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FourByThree Report Summary

Project ID: 637095
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FourByThree (Highly customizable robotic solutions for effective and safe human robot collaboration in manufacturing applications)

Reporting period: 2014-12-01 to 2016-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Industrial robots have demonstrated their capacity to answer the needs of many industrial applications, offering a high degree of dexterity, accuracy and efficiency. Their use is extended to all kinds of applications, but it is in the case of large production batches, repetitive operations or risky or unpleasant working conditions where their introduction has been more significant.
However, when the application requires the collaboration between the robot and the worker, including workspace sharing, it is not feasible to use standard industrial robots due to safety being compromised
Recently, new robotic products have appeared on the marked claiming to be safe when used in the vicinity of humans – examples include the Universal Robots UR3/UR5/UR10, the KUKA IIWA or the SAWYER robot from Rethink Robotics. These robots offer good solutions for some specific applications where close proximity between humans and robots is a must, offering the possibility to control the force exerted in case of collision, however they lack the flexibility (in terms of possible physical configurations) or are very expensive- some of those robots are three times more expensive than the counterpart standard (‘non safe’) version.
Furthermore, even these robots are offered as isolated products only capable of carrying out repetitive, accurate movements, limited by fixed, rigid programming mechanisms and without rich perception capabilities or adequate responsive behaviors that have to be developed by the system integrators for any new manufacturing process.

FourByThree proposes the development of a new generation of modular industrial robotic solutions that are suitable for efficient task execution in collaboration with humans in a safe way and are easy to use and program by the factory worker.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

According to the DoA, FourByThree identified six Technological Objectives and three Industrial Objectives.
The activities carried in this period have been oriented to achieve these objectives.

Technological Objective 1: To provide to system integrators a complete kit of hardware and software tools for the development of custom robotic solutions
FourByThree is developing this ‘kit’ concept.
The hardware kit is basically composed of four different actuators, the mechanical elements to create the arm, the electrical cabinet and different devices for interaction and safety (projection system, vision cameras).
The software tools are those needed to control and program the robot, safety and interaction components, the simulation wizard and the dynamic planning component. All of them are part of the FourByThree architecture.

Technological Objective 2: To define safety strategies and low cost mechanisms that when integrated in the robot control and programming architecture allow intrinsically safe behaviour of the robot in the presence of and/or collaboration with humans.
To achieve a safe behaviour of the robot, FourByThree is implementing three basic components.
• Force Monitoring, according to ISO/TS 15066:2016 section 5.5.5. It is implemented at the actuator level, using the deflection of the springs and the motor intensity to estimate the force value. Additionally, the springs allow having an additional deflection in case of collision.
• Speed and Separation Monitoring, according to ISO/TS 15066:2016 section 5.5.4. This safety strategy is being implemented by means of two different components: the Projection system and the proximity monitoring.

Technological Objective 3: To provide a set of multimodal interaction mechanisms that facilitate the programming and control of robots.
FourByThree is providing different mechanisms to facilitate the interaction with the robot:
• The projection system (Task 4.5) allows projecting information and create virtual buttons.
• A wearable user interface (Task 4.5). It is implemented in an standard handheld that allows commanding the robot, selecting and executing programs and monitoring the status of the robot.
• Semantic interaction: Voice and gesture based interaction (Task 4.2). By fusing both mechanisms, it is possible to ‘imitate’ natural interactions humans used: for instance pointing at an object and asking the robot to take it by voice.
• Manual Guidance (Task 4.3). It allows moving the robot manually by means of physical interaction with the arm.

Technological Objective 4: To create efficient robots that are reliable, maintainable and intrinsically safe.
This objective will be validated once the robots are completed and the Pilot Studies running. In this Period, the main two activities have been the FMEA analysis (reported in D2.1) and the initial risk analysis.

Technological Objective 5: To create an open control architecture allowing the integration of custom algorithms and additional functionalities provided by third parties.
The control architecture is described in next section (Task 1.3). It is based on the ROS framework and will allow introducing new features in the future. For instance, new vision based control components can be included in a transparent way.

