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H2020

HEPHAESTUS Report Summary

Project ID: 732513
Funded under: H2020-EU.2.1.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - HEPHAESTUS (Highly automatEd PHysical Achievements and PerformancES using cable roboTs Unique Systems)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2017-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

HEPHAESTUS project introduces Robotics and Autonomous Systems use in the Construction Sector where at this moment the presence of this type of products is minor or almost non-existent. Specifically, the project focuses to give novel solutions to one of the most important segments of the construction sector which is the segment related to the facades and the works that need to be executed when this element of the building is built or needs maintenance.
HEPHAESTUS project proposes a new automatized way to install facades providing at the end a whole solution not only highly industrialized in production but also in installation and maintenance. These last two activities are done at this moment in a manual way using different types of cranes but without the benefits that can be provided by an automatic way of working. The proposal envisages a techno-economical assessment of the foreseen approaches and includes a business plan of the proposed demonstrator, a prototype of the cable-robot with all its components, a prototype of the curtain wall façade and a prototype of building to check how all the systems developed works in real conditions. All the elements allow the robotics companies of the project to include the developments of the project into a relevant industrial sector, such as construction, that allows a massive consumption of the solutions. Demonstration activities devoted to products manufacturing will address scalability and replicability of the proposed concepts to end up with TRL 7-8 where a system prototype is demonstrated in operational environment.
HEPHAESTUS has been conceived as a solution for accomplishing multiple tasks on vertical or inclined planes of the built and outdoor environment. For that purpose, the HEPHAESTUS system is mainly based on a cable-driven robot. The system integrates several technologies that are already developed into a multiple job performer. Besides the cable-driven robot, there is a modular end-effector kit. This modular end-effector kit can host several tools. From one side, it can host task accomplishing tool, which can be different at each time where HEPHAESTUS is applied. On the other side, it also hosts all the accessory devices that are necessary for the sensing and controlling the system. It must be pointed out the Multi-functionality of the HEPHAESTUS system.
HEPHAESTUS project aims at automating the On-site Execution or Installation process for empowering and strengthening the Construction Sector in Europe and for positioning the European Robotic Industry as leader and reference in the huge and new growing market for the robotics.
It is estimated that the price of the new system will be similar to the cranes (gondolas) used for cleaning and perform the maintenance of the building but with savings due to the automatization of the cleaning and maintenance activities. The HEPHAESTUS system is going to increase the safety conditions of the workers when a curtain wall is installed/cleaned/or under maintenance in high buildings avoiding the necessity to use climbers or platforms exposed to wind movements. Moreover, it is estimated a reduction on installation times and an increase on the quality of the final installation (due to the automatization of the process)

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The technical approach can be divided in various levels:
• LEVEL 1: Specifications, requirements and conception of the cable robot
• LEVEL 2: Design of the different components of the cable-robot
• LEVEL 3: Demonstration
• LEVEL 4: Business strategies for future marketing and exploitation
The first reporting period covers from Month 01 to 12. During this time all the activities were finished in Level 1. Objectives of Level 1 were achieved during reporting period 1. Activities from level 2 have started during this first period and many of them will finish during the reporting period 2. During RP1 the following main results were obtained:
• Analysis of the existing technologies
• Identification of the functional and non-functional requirements of the HEPHAESTUS cable robot
• Definition of the concept of the building and the curtain wall module
• Definition of the cable robot configurations and the methodology and design criteria. Axiomatic design, conceptual design of mobile platform, secondary robot system, stabilizing system, etc.
• Requirements on the calibration procedure and algorithms. Analysis of the state of the art of these elements. Initial selection of these procedures. Definition of requirements of the cable robot control, control algorithms and relevant models. Initial definition of the control system
• Market and stakeholder analysis. Drivers, barriers and assessment of other competitors on the market have been identified.
• Web page creation and definition of the collaboration tools to be used during the project
• Ethics requirements.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The proposal brings relevant impacts at different levels:
• Increasing the market-readiness of robotics applications
- The main sector targeted by the proposed innovation project is the new non-residential construction market which represents an annual market volume of €200,000 million. With minimum modifications, the technology can be adapted for residential buildings as well as for renovation and maintenance works.
• Cost-benefit model and impact on the façade market cost structure
- The savings from the use of HEPHAESTUS are estimated at 20% of installation costs, which accounts for 5% of the total cost of the curtain wall. There is also an additional net saving, as the gondola for maintenance is no longer necessary. As a result, the total initial investment is reduced by 12.5%. Furthermore, after the construction of the building HEPHAESTUS will continue to deliver cost savings of 44% in annual maintenance and cleaning costs
• Lowering of market entry barriers of a business or regulatory nature and increasing industrial and commercial investment in Europe
- HEPHAESTUS proposes three main crossed working lines: Transparency of the overall process, strongly increase of the communication and interrelation of all the stakeholders and highlight the benefits of the innovative renovation process
• Contributing to the faster growth of competitive small and mid-scale robotics companies in Europe
- The project will open a route for European SMEs for the entry into the curtain wall market due to the lacks in automation in the installation phase.
• Improving social impacts, including employment
- Creation of new direct high-level jobs, creation of direct jobs and reducing the risk of accidents
• Improving innovation capacity and integration of new knowledge at EU level
- The partners will integrate their knowledge and findings efficiently in the value chain to generate a much broader knowledge that can be shared with the industrial sectors involved
• Improving industrial competitiveness and growth of companies
- HEPHAESTUS project will position the European Robotic Industry as leader and reference in the huge and new growing market for the robotics. it will allow the massive introduction of robotics and autonomous systems (RAS) to the Construction Sector.
• Contribution to achieve the objectives of EU policies
- The project will contribute to maintaining and developing the technology leading edge in key areas such as robotics
- The project fosters the adoption of new technologies, as robotic, by the construction sector, one of the challenges that were identified by the EC.

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