Over the last years both Research and Industry have tried to address the requirement for flexible production by introducing technologies that allow humans and robots to coexist and share production tasks. The benefits of implementing this production paradigm lays in the implementation of flexible and highly reconfigurable production systems which can easily change their operation to accommodate different product families, similar to the way that a human operator would do.
In this direction, the latest trends of European Research foster the integration of new forms of interaction between robots and workers aiming to make the most out of the synergy effect. This means to efficiently combine and exploit the robot’s precision, repeatability and strength with the human’s intelligence and flexibility.
Currently, there are 7 EU projects that are addressing the topic of Human Robot Collaboration (HRC) targeting on industrial applications in different manufacturing domains. All projects are already in Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 4-5, aiming at reaching to TRL 6-7, i.e. to demonstrate the technologies and prototypes in relevant and operational environments, respectively. To this end, the projects will be deployed in real manufacturing environments.
Each project addresses human-robot collaboration in different market sectors, and therefore they will explore new business models and means to overcome the lagging adaptation of robotics in manufacturing. A key element to such adaptation will be the reproducibility of the research results in more use-cases.
THOMAS – Mobile dual arm robotic workers with embedded cognition for hybrid and dynamically reconfigurable manufacturing systems
The project aims to create a dynamically reconfigurable shopfloor utilizing autonomous, mobile dual arm workers. These workers are able to persceive their environment and through reasoning, cooperate with each other and with other production resources including human operators.
COROMA – Cognitively enhanced robot for the manufacturing of metal and composite parts
COROMA project proposes to develop a modular robotic system to perform multiple manufacturing operations, including safe human-robot collaboration, automatic manufacturing scene understanding, increased autonomy with self-learning and knowledge sharing capability.
Collaborate – Co-production cell performing human-robot collaborative assembly
This project aims to equip robots with collaborative skills so that they can learn from the human and become valuable assistants for assembly operations, in an effective and safe manner.
HR-Recycler – Hybrid Human-Robot RECYcling plant for electriCal and eLEctRonic equipment
HR-Recycler will target the development of a ‘hybrid human-robot recycling plant for electrical and electronic equipment’ operating in an indoor environment.
Rossini – RObot enhanced SenSing, INtelligence and actuation to Improve job quality in manufacturing
The project aims to develop a disruptive, inherently safe hardware-software platform for the design and deployment of human-robot collaboration (HRC) applications in manufacturing.
SHERLOCK – Seamless and safe human – centred robotic applications for novel collaborative workplaces
SHERLOCK project aims to introduce the latest safe robotic technologies including high payload collaborative arms, exoskeletons and mobile manipulators in diverse production environments, enhancing them with smart mechatronics and AI based cognition, creating efficient HRC stations that are designed to be safe and guarantee the acceptance and wellbeing of operators.
Sharework – Safe and effective human-robot cooperation towards a better competiveness on current automation lack manufacturing processes
Sharework project develops a Europe-wide smart modular solution integrated by different software and hardware modules to allow robots to physically interact with humans within a collaborative production environment without the need for physical protection barriers.
The project boosts process productivity and improves the ergonomics of those workstations where it is implemented.