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ROBO-PARTNER Sintesi della relazione

Project ID: 608855
Finanziato nell'ambito di: FP7-NMP
Paese: Turkey

Periodic Report Summary 2 - ROBO-PARTNER (Seamless Human-Robot Cooperation for Intelligent, Flexible and Safe Operations in the Assembly Factories of the Future)

Project Context and Objectives:
ROBO-PARTNER promotes a hybrid solution involving the safe cooperation of human operators with autonomous and adapting robotic systems through a user-friendly interaction. The synergy effect of the robot’s precision, repeatability and strength with the human’s intelligence and flexibility will be much greater especially for the case of small scale production where reconfigurability and adaptability are of great importance. ROBO-PARTNER aims towards achieving the following objectives:
• Highly intuitive interfaces for safe human-robot cooperation during assembly and heavy part manipulation by using sensors, visual servoing, speech recognition, advanced control algorithms (such as force/impedance control) to regulate the manipulation of the parts by the robots and close the gap between the human and the robot in the assembly line.
• Implementing user friendly and intuitive support systems using state of the art AR technologies that will provide the operator with multiple types of information enhancing his awareness of the production status
• Development and introduction of advanced safety strategies and equipment allowing fenceless human robot assembly cells. Different levels of interaction are supported: common workspace sharing, small scale cooperation outside the task and joint human robot assembly task execution.
• Robust methods and software tools for determining the optimal planning of assembly/disassembly operations using a multi-criteria, simulation enabled approach. Ergonomics, resource utilization and safety will be the prevailing criteria for designing the hybrid production process.
• Simplified and user-friendly robot programming by means of: a) Programming by Demonstration (PbD) and b) Robot instructions libraries which allow the robot program to be incrementally and automatically created.
• Introduction of mobile robots (ground and overhead) acting as assistants to the human operators. The scope involves autonomously coordinated mobile platforms for supplying parts to the assembly line and high payload and overhead, general purpose handling robots with advanced navigation and interaction capabilities.
• Introduction of more flexible integration and communication system for the shared data (both control and sensor) by utilizing a distributed computing model and ontology services, in order to properly distribute the acquired data to every relevant resource, networking all possible resources and link them all for higher level coordination by the Task planner.

The project is based on industrial applications, aiming to implement safe seamless cooperation between robots and human operators in industrial environments with reliable equipment capable of supporting the high level of cooperation. A demonstration in automotive will involve the cooperated assembly of a car’s rear axle, including its brake drums, cables, clips and screws. A second demonstration will focus on the assembly of a complex geometry part (polionda) of a refrigerator in a white goods industry. The close cooperation of the operator with the robot will aim in reducing the quality problems that occurred at this station and reduce the load of the worker. Finally, in a third case, the project will enable the cooperation of a human and a high payload overhead robot that manipulates large parts that need to be inspected. The cognitive load of the operator in this case will be reduced with the assistance of the project implemented equipment and modules.

Project Results:
The work executed in the first period of the project can be summarized in the following:
- Definition of the project pilot case scenarios involving:
o Automotive Industry: The pilot case is focused on the assembly of a car’s rear axle. Emphasis is given on providing the hardware and software tools for the safe cooperation between operators and robots. Moreover, the operator will be assisted by intralogistics mobile assisting units (IMAUs) that will timely deliver the required parts/consumables.
o White goods Industry: This pilot case is focused in a sealing process in the pre-assembly line and in particular in the “polionda” panel assembly. For this assembly to take place, the robot has to work in close proximity with the human operator while retaining enough of its speed in order for the assembly cycle time to be kept to a low value.
o Large parts inspection Industry: This pilot case is focused on 3D inspection of large parts. One of the main objectives is to provide the required intuitive interfaces in order to avoid stressful situations and to guarantee the safety of human, robot, parts and surrounding elements. An overhead robot will execute the operator’s commands by undertaking the obstacle detection, the collision avoidance and the path planning.
- The first phase of the project, “Generalized end user requirements” which ended on M6 involved the activities of:
o Identification of the requirements for human-robot collaboration and workspace sharing,
o Definition of the metrics for validation of the project performance and success.
o Capturing the hardware and software requirements for safe human robot cooperation.
o Description of the reference architecture of the ROBO-PARTNER modules
o Reporting of current technologies and requirements for user friendly robot programming techniques and smart intra-factory logistics using mobile units
o Derivation of detailed specifications for the design and development of the project’s building blocks and modules
o Identification & analysis of applicable law related to safety in human robot collaboration
o Design, implementation and management of the project web portal
- Currently the project has completed the second step of phase 2, “Design, Implementation and Integration phase” including the following:
o Design and prototype development of technologies and devices for Human Robot Collaboration including:
• Part and surrounding identification
• Safe space sharing
• Voice interaction
• Advanced GUI
o Design and prototype development of intuitive user friendly programming libraries incorporating multi modal interfaces (speech, force sensing and gesture detection)
• Task oriented programming
• Multi –channel communication and s/w libraries (voice, vision, gesture devices)
• Icon based programming Scratch and SNAP
• Design of integration of sensors technologies (e.g. for manual guidance, speech recognition etc.)
o Task planning methodology design and Task Planner software prototype development
• HRI task planner prototype
• Intralogistics task planner prototype
• AR application for operator support prototype
o Design of the Mobile Unit Hardware and software components – Building of the mobile unit platform
• Intralogistics mobile assistant unit design and assembly
• Intralogistics mobile assistant control and task planner communication
o First risk assessment on the pilot cases and designed technologies
o Design, development and partial testing of the common integration and communication architecture
• HRI manufacturing schedule execution
• Shared data repository
• Logistics schedule execution
• Sensor data synthesis

