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multipurpose robotics for mAniPulation of defoRmable materIaLs in manufacturing processes

Project description

Robots handling flexible materials in production line environments

Today, the strength of modern industries relies on a wide-ranging incorporation of robotics in manufacturing systems, thanks to the improvements in cost reduction, safety and productivity afforded by this technology. Industrial robots exist in a variety of automation modules and offer many capabilities and application possibilities. However, in Europe, there is always a need for low-cost, multipurpose robots that could be put to work in various industries in manufacturing production. The EU-funded APRIL project aims to fill this gap by introducing to the market multipurpose, and easy to repurpose, autonomous dexterous robots able to manipulate, assemble and process different soft and flexible materials in a production line environment. These robots will sense and understand the production environment, successfully manipulate a wide range of objects, learn, plan and execute ergonomic motions which will make human robot collaboration simpler, more efficient and easier to deploy.


APRIL project aims at implementing and deploying market oriented, low cost and multipurpose robots that supports semi-automatic tasks in manufacturing production lines that use flexible or deformable materials in industries of any size or domain.
APRIL will use fine grasping, innovative computational vision technology, gathering of sensors’ information, as well the development of modular and different middleware layers and interfaces. APRIL will provide innovative sensoring and computational vision supporting detection of slips, estimate weight, dynamic center of mass, or regulating grasping forces while manipulating deformable objects of different types (e.g. paper, chicken breast, shoes’ insoles, viscoelastic textile materials, cables, etc.). A federated approach, wireless communication, usage of multipurpose hands and placement of various sensors, will connect all robots to a cloud based knowledge base that will contain the needed information to perform the different jobs.
APRIL system will be deployed in six different demonstration use cases across Europe. Robots integrated in the manufacturing processes will operate on several critical steps that affect production, packing and quality assurance on the different manufacturers involved as pilot sites. On one hand, introduction of APRIL system will produce an expected increase on safety and related health conditions of working environments. On the other hand, APRIL will enable an increase on productivity and quality of the final products; thus leading to a greater competitiveness of European industry.
The project will be implemented in 40 months by 15 partners from 8 European countries.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 557 927,65
28040 Madrid

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Comunidad de Madrid Comunidad de Madrid Madrid
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 557 927,65

Participants (14)