Industry 4.0 has brought numerous benefits including enhanced reliability, reproducibility, productivity and human safety. Now, industrial automation must evolve to enhance the flexibility and agility of robotics solutions. This will accommodate the growing need for customised products and ensure rapid and seamless switching of production line operation to accommodate unforeseen needs. Together, the flexibility will minimise downtime and decreased productivity and profit. The EU-funded MASTERLY project will develop flexible robotic solutions based on modular grippers and state-of-the-art robotic technologies enhanced with AI driven advanced control and perception capabilities. The technologies will be able to act autonomously to handle many different parts varying in size, shape and material.
Over the last years, production has been shifted from mass production to customization. The conventional production lines, traditionally focused on one product variant or one family of products do show their limitations to cope with the new needs. Moreover, unprecedented worldwide events, such as the recent pandemic crisis, indicated even more the need for flexible production systems that can rapidly switch production to a totally different one (e.g. automotive manufactures had to produce respirators, facemasks etc.).
As a response, MASTERLY aims to develop flexible robotic solutions, constituting of modular grippers combined with state-of-the-art robotic technologies, such as mobile, high and low payload industrial and collaborative robots and smart cranes, enhanced with AI driven advanced control and perception capabilities that will allow them to act autonomously, handling a large variety of parts varying in size, shape and material, while being acceptable by both genders of workforce.
The developments will focus around the following 5 pillars:
1) Innovative, efficient and low consumption systems for storage, retrieval, conveying and pick-and-place using a multi-disciplinary approach combining technologies
2) Robust handling devices and systems, with integrated –AI driven- advanced control
3) User-friendly interfaces for robot/machine control and programming
4) Interoperable S/W and H/W interfaces
5) Industrial Pilot Cases for work piece handling in full production line
The technologies will be tested for flexibility, efficiency & user acceptance in three use cases from different productions sectors, aiming to demonstrate production line and cross sector applicability and adaptability: Elevators manufacturing, focusing on the assembly of electrical cabinets of lifts (KLEEMANN), Sportswear, focusing on warehouse logistics and packaging (DECATHLON) and Aeronautics production, focusing on production of large composite panels of aircraft wings (AERNNOVA).