Periodic Reporting for period 1 - COROMA (Cognitively enhanced robot for flexible manufacturing of metal and composite parts)

COROMA (Cognitively Enhanced Robot for Flexible Manufacturing of Metal and Composite Parts) European project seeks to develop a new intelligent, modular and flexible industrial robot concept with the capability to carry out multiple processes and manufacture of metal and...\n\nCOROMA (Cognitively Enhanced Robot for Flexible Manufacturing of Metal and Composite Parts) European project seeks to develop a new intelligent, modular and flexible industrial robot concept with the capability to carry out multiple processes and manufacture of metal and composite material parts for three sectors as demanding as aeronautics, shipbuilding and energy generation.

COROMA will provide the flexibility that European metalworking and advanced material manufacturing companies require to compete in the rapidly evolving global market.

Furthermore, COROMA will have a positive impact on employment in the European industry, as:
? companies using this new robot concept will require new, different professional profiles.
? European market share in robot production could go down if great innovation efforts are not made in this field.
? the effective collaboration between humans and robots will alleviate the most arduous manual tasks entailing repetitive joint and muscular movements. The automation of these operations will help to create highly specialized jobs in European industry, and to avoid the relocation of jobs that would otherwise be manual in countries with a lower hourly rate.

The overall objectives of the project are:

1. Creation of collaborative robot-machine environments
2. Positive impact for robot manufacturers
3. Boosting the implementation of robotics in component manufacturers\n\nNext, partial technical objectives are presented with the description of the developments done so far:

Objective 1: Make the robot become an autonomous system

A life-long learning architecture makes the robot learn from previous tasks carried out by itself or by other robots. A vision-based scene-understanding and object-localization system enables the robot to locate the part to be manufactured and digitalize them. A mobile platform will let the robot move autonomously around the workshop. A three-finger gripper lets the robot grasp different tools used for manufacturing and that have been designed for humans.

Objective 2: Make the robot be easily and quickly programmed

An automatic robot path-generation software provides trajectory adaptation for the robot, based on the digitized real parts located by itself. The software can fine-tune the robot program by receiving parameters from the manufacturing process analysis module, which includes the process know-how and directly gets information from sensors embedded in the robot. The programming interface based on pre-programmed function blocks and the capability to command the robot with hand signals will be completed shortly.

Objective 3: Make the robot safely interact with humans and other machines

A multi-camera vision-based safety system detects a human in the working area of the robot and re-plans the robot's trajectory to avoid collision, or triggers an emergency stop if needed. A communication architecture between machine tools and robots provides them the capability to be programmed as independent systems but collaborating in a sharing a common working area.

Objective 4: Make the robotic system aware and reactive to the manufacturing process condition

An automatic vibration analyser provides the robot with different reaction capabilities to suppress the vibrations according to its origin. Stiffness values of the robot joints are identified, fed to the vibration analysis algorithm that calculates offline compensations for more precise machining. Robot has been tested as a mobile fixture. A system estimates the tool wear and keeps a constant material removal rate (in sanding and finish-grinding operations). A module integrates the robot position and the ultrasonic sensor data for non-destructive test inspection.

Objective 5: Make the robot capable of performing multiple manufacturing tasks

9 different manufacturing operations will be performed by the COROMA system: 1) Grinding of inconel parts of aircraft engines 2) Grinding of weldings in nuclear fuel containers racks 3) Sanding of gelcoat on mould for composite part manufacturing. 4) Drilling of metal aircraft T profiles. 5) Deburring of nuclear fuel tubes. 6) Drilling of stacked glass fibre and wood parts. 7) Use the robot as a mobile fixturing in cooperation with a milling machine. 8) Make an ultrasonic inspection of metal and composite parts. 9) Trimming of glass-fibre reinforced polymer parts.

Objective 6: Demonstrate and validate the project concept and applied solutions

Up to now partial tests have been carried out for the individual development of the basic blocks that will form the cognitive robot. On the other hand, seven concepts have been identified as results leading to potential products, together with the three use-cases of the COROMA complete robotic system. In next months, the definition of business cases will be addressed.\n\nIndustrial robots are widely used in repetitive manufacturing operations, used in various positions throughout the production chains, but there is a limited flexibility with respect to the possible uses of each robot, as these units have been designed to carry out a particular task in the optimal way.

European manufacturing companies offering new and numerous products attempt to react quickly to market changes and they face a series of limitations with current industrial robots:

? Time consumed in the installation of the robotic cell for the new operation or product.
? Inability to learn, being specialised in repeating programmed operations.
? Limited mobility: most of industrial robots are in static workstations.
? Safety requirements: most of industrial robots operate in segregated environments, away from human workers.
? Specific process tools: when different manufacturing operations are required for a robot, special tools and tool changers are needed which add additional costs and greater complexity to the use of robots for manufacture.

The COROMA modular platform is an innovative development in itself: the project is developing seven modules to improve the performance of already existing robotic systems:

? CORO-OPTIP: this module equips the robot with process awareness to detect, for example, vibrations during drilling that will trigger a reaction, or check tool wear if a sanding operation is being carried out.
? CORO-MOB provides the robot with mobility, so it can move autonomously through the workshop.
? CORO-SAFE offers artificial vision so that the robots can detect the presence of humans and make way.
? CORO-COOP focuses on providing developments for a communication platform so that the robot can interact with other machines and robots.
? CORO-SENSE is a vision module implemented by means of camera systems and laser technology, so that it can understand the environment and find the part on which they must work.
? CORO-PROG minimum programming module allows the robot to respond to operator?s instructions, and to respond to visual instructions in a simple way.
? CORO-HAND allows the robot to pick up tools and provide the system with dexterity.

The COROMA project foresees the development of three different robotic systems for each one of the sectors at which the developments are aimed: shipbuilding, energy and aeronautics.

The three prototypes will be trialed and undergo complex tests, and will be validated by the specialist partners in each one of the industrial sectors.
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