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  • Final Report Summary - COMET (Plug-and-produce COmponents and METhods for adaptive control of industrial robots enabling cost effective, high precision manufacturing in factories of the future)

Final Report Summary - COMET (Plug-and-produce COmponents and METhods for adaptive control of industrial robots enabling cost effective, high precision manufacturing in factories of the future)

Why, you might ask yourself, am I being thanked on reading this executive summary of the COMET project? Well it is simple - this summary and all previous dissemination have been executed using funds from the European Commission. We all pay taxes and a small amount is directed to ‘Brussels’ and by reading this summary you can see what has been done with a tiny part of your tax money. So a ‘thank you’ is appropriate as it is not always clear what happens with the tax we pay. We have also used more tiny parts of your tax money for numerous other activities within our project. There are too many to mention so again, have a look at our website for the videos, press releases, and publications etc. that we have produced to make it obvious and clear to you as a taxpayer what we have done with the €5.3M of budget received from the European Commission. Of course that €5.3M has not only been spent on making videos or writing articles, it has been spent on investigations with the goal being for the manufacturing industry in Europe to start using robots to perform accurate machining operations in more rigid materials like steel and aluminium. Most of the time the manufacturing industry use milling machines which are perfectly suited to do the job, however if it was possible to use robots for certain operations then this could be more cost effective (2-5 times cheaper) and due to its layout much more flexible; it can do the handling and machining in one go! This all sounds easy but several challenges had to be overcome in the project. After working for over 30 months, a very motivated group of 14 partners have been able to demonstrate in 5 real-life case studies from different manufacturing sectors that accurate machining with robots is possible. It is not yet as common and straightforward as machining with a milling machine, but we must remember what machining with the first conventional milling machines was like compared to using today’s CNC milling machines. In the beginning it had its ups and downs but now it is common practice. This is also true of machining with robots; now it will be with ups and downs, but in the COMET project we have proved that it works. With help from a robot integrator (they are essential for the implementation of robots in your manufacturing processes and will help you ‘turn-key’) and a CAD-CAM provider you will quickly see the benefits and opportunities. Integrators and CAD-CAM providers who have been active in the COMET project can be the first point of contact to investigate possibilities with you after you have absorbed all available information on our website. We as a consortium were happily obliged to publish as much information as possible about the outcomes of our project to help you in choosing this new possibility for machining. At the same time we have learnt in the past months that we can further develop the possibilities for machining with robots by:

- Matching robot configuration strategies with milling strategies
- Effective joint management to minimize inaccuracies as a result of backlash
- Further developing an easy method to identify influencing parameters through offline
compensation of robot errors
- Developing the next generation of robot controllers specifically for milling operations

Based upon a successful, motivational and enjoyable cooperation during our project lifetime, the COMET partners are ready to explore these challenges in a new project and again transform them in to a commercial successes (products, services etc.) as is now happening. It has been my pleasure to coordinate (with endless support from ‘my’ Management Board members) the current partnership during this project, and I will be more than happy to do so in the future when writing, submitting and hopefully coordinating COMET-2. Maybe we have inspired you to be one of the partners.

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