Potential Impact:
The expected results of the project are the following:
• Safety tools for human robot collaboration (Skin, power & force limiting s/w, capacitive sensor). This result will provide a solution for enabling human robot collaboration in industrial environments. Implementation of sensors for collision detection (tactile sensor skin) as well as collision avoidance (capacitive sensor) in the robotic arm will be included. Additionally, a software for power and force limiting will be provided for implementation in the robot’s controller including models for current prediction.
• Dynamic safety zones for robotized applications. This result will provide a safety system based on a 3D camera in communication with robots able to activate different safety zones according to the process and robot position. Furthermore, this system will allow a safe work of operators in cooperative tasks with robots in a fenceless environment.
• Hand guidance package for COMAU robots. This result will provide a software package supporting manual guidance of COMAU industrial robots from human operator. Force/ Torque sensors will be implemented for enabling this functionality.
• Overhead cooperative robot for handling large parts. This result will include a robot that can handle big parts (up to 3.500 kg) in collaboration with (and instructed by) human operators providing flexibility, accuracy, safety and security in the shop floor.
• Mobile robots for intelligent intra-logistics – Planning algorithms for intralogistics. This result will provide a mobile robot designed to perform intra-logistics tasks in an assembly environment. This mobile robot will be able to perform on-demand logistics operations leveraging on decentralized autonomous path planning and obstacle avoidance. Additionally, software tool that schedules and monitors the operation of the line ensuring that IMAUs will bring the requested parts in time will be provided.
• Augmented Reality (AR) package for human – robot cooperation. Software package for providing support to the operator through AR. In that way, the operator will have faster access to the process information and the production will have less stoppages. Furthermore, safety will be enhanced by providing multiple types of alerts including visualization of safe areas.
• Human robot task planning software (Task planner). A software providing a semi-automatic generation and evaluation of alternative cooperation plans using various metrics in order to define an efficient plan. This allows better and faster generation and evaluation of the alternative plans so that production engineers need less time to setup HRC collaborative tasks.
• Simplified robot programming suite and applications. The result will provide a) programming by demonstration techniques and b) Robot instructions libraries allowing the robot program to be incrementally and automatically created. This enable the easy programming of the robot movements without specialized programming knowledge. As a result, the project aims to eliminate the skepticism for introducing robots in SMEs that cannot afford the maintenance costs for such applications.
• Multi modal interfaces for human robot cooperation (speech, gestures). This result will include the architecture and the mechanisms that will allow operators to use different channels to program and control the robot. Direct physical interaction though force sensing, gestures, audio commands and remote controllers are some of these interfaces. The benefits lay in simplifying the interaction with the robot, allowing non trained and older operators to easily cooperate with it in a vast range of applications in assembly and manufacturing where their coexistence is currently prohibited.
• Integration and communication architecture. An integrated communication software that allows centralized control and peer-to-peer communication supporting the message exchange, data sharing and coordination of autonomous and human robot collaborative operation.

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