Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

Bots2ReC Report Summary

Project ID: 687593
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Bots2ReC (Robots to Re-Construction)

Reporting period: 2016-02-01 to 2017-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

"Despite the high degree of industrial automation, robotic solutions are not yet prevalent in construction and demolition industry. Most tasks are performed manually with the help of conventional electro-mechanic and hydraulic tools. Especially for hazardous environments, where intense safety measures have to be taken to reduce the health risks for employees, manual performance is very inefficient or even prohibited. One major market sector is the clearance and refurbishment on so-called rehabilitation sites (e.g. buildings contaminated with asbestos). Every exposure to asbestos fibres is highly hazardous to humans: Personal protective equipment of highest technological standard needs to be exchanged regularly due to the asbestos dust, which increases the costs and time to completion for clearance and refurbishment. From this situation, the main objective for the proposed innovation action emerged:

""Introducing, testing and validating an operational process for the automated removal of asbestos contamination at a real world rehabilitation site using a robotic system.""

The proposed robotic system will consist of multiple robotic units, a central aspiration and energy supply and a central process control system, that allows easy programming and the supervision of the automated process and optional remote control. Sensor systems will allow the environmental perception of the system and local monitoring of the asbestos-removal-tasks."

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

The focus of the first project period was the development and implementation of a first version prototype. The prototype was developed, designed, manufactured, assembled and tested in the first 12 months of the project. It is now available for first tests and the detailed development of the operational asbestos removal process and the control system.

Supporting the prototype development, the consortium gained a better understanding of the necessary process. At the project start the specification of the asbestos-removal-tasks and the technical requirements were investigated. Initial trials with a robotic mock-up and a representation of the scenario in a simulation environment delivered important input to the design and realisation of the first prototype.

Using the prototype, the automated removal of asbestos contamination (operational process) and the according process control system will be developed in several iterations. For this purpose a testing rehabilitation site without contamination was planned and is being made available at the end of the first project period. During regular workshops and testing sessions, all partners will jointly test the different functionalities and control extensions, which were developed in-between tests.

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 project will go beyond the state of the art, by implementing well-known technologies in the demolition and construction sector, were robotic technology is not yet prevalent. Adressing the implied challenges from a design and control point of view opens new fields of application.
The combination and enhancement of proven technology and its adaption to the robotics use-case will allow the clearance and refurbishment on a rehabilitation sites by automated removal of asbestos contamination. This innovation process will provide a step change to a system prototype demonstrated in operational environment (TRL 7). In the project follow up, the findings and results will be used to complete and qualify the system for the operational environment (TRL 9), aiming at the successful commercialisation.

The main impacts of the project will be:
- To increase and strengthen Europe's market share in robotics , by introducing new robotic technology to the very large European asbestos removal market.

- To improve the Technology Readiness Levels of robotics technologies by providing a system prototype demonstrated in the operational environment of the construction and demolition industry.

- To address ethical and societal issues by prevention of the exposure of construction workers in Europe and worldwide to asbestos fibres. Furthermore the covering or the capsulation of the asbestos is too often preferred over the removal, postponing the load to manage this morbid inheritance to the future generations. By cost reduction of the process, the described innovation will help to speed up clearance and refurbishment processes in Europe and worldwide. Less often refurbishment needs to be avoided due to cost reasons.

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