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Innovative robotic applications for highly reconfigurable production lines - VERSATILE

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - VERSATILE (Innovative robotic applications for highly reconfigurable production lines - VERSATILE)

Reporting period: 2018-07-01 to 2019-12-31

The consortium of VERSATILE project focused on maturing the main technological enablers that allow the reconfiguration of robotic cells as requested for the European industry. For this reason, all the developments in VERSATILE pilots implemented a TRL review procedure. This was based on the partners’ experience in developing applications for different industrial sectors in agreement with the end-users and integrators. Activities done in the project were oriented to progress in the project objectives:
Scientific objectives in proposal
• OBJ1. Technology transfer & validation in automotive, aerospace and consumer goods sectors.
• OBJ2. Progress beyond SoA on Perception for Operation in Semi-Structured Environments.
• OBJ3. Progress beyond SoA on Automatic programming tools for highly reconfigurable robot tasks.
• OBJ4. Progress beyond SoA on Mobile Dual arm robots advanced manipulation capabilities.
• OBJ5. Progress beyond the SoA on Synchronization and control framework
Technological objectives (specific)
• Advance in dual-arm manipulation capabilities that will allow robots to carry and manage large objects in a most natural way.
• Advance in the robustness on industrial autonomous navigation using visual servoing and achieving high positioning accuracy (1 mm).
• Advance in the automatic programming of complex robotic applications in semi-structured environments.
• Advance localization based on 3D vision systems with CAD matching and point cloud features extraction. Bin picking and parts occluded were used as representative problems. Achievement of high accuracy in insertion (peg in hole) for drilling and riveting applications with 0.2 mm tolerances.
Business objectives
• Enhance the knowledge on novel technologies in SMEs and system integrators to promote the use of robots in European industry.
• Develop a MRP (Mobile Robotic Platform) that can be used in industrial environments covering different assembly & transport operations and safety issues.
• Develop 3D vision systems easy to use under real industrial applications.
• Calculate realistic ROI for the aeronautic, automotive and consumer goods pilots based on VERSATILE KPIs in demonstrators.
• Increasing awareness of the innovation in the general public with open demonstrators and videos in web page and social media.
VERSATILE demonstrated significant progress in all objectives planned. This can be seen in the publications done by the project partners. However, specific achievements are highlighted:
• Advance in the dual arm manipulation capabilities that will allow robots to carry and manage large objects in a most natural way (Objective 4): UM-LIRMM and TECNALIA developments in dual arm manipulation integrating admittance control with a physically collaborating paradigm with a human. Easy programming of dual-arm manipulation using gravity compensation, enhanced with the navigation features was implemented. These developments are beyond of the SoA in dual-arm manipulation.
• Advance in the robustness on industrial autonomous navigation using visual servoing and achieving 1mm of docking precision: Increasing maturity of autonomous navigation techniques based on ROS framework were transferred from MRP to Autorecon platform. Docking has been stable and robust in PSA and Airbus demonstrators. Feedback from system integrator DGH has been very positive regarding the usability of the system. The visual servoing is used for docking and tool changer as well.
• Advance in the automatic programming of robotic applications: Important improvements like robust Pick and Place with location integrated and navigation tags in the overall cell have been used. The system demonstrated the capability to include all skills required in VERSATILE’s pilots. Next step in development will be the designing of a generic station for testing in production environment of the tool.
• Technology transfer & validation in relevant environment: The three pilots in VERSATILE demonstrated the feasibility to automate manual assemblies in semi-structured working environments. VERSATILE results shown a large potential for several technologies, as the implementation of 2D and 3D vision systems that provide autonomy to the robotic system, and the previously mentioned in this section.
• Impact on technology advances beyond the results of the project.
VERSATILE have demonstrated the feasibility of flexible automation for all pilots in the project. Important progress in dual-arm manipulation, visual servoing for positioning, 3D vision systems integrated with a grasping server, region of interest and parts with occlusions were successfully tested in the demonstrators.
• Impact on competitiveness of partners involved (market shares, new business developments, etc..)
Two exploitable results are highlighted for market exploitation: MRP development in ER1 by DGH and Tecnalia, and Pickit HD - PickApp alliance by Intermodalics and COMAU allows COMAU robots to use one of the best smart cameras in the market directly with PickApp, it is a real connect & use. The MRP exploited by DGH can include modules with the software tested in VERSATILE. Additionally, the robot it self can be configured by simpler hardware (autonomous platforms, only one arm, no torso and vision systems).
Regarding technologies to continue development, promising results in dual-arm manipulation and easy programming will be taken for further development beyond VERSATILE. In the case of dual arm manipulation developed by UM-LIRMM and Tecnalia, the test of the algorithms with industrial-like robots started in VERSATILE will be extended, Ph.D student will be hired in Tecnalia Spain for this purpose. Regarding the easy programming tool, it is the moment to invest in one basic – but flexible robotic cell where parts will be simple to import, and robotic skills will be better related with available grippers.
• Broader economic impact ( e.g. through the use of technology by other economic sectors etc..).
Business plans have a good perspective because VERSATILE technologies can be used in many industrial segments, in the secondary sector - manufacturing. Additionally, dual-arm manipulation using a force control loop has proved a successful and safe robot-human interaction. This control strategy could be applied in the services sector where humans could need support to perform some activities at home.
• Impact on societal challenges if relevant.
The Horizon 2020 define Health and wellbeing as one social challenge. In VERSATILE, ergonomic aspects in the use cases affect the workers that perform those tasks: in the kitting operation, the workers must stand up all the time and without rest periods to avoid affecting the production, it is also a very repetitive work done cyclically; in aeronautic task, workers are exposed to carbon fiber dust and it is a cancerogenic material when it is breathed, additionally, the workstation force workers to use the tools in positions where they are crouched.
VERSATILE intermediate demonstrator in development for Aeronautic pilot
VERSATILE industrial solution for consumer goods pilot case
Detailed concept from VERSATILE solution for PSA pilot
VERSATILE BIC pilot poster