ReconCell closure: New manufacturing – smart, affordable and effectivejuanpavon
ReconCell has ended – eight participating organizations from six different countries have successfully collaborated across the borders of the European Union since 2015, developing an autonomous, reconfigurable workcell for manufacturing firms. The result was highly appreciated by the evaluators, who recognized the viability, feasibility and desirability of the solution, envisioning its future potential for the manufacturing industry.
From a technical point of view, the overall objective of the ReconCell project was to design and implement a new kind of autonomous robot workcell, attractive for both, large production lines as well as few-of-a-kind productions, the latter often being visible in SMEs. The innovative and novel element of the workcell is the small amount of human intervention required for programming, monitoring and executing assembly operations. Furthermore, the ability to be almost automatically reconfigurable makes this workcell accessible to users without expert knowledge in the field of robotics and one-of-a-kind on the market!
The consortium’s commercial stance was to develop a robot system that is developed for and ready to be brought to the market. While this approach was backed by a promising business case, the strategy was to put strong efforts into the preparation of the post-project commercial phase. The results of the project will also be used in other research project to mature the technology and test it in further real-life demonstrations.
Together with different partners, five experiments were carried out throughout the project. Precizika Metal aimed to automate the assembly of parts of a glass mounting gripper, with constraints being a limited workspace and a screwing mechanism that had to be optimized. One of the results was a passive low-cost rotation table that was developed for the workcell. Logicdata desired to automate the assembly of customized drive systems, in order to be able to produce closer to the customer at a cost-efficient rate and thereby significantly reducing delivery times. Company Elvez d.o.o. had the ambition to automate the reconfiguration of fixture points in the assembly process of automotive lights. Specifically, they aimed to replace human intervention-intensive processes, and reduce the number of different workcells to produce different products of the same family to one workcell. Ivamax looked for an improvement in quality and consistency of airport signalization lights through an automated assembly. Above that, human resources could potentially be allocated to higher added value projects and costs could be optimized. HOP Ubiquitous desired automating the process of mounting printed circuit boards on a backplate and simplifying the overall assembly process.
Throughout the ReconCell project we were able to develop a robotic workcell that is showing potential to provide valuable improvements for SMEs and larger firms of the manufacturing industry. This includes the ability to achieve increased degrees of customization at high production volumes without increasing manufacturing costs, resulting in increased flexibility and competitiveness for production companies. Through automation, we could observe improved quality and consistency of produced parts, while at the same time, human resources can potentially be moved to higher value-added projects, resulting in a significant optimization of costs. Surely, this is not only beneficial for the production companies, but also for those acquiring the products – the customer!
ReconCell had very ambitious goals and made solid progress during the project lifetime, achieving all of the milestones and objectives. The final evaluation emphasized the potential of the robot simulation software (VEROSIM) and observed that the demonstrator of the hardware platform was well appreciated by the end-users. Furthermore, the evaluators pointed out the reconfigurability of the robot system as the main benefit for the end-user, and they project a significant immediate or potential impact on to the results of ReconCell.
if you would like to get more details on the results of the project, do not hesitate and check the article on Smart hardware integration with advanced robot programming technologies for efficient reconfiguration of robot workcells, in the link.