Technological Objective 6: To define guidelines for:
• Production layout design that facilitate the collaboration between humans and robots.
• To redefine the Design for Assembly principles for human-robot collaboration.
This objective will be demonstrate at the end of the project and reported in deliverables 2.4 and D2.5.

Technological Objective 7: To provide low cost but reliable tools to monitor humans and other elements around robots, to facilitate the interaction, task completion and operational safety.
This objective is in line with Objective 2, and is implemented by means of the projection system and low cost vision system.

Industrial Objective 1: To create a technological and industrial supply and business model by means of which systems integrators can create custom solutions for robotic applications, in particular for those cases where human-robot safe collaboration is needed.
This objective is tackled in Task 9.2. The consortium is working on the definition of this model and the strategy. To this aim, an ESS (Exploitation Strategic Seminar) took place in April, and two intermediate exploitation related deliverables have been prepared, including a first version of the PUDF.

Industrial Objective 2: To promote the concept of human robot collaboration among the general public and industry stakeholders.
This important objective is being achieved by means of an intensive activity at three different levels:
• Participation in scientific (IROS, CLAWARD, ICAPS, ETFA) and industry (TECHNISHOW, BIEMH and AUTOMATICA) events. Whenever possible, we collect the feedback from the attendants on these events. In particular a relevant number of answers have been collected in the industrial fairs, in which the attendants had the opportunity to experience first-hand different interaction mechanisms and to perceive the fenceless human-robot collaboration.
• Face to face meetings with different industrial companies. It has been started and will be more intensive in the second period of the project, once some of the results are available.
• General public, by the presence on those events (and the corresponding media impact), the website and the presence in different media.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The expected impact of the Project can be summarized as:

Industrial-scale demonstrator of safe human-robot tight collaboration by sharing workspace and tasks, paving the way for potential improvements of the normative aspects.
• The four Pilot Studies are ongoing and the experience gained can be used to provide feedback to the ISO group working on HRC. Two of the partners (PILZ and CNR-ITIA) take part in this group.

Increasing use of robot installation in traditional European robot-reluctant industries. In particular SMEs, manufacturing plants with highly manual processes and continuous production lines. Further improvement in robotics solutions deployment will contribute to higher employment as more manufacturing capacity will remain in Europe.
• Aeronautic sector, in particular airplane assembly, is demanding robotic solutions that allowed coping with the demand of flexibility and increasing number of units to be produced (see last call of CleanSky). On the other hand welding applications and small lot size production assembly are very common among SMEs.
• Collaborative robotic solutions, as this proposed by FourByThree, will contribute to answer to those demands and maintain jobs in Europe.

Increasing industrial-readiness and adaptability of human-robot collaborating manufacturing systems by increasing the robustness of those systems for noisy and extreme industrial environments and by combining the flexibility inherent to humans with the enhanced potential of cooperative production systems.
• Safety aspects are crucial for FourByThree. PILZ activity (risk assessment) and the support of a certification body will guarantee the required robustness.
• Fusion techniques will be used to cope with the variability of environmental conditions that may affect the interaction mechanisms
• The dynamic task planning framework, using ontologies in which human and robot capabilities are model, will contribute to the work sharing between humans and robots.

Improved cost-efficiency through the use of symbiotic human-robot approaches.
• Time reduction and improvement of parts quality by the use of a collaborative approach will be measured in each Pilot Study.
• In each Pilot Study a cost analysis is ongoing

Strengthening the competitiveness and growth of companies by developing innovations meeting the needs of European and global markets; and, where relevant, by delivering such innovations to the markets
• There is a clear commitment in taking the results to the market soon after the end of the project.

Social impact: Job creation
• Maintaining jobs, making some current manual tasks to be competitive thanks to the inclusion of cooperative robots
• Creating new jobs for the development and commercialization of results in the near future

Social impact: Improving quality of work for employees
• Repetitive and monotonous tasks (deburring)
• Non-ergonomic tasks (Programming by demonstration activities) in welding and riveting operations

Social impact: Reducing material waste and increasing yield
• Reducing faulty parts (due to incorrect deburring)

Related information

Record Number: 191335 / Last updated on: 2016-11-15
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