Skip to main content

Programme Category


Article available in the folowing languages:

Flexible production systems based on integrated tools for rapid reconfiguration of machinery and robots

Specific challenge: Easy and fast reconfigurable machinery and robots are essential to answer to the increasing need for highly complex products and to react to rapid changes in market demands. Smaller lot sizes and more product variations require a highly flexible production capacity. New tools are required to support more rapid and autonomous reconfiguration of production systems. Powerful tools addressing self-adjustment, correction, and control of individual machines and robots, the production system as a whole and the link with existing production planning and scheduling systems have been developed over recent years but integration and deployment of those tools require further R&D and demonstration. While the focus will be on demonstrating the tools on existing production capacity, R&D activities supporting the integration and scale-up are expected as well.

Scope: Demonstration activities should address all of the following areas:

-                      Integrated tools for the management of agile production systems as a whole (Manufacturing Execution Systems) and the fast reconfigurable individual machines and robots, optimising the changeover times and costs.

-                      Standardisation of the communication protocols and data structures fitting the plug and produce philosophy.

-                      Protocols for interconnecting the production system information with higher level plant management systems.

-                      Integration of automatic monitoring and optimisation of energy usage in the production system.

-                      Demonstration of the integrated solution in at least one existing production environment.

For this topic, proposals should include an outline of the initial exploitation and business plans, which will be developed further in the proposed project.

Wherever possible, proposers could actively seek synergies, including possibilities for funding, with relevant national / regional research and innovation programmes and/or cumulative funding with European Structural and Investment Funds in connection with smart specialisation strategies. For this purpose the tools provided by the Smart Specialization Platform, Eye@RIS3 may be useful[1]. The initial exploitation and business plans will address such synergies and/or additional funding. Exploitation plans, outline financial arrangements and any follow-up will be developed further during the project. The results of these activities as well as the envisaged further activities in this respect should be described in the final report of the project.


Activities expected to focus on Technology Readiness Level 5-7. A significant participation of SMEs with R&D capabilities is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 4 and 7 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:

                Enabling existing production systems to produce on average at least 50% smaller lot sizes and 50% more product variations in an economical way, as a result production will be demand driven and waste will be significantly reduced.

                Reduction of at least 30% of the set-up and changeover times and costs for existing production systems leading to a significant increase in production capacity.

                Reduction of average energy consumption by 5% through an optimised use of production capacity.

                Strong support for standardisation of communication protocols, data structures and tool connectivity.

Type of action: Innovation Actions.

[1]; the relevant Managing Authorities can be found at