. 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 with selected end-users will take place. 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 HORSE technological framework is customised, integrated, tested, validated and spread within several contexts:
a. Different generalizable pilot experiments within 3 industries, demonstrating flexible production, safety-enhanced robotics without fences and Augmented Reality in manufacturing
b. 4 Centres of Competence (CCs), to define, implement and assess the HORSE framework in settings representative of manufacturing installations. CCs will also capitalise lessons learned and best practices
c. New European SMEs/industries through an Open Call and Financial support for Application Experiments\n\nDuring the first 18 months of the project the following achievements can be reported:
? A comprehensive analysis of the requirements at global level, by looking at literature and general use cases, as well as at the level of specific challenges of the pilot factories
? The HORSE architecture, which was defined following the 4+1 view model
? Several of the components have progressed well and already published reports and videos to demonstrate their functions:
o The Manufacturing Process Management System (MPMS)
o The Augmented Reality (AR) software for user assistance
o The early version of the multimodal monitoring system
o The early version of intuitive programming subsystem for robots and online, dynamic motion planning
o The middleware of HORSE (global/local)
o Other components have also progressed, like the situation awareness software for human and non-human agents in a manufacturing cell and the low level signal analysis software for fault detection
? The integration environment and plan are in place and the first round of integration among components has taken place
? The demonstration scenarios of the pilot factories have been detailed after cycles of interactions. The purpose of all the pilot scenarios include improving working conditions by releasing workers from physical and mental strains and assisting them in performing certain tasks, and at the same time enhance productivity and efficiency
? The methodology for the component validation has been defined, and a dedicated validation workshop has taken place
? The CCs have been established. The initial demonstration scenarios have been defined and their sustainability models have been initiated under the context of the broader developments and European focus on the concepts of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs)
? The support of 5 DIHs, selected by the I4MS open calls. They are supported to adopt HORSE and robotic technologies to solve industrial problems, establish their business operations and promote the I4MS and HORSE activities in their regions
? The exploitation strategy for which the methodology BASE/X has been adopted
? Communication and awareness raising activities have been promoting the project and its results in web, social and physical means. Information and videos can be found on the project website\n\nTechnologically the project goes beyond the State-of-the-art as follows:
? The robots have been enhanced with aspects that allow them to be easily integrated in working environments, controlled by the MPMS
? Orchestrated control of both workers and robots and handling of exceptions and alerts by the MPMS
? Production planning and minimization of changeovers by the MPMS
? Adoption of existing protocols and standards (ROS, OSGi, OPC UA) for the communication of software and robotic components
? Collaborative robots used in real industrial tasks and improved with global safety features, enhanced monitoring and control
? Industrial robots enhanced with safety and collaborative features
? AR system supporting intuitive task instructions, and enabling non-expert workforce to perform manufacturing tasks
? Learning by Demonstration allowing the robot to be programmed easier and faster
? Task instructions and alerts delivered electronically in a more comprehensive and effective way

Demonstration scenarios include several use cases for each pilot, emphasizing the way towards the factory without fences
All the use cases include
? Monitoring/management of tasks, robots and workers
? Workcell monitoring to improve safety

More use case-specific solutions include:
Packaging of assembled parts
Interface with existing messaging system to send alerts and text messages
Automated visual quality check
AR to support quality inspection

Cutting of metal castings in harsh environments
Learning by demonstration for robot reprogramming

Hanging parts onto designated hooks, sharing space with workers
AR software with intuitive information, assisting the tool assembling (for changeover), and enabling this task to be performed by non-experienced workers and faster and better for the experienced ones, in collaboration with mobile robot

Furthermore, the project contributes to the achievement of the I4MS objectives:
? Pilot demonstrations which target existing and unresolved challenges and can be motivating for other SMEs. Confirmation of how HORSE can be replicated is provided in feasibility studies of the DIHs
? Establishment and development of the Centers of Competence in 4 regions
? Demonstrations based on software enhancement of industrial and collaborative robots towards the factory without fences
? Creation of opportunities for European robotic and software industry
More information
Smart integrated Robotics system for SMEs controlled by Internet of Things based on dynamic manufacturing processes
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