Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

OPTOFORCE Report Summary

Project ID: 791913

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - OPTOFORCE (Robot Learning for Unprecedented Quality and Efficiency Improvements in the Manufacturing Industry)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2018-03-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

OptoForce KFT is a Hungarian company, strongly focused on innovation that designs and produces multi-axial force and torque sensors for industrial robots. Our target markets are the small and medium size manufacturers in a great variety of industrial sectors worldwide.
OptoForceX is our new product that comes to fulfill a new market requirement of the SME manufacturers: an innovative Machine Learning expert system that captures and stores data streamed by the sensors, and uses Machine Learning techniques to extract useful information from these data to optimize robot performance. Our system has significant benefits in terms of reducing robot’s set-up and optimization time by 60%, improve robot cycle time up to 15%, and reduce quality inspection, tool wear and maintenance efforts by 30%. OptoForceX enables SME manufacturers to access robotics and ML technologies at an affordable price, without the need to incur in high costs of acquiring or subcontracting highly advanced engineering skills for robot integration, setup or performance optimization.
In order to confirm the feasibility of OptoForceX we have developed the present document that checks the technical, commercial and financial feasibility of our project. We have analyzed the technical developments ahead and prepared an execution plan for the new OptoForceX system. We have performed an in-depth analysis of the target markets, out of which we have developed our market strategy and plan for commercialization. Financially, we have drafted a 5-year financial forecast which has confirmed the potential return on investment of OptoForceX.

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

Activities performed and results obtained:
Task 1: Technical feasibility: We have analyzed the technical requirements of OptoForceX for its compatibility of our system to the most important robot manufacturers. We have defined the technical specifications of the product and the project technical goals. We have prepared the technical execution plan to implement, test and validate OptoForceX, including schedule, resources and cost baselines. Finally, we have prepared a technical risk assessment defining mitigation and contingency plans.
Task 2: Market Analysis and IPR strategy: We have performed a detailed analysis of the robotics market worldwide which included identification of the needs and expectations of our customers, end-users, distributors and other project stakeholders.
We have investigated market trends, drivers, threats and opportunities and carefully analyzed competitors and competing products. We have also evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of our network and refined of our value proposition and our product cost/benefit analysis. We carried out a commercial risk assessment listing challenges and barriers and the means of averting them. We have updated our patent search and technology watch and checked that no IPR conflicts exist for OptoForceX commercialization.
As a result, we have defined our go-to-market strategy and our plans for commercialization, exploitation, IPR protection and dissemination in the target markets including the planning of activities to be performed in phase 2. We have devised a plan for product demonstration and identified collaboration strategies with distributors and manufacturers to host our product demonstrators during phase 2. We have also revised the regulatory framework and confirmed our roadmap for product certification.
Task 3: Business plan: We have created an updated business plan which includes the evaluation of total investment, financial risks and mitigation strategies. We have performed a 5-year analysis on cash-flow and revenues and estimated project financial indicators such as payback and ROI. Budget for phase II has been estimated and required funding beyond the project has been analyzed.

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 advent of sensor and machine learning technologies is permitting the appearance of a second generation of robots (collaborative robots) which are much more flexible, can work alongside with humans in cage-free environments, smaller and much less expensive. OptoforceX is at the centre of this revolution providing robots with tactile sense, simplifying the way robots are programmed, and converting a wealth of field data into valuable information to automatically improve robot performance. Our approach to the market is to provide SME manufacturers with a combined solution of tactile sensor, intuitive robot programming and robot learning system that is inexpensive, easy to implement and allows a very fast payback. Hence, OptoForceX is an enabler for European and worldwide SMEs to participate in the Industry 4.0 revolution at an affordable price, and without the need to develop internally complex and costly robot programming skills.

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