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Steyr, Australia

Agency: Cordis | Branch: H2020 | Program: IA | Phase: FoF-06-2014 | Award Amount: 7.23M | Year: 2015

The European robotics industry is moving towards a new generation of robots, based on safety in the workplace and the ability to work alongside humans. This new generation is paramount to making the factories of the future more cost-effective and restoring the competitiveness of the European manufacturing industry. However, the European manufacturing industry is facing the following challenges: (1) lack of adaptability, (2) lack of flexibility, and (3) lack of vertical integration. The proposed SYMBIO-TIC project addresses these important issues towards a safe, dynamic, intuitive and cost-effective working environment were immersive and symbiotic collaboration between human workers and robots can take place and bring significant benefits to robot-reluctant industries (where current tasks and processes are thought too complex to be automated). The benefits that the project can bring about include lower costs, increased safety, better working conditions and higher profitability through improved adaptability, flexibility, performance and seamless integration. This project is planned for 48 months with a consortium of 15 partners from 7 EU Member States.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: FoF.NMP.2013-10 | Award Amount: 2.88M | Year: 2013

This project aims at the development of an automatic quality control and feedback mechanism to improve draping of carbon fibres on complex parts. There is a strong need in the automotive industry for automatic systems that perform quality control and improve draping processes in order to allow high production volumes. The technology that is being developed in the project will include a new sensor system for robust detection of fibre orientation combined with a robotic system to scan complex parts. This is based on a new technology that uses reflection models of carbon fibre to solve the problems encountered with earlier vision-based approaches. The data coming from the inspection system will be fed into draping simulation to improve the accuracy of the processes. Draping is the process of placing woven carbon material on typically complex 3D parts (preforms) with the goal of having the fibres oriented along specific directions predicted by finite element calculations. This is done to maximize the strength-to-weight ratio of the part. There is a strong trend in the automotive industry towards lightweight parts to increase fuel efficiency, also considering the needs of electrical vehicles. Setting up the draping process for a complex part takes up to 50 preforms for trial-and-error improvements. Current production processes are thus not yet adequate to cover the expected volumes of several 100.000 parts per year. The project aims at shortening process development times by 90% and allowing automatic 100% quality control of fibre orientation. The industry-led consortium consists of European key partners in draping simulation, manufacturing of carbon parts for the automotive industry, sensor developers and robotic experts. It is complemented by a group of interested end users, e.g. European car manufacturers that are associated to the project.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2013-1 | Award Amount: 1.48M | Year: 2014

In the forging industry the biggest part of production costs are material costs. Different processes are used to get the final shape. Some processes e. g. machining have a bad material utilization. To raise the competitiveness of SMEs, one approach is to improve the material utilization by decreasing scrap material (flash, chips). A possibility for a higher material utilization is cross wedge rolling (CWR), which is a flashless forming operation. Conventionally CWR uses expensive round wedge tools. This is only economic at large batch sizes due to high machine and tool cost. Most SMEs do not have such large batches. The aim of the project is a reduction of valuable materials (stainless steel, titanium) and energy consumption for SMEs in the European forging industry. One possibility is the usage of CWR tools in flat wedge configuration by which process costs can be decreased significantly for small and medium batch sizes. Such a CWR-machine has been built and tested under laboratory conditions, but is not in industrial use in the EU until now. Using CWR the material utilization shall be improved for two model product (turbine blade and heavy duty common rail) made of titanium and stainless steel. So far, the preforming methods lead to high amounts of flash. CWR of these materials needs further scientific research in order to enable a process with a narrow temperature field to avoid typical CWR-defects like voids in the work piece. For the model products tools in flat wedge configuration will be designed. A temperature sensor with a computer-based analysis method will be developed as online quality control, in order to avoid defects on the work pieces. In parallel, a CWR-machine will be developed for the special needs of SMEs. For industrial tests, the CWR-machine will be build up, the tools will be mounted and a batch will be produced. In comparison the conventional process chain including a machining, material savings up to 25 % will be possible using the project results.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: FoF.NMP.2012-5 | Award Amount: 3.63M | Year: 2012

Todays fabrication methods for micro devices can require expensive tooling and long turnaround times, making empirical, performance-based modifications to the design expensive and time consuming. These methods also are limited in their flexibility, so that complex devices, that incorporate on-board valves, separation media, membranes, and recirculating pumps, cannot be developed and adapted without considerable expense in molds and assembly fixtures. This creates a barrier to the development of medium to large series of complex and higher functionality devices, where the cost-benefit ratio of incorporating functionality is too risky for the typical laboratory, diagnostic or medical device developer. To bridge the gap between a high volume production with specialized equipment and a - until today - not efficient production of medium series, SMEs need to find other, more flexible and scalable approaches to produce microsystems in high volumes. The solution proposed by SMARTLAM builds on a modular, flexible, scalable 3D-Integration scenario (3D-I), where novel polymer film materials will be combined with state of the art, scalable 3D printing, structuring and welding technologies. These technologies will be integrated in one production cell allowing for the production of complete 3D Microsystems. A 3D-Integration modeling environment will be set up to support users of the SMARTLAM environment by the design of 3D-I hardware compatible microsystems. Besides the technological challenges SMARTLAM will demonstrate a complete business case. A SME company acting as OEM service provider will be responsible for the real world benchmarking and testing of the SMARTLAM production platform concept. To assess and demonstrate the potential of SMARTLAM, two SME demonstrator partners will take over the role of potential customers, both providing input as well as assessing the 3-DI approach regarding costs, technological capabilities and adaptiveness.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: FoF.NMP.2011-3 | Award Amount: 3.50M | Year: 2012

Non-destructive testing of components is an important auxiliary process step, not only in post-production but also in regular maintenance. The detection of cracks is currently done by using magnetic particle inspection, which is a decades-old, inefficient and ecologically undesirable process. There is an urgent need in industry to replace this technology with more up-to-date methods that provide fully automatic testing. This project thus aims at the development of an autonomous robotic system for the inspection of metallic and composite parts using thermography. By combining automatic path planning for robots using a process model of thermographic image acquisition and knowledge-based image analysis methods, an inspection robot will be developed that can adapt to new parts within 15 minutes and achieves cycle times in the range of 20-30 seconds. Applications include inspection of metallic and composite parts in the automotive and aircraft industry as well as inspection during regular maintenance, mainly in the aircraft industry, where magnetic particle inspection is often a requirement. Market estimates show a potential of more than 1000 such inspection systems within 5-7 years after the end of the project. Despite a higher initial investment (compared to magnetic particle inspection) the robotic inspection system will save more than 400kEUR after 5 years of operation, thus contributing to a substantial increase in efficiency in these tasks. Furthermore, ecologically undesirable suspensions of magnetic particles that include corrosion-inhibitors can be avoided. The consortium consists of technology providers in robotics, industrial inspection and thermographic cameras and end-users that cover metallic and composite parts in the automotive and aircraft industry. SMEs play a leading role in the project and contribute 60% of the total effort.

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