Current production shop floors are organised in a fixed combination of sequential automated and manual tasks. Each station, in which one or more tasks are performed, is designed for optimal productivity, and the whole linear sequence of operations is as well optimised for productivity. This paradigm is efficient when production is set to the maximum capacity and the same tasks are repeated in the same way in each cycle. However, this does not scale well to other situations. The complexity and cost of shop floor organisation increases dramatically when it comes to flexible production or logistics, as for example when mixing different product models, and the cost for introducing a new product reference is also very high. Moreover, this model lacks the capacity to react to unexpected technical problems that may arise.
Future shop floors have to endorse flexibility and define networks in which a tight collaboration between humans, machines and robots is key for performance e.g. maintenance operations and changes in product set-up. Therefore the shop floors must be supported by enhanced perception capabilities including the ability to reason over the perceived environment. By using novel embedded cognitive functions, machinery and robots should be able to collaborate as network agents in a realistic semi-structured environment, being able to adapt their behaviour in order to give a response to unforeseen changes or situations. Furthermore, the cognitive capabilities will allow the machinery and robots to evolve from being programmed for a dedicated task to the handling of a multitude of different tasks.Scope:
Research activities should address at least three of the following areas:
Robots and machines should not be considered as individual agents, but will have to be part of an overall interactive network which should be defined and possibly standardised.
Proof of concept in terms of at least one demonstrator should be delivered before the end of the project, excluding commercially usable prototypes, but convincingly demonstrating scalability towards industrial needs taking into account age and gender aspects, and making a clear case for the safety of the worker under all circumstances.
Activities are expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 5 to 7 and to be centred around TRL6.
This topic addresses cross-KET activities.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 4 and 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.Expected Impact:
The developed machinery and robot systems should lead to a significant impact in the following areas:
In order to ensure a high impact, both standardisation and certification activities have to be addressed in the proposal.
Proposals should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme.
This topic complements other call topics in this area funded under FOF-12-2017 a.ii and LEIT-ICT Robotics topics