The proposal should focus on new assembly technologies, such as additive manufacturing, especially for products, that contain micro-parts and which are assembled manually for most of the part because of technical limitations. For this purpose, proposals should cover at least three of the following areas:
- Design for micro-assembly and micro-disassembly including procedures, standardisation aspects and indices to assess the performance of micro-assembly devices;
- High throughput systems for micro-handling and assembly, including robust strategies to precisely grasp and release parts, considering also technologies such as piezo-material based solutions and micro-robots;
- In-line monitoring and quality assessment for the parts as well as for the assemblies;
- Closed-loop error compensation and optimisation models and algorithms adaptable to the specific working conditions;
- Advanced control methods and/or human in the loop strategies, dynamic task planning.
Proposals should include pilots where industrial end-users will validate the demonstrated processes. The proposed solutions should respect the environment and workers, be economically viable and easily transferable to other sectors or product types.
Proposals submitted under this topic should include a business case and exploitation strategy, as outlined in the Introduction to the LEIT part of this Work Programme.
Activities should start at TRL 4 and achieve TRL 6 at the end of the project.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 8 and 10 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
Miniaturisation leads to new functionalities, weight reduction and energy and material saving. European industry has currently a leading position in this field, but investments in research and development of new micro-manufacturing techniques are necessary to maintain this advantage. European industry has the technology to produce and assemble micro-scale objects (i.e. objects with a total volume < 1 mm3 and with the smallest dimension between 10µm and 300µm). However, further efforts are needed to combine accuracy, speed, productivity, efficiency and reliability. New production lines must be able to detect and adapt with minimum human involvement to variations in the environment or of the components. Manufacturing technologies used for larger parts cannot be directly applied to micro part assembly because physical phenomena that can be ignored at larger scale may strongly affect micro systems. Models of micro systems assembly processes are needed that take these effects into account.
The developed manufacturing process should deliver all of the following:
- A decrease of production time by at least 15%;
- A measurable increase of automation levels, especially the self-adaptation to changes, such as machine learning;
- A higher or similar precision level;
- A reduction of at least 20% in rejection rates during the production process.
Relevant indicators and metrics, with baseline values, should be clearly stated in the proposal.