ReconCell: A Reconfigurable robot workCell for fast set-up of automated assembly processes in SMEsadmin
SMEs would benefit from robotic automation for automated assembly, but often cannot use it due to long set-up times & maintenance complexity. Set-up and maintenance require expert knowledge and time for configuration and programming, which is too costly for SMEs. The aim of the ReconCell project is to develop an easy to (re-)configure and (re-)program robotic workcell, making robot solutions commercially viable even for small batch sizes by reducing set-up & maintenance effort substantially.
Specifically, the ReconCell system is based on a layered concept where we start – together with the customer – with business modelling the planned product assembly based on the ReconCell system to assess its economic viability and provide decisive Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). On approval, the next layer of the ReconCell system implements assembly with automated testing in simulation. Here we use reconfigurable hardware elements to design the required workcell layout and assembly processes. After verification, product assembly takes place in the real workcell under machine vision-based monitoring and novel force-based control of execution to assure product quality using the KPIs. We demonstrate the capabilities of the layered ReconCell system on three real use cases provided by the SMEs included in our consortium and two additional use cases, which will be established through an open call. In addition, the consortium has started to establish a network of potential ReconCell users to disseminate information about ReconCell technologies to all actors in the value chain, and to raise awareness about the possibilities of automated robot assembly in SMEs. The final aim is to establish a company that commercializes the workcell and associated technologies developed in the ReconCell project.
ReconCell is a three years project that started on November 1st, 2015. It is part of the I4MS initiative and promoted by the EC to support the European leadership in manufacturing through the adoption of ICT technologies such as robotics. The ReconCell consortium is composed of research partners (Jozef Stefan Institute, University of Southern Denmark, RWTH Aachen, University of Göttingen), technology transfer organisations (Blue Ocean Robotics, HERMIA), and three manufacturing SMEs (ELVEZ, LogicData, and Precizika Metal) that aim at the introduction of advanced robotic technologies for automated assembly in their production processes.