DIH² believes in the power of robotics to transform the agility of manufacturing SMEs and to drive economic growth throughout Europe. Our role is to facilitate the connections that enable agile production in factories, where speed and versatility are essential to satisfy customer demand.
To deliver against our belief, we have funded 26 Transfer Technology Experiments (TTEs) in SMEs over a wide range of industry sectors in multiple countries and our Local Evangelists in Robotics (LERs) have been the key to making this happen.
|ARP - Agile Robotized Processing
In Serbia, Concept Line is a small family-run company producing premium furniture, 90% of which is custom-made. As such, their challenge was making the finish of the final product consistent.
ETF’s Dr Zavisa Gordic explains how DIH² addressed the challenge. “Because most of the product is custom made, it was not practical to buy large expensive equipment requiring highly trained workers, so a more agile solution was required. Vision Equipment specialized in robotics applications and machine-vision systems, and they developed the ARP solution for Concept. In simple terms, ARP was about making a small, robotized cell that could sand and finish the product. The solution automatically recognises the shape of the part that can be placed on the production line, the worker inputs the required finish, cameras determine the trajectories, and the robot performs the processing. It is a simple and intuitive, but very effective solution.”
|COBITT - Robotization of manufacturing processes for a revolutionary skateboard deck
Capsule Skateboards produces one of the most durable and sustainable skateboards available in the global marketplace. For Capsule, the challenge was how to move from a manual production process to an automated one, decrease production costs, and deliver a consistent high-quality end-product. Varnis Charalambous, LER at CyRIC (Cyprus Research and Innovation Centre) explains how the COBITT solution addressed this challenge. “COBITT brought together two technology providers – the Mobile Devices Laboratory of Frederick University of Cyprus that brought the software components and the UCY Robotics Lab of the University of Cyprus who provided the hardware. Together they created a solution that uses a 3-axis laser cutter, a mobile robot and a 5-axis CNC Router that not only delivered fully against Capsule’s requirements but is a product that can deliver flexible implementation in the wider manufacturing industry for multilayer composite and synthetic materials.”
|D-Mould - A digital system for smart injection moulding production lines
In Slovenia, D-Mould brought together two technology partners TECOS and Flexido – as well as a manufacturing company called Polycom. Polycom supplies injection-moulded parts for the automotive, household, and electronic sectors. Their niche market is customers who need technically demanding products with high tolerances and specialist materials. Meanwhile, Flexido specializes in the technological restructuring of toolmaking using a very high level of automation and robotization and TECOS is a Slovenian toolmaker cluster with a reputation of being a leading research and innovation centre for the Slovenian manufacturing industry.
Borut Zrim, LER at Pomurje Technology Park explains more: "D-Mould is a digital system for automating a smart injection moulding production line. Parts produced from the moulding machine are quickly assessed for quality, they are mechanically picked and then placed into a crate using a cobot arm, after which they are transported by autonomous vehicles to a vertical storage space where they are again picked and placed into shelves of the warehouse by a robotic arm. Many of the components of D-Mould are applicable to other industrial sectors and we are already seeing strong interest from other potential users of the solution."
|FlexMill - Flexible Engineering and Milling for Aerospace Parts
The FlexMill project brought together Ro-Ra Aviation Systems and TCM Systems that already had an existing working relationship. Ro-Ra is a leading specialist in aerospace rod design and technology provider TCM has expertise in cutting edge technology and automation engineering.
Daniel Reischl, LER at LCM explains more. “FlexMill was about creating a solution whereby the charge life of tools in the production facility could be monitored remotely and then replacement tools could be delivered to the machinist on the shop floor on a just-in-time basis using an AMR, thus eliminating gaps in production. The result for Ro-Ra is a faster, automated, and more efficient process, and for TCM it has given them a new product to add to their portfolio that they are already offering to other customers.”
|GRIDIRON - Intelligent automated testing of electronic devices for Covid 19 detection
Varnis Charalambous, LER at Cyprus Research and Innovation Centre (CyRic) explains the story behind GRIDIRON. “Embio Diagnostics is a rapidly growing biotech company. For them, every minute counts when processing DNA samples in the laboratory - it’s a complex and time-consuming manual process that can take 4 hours to complete. For the GRIDIRON project, we brought together The AiR Institute and FIW Consulting to develop a solution that deployed a liquid-handling robot. As a result, key parts of the process have been automated and this has successfully reduced sampling errors and increased efficiency and precision.”
|InnoWest - Increase productivity through automated polishing of metal welded assemblies
Andrei Martîniuc LER at Transilvania IT Cluster explains the story behind the InnoWest project. “West Side Production is a metal parts manufacturer located in Satu Mare in Romania that needed to mechanise welding and polishing processes on the shop floor. Inno Robotics, an industrial robot integrator, developed the InnoWest application to address the challenge by creating a robotic welding solution that delivered increased productivity, traceability and high-quality end products using a single robotic cell.”
|MediScara - Customized quality control and manufacturing for medical device factories
Balazs Barta of PBN was the LER overseeing the Mediscara project in Hungary: “Medicor is a long-established Hungarian medical device manufacturer producing cutting-edge technology for neonatal care and like many SMEs they face issues with supply chain fragility, but Medicor also has the problem of how to comply with new European legislation coming into force that will require all medical devices to be traceable and labelled with unique IDs.
Experienced robotic tech provider, HSM Automatika addressed these two challenges by developing Mediscara. It’s a modular solution featuring two robotic cells, one a 6-axis robot, and a second using automated visual checks and laser marking. The solution contains 3 highly reusable ROSE-APs that mean Mediscara can be adapted to address similar requirements of other SMEs.”
|Oscar - Operation for Self-checked Co-operative Assembly with Humans and Robots
CREATE LER, Pierluigi Cirillo, tells us about the OSCAR project. “For a manufacturer like Alitrak S.r.l., which produces complex electromechanical devices, the assembly process can take a long time. This phase is typically performed manually, and the human operator plays a central role because the production batches are too small and variable to justify the usage of an expensive fully automated process. OSCAR is a solution developed by FlexSight and Natural Intelligent Technologies that demonstrates how robotics can accelerate industrial processes, providing the human operator with safe and effective support. The result is achieved by employing AI and a mixed-reality interface specifically developed to visualize and interact with the FIWARE infrastructure.”
|PoRoLog - Poly Robots for Logistics
Proxinnov LER, Valentin Bonneau explains the story behind the PoRoLog project. “Bleu Jour is a French computer manufacturer that wanted to increase storage density in its warehouse to enable it to operate 24/7. PoRoLog was designed to demonstrate how two smaller M-bots that individually could only transport small parcels could be aggregated into a larger Bi-bot capable of transporting a much heavier pallet around a warehouse facility. MecaBotiX, a French start-up has developed modular robots that can transport and lift payloads of up to 1,000kg when they are joined together, and for this experiment they teamed-up with Ortelio, a software house located in the UK, that has developed a fleet management system called Noos Open which provides the operator with a dashboard that can control the activities of the robot. This is relatively early-stage development of the solution, but the TTE was a success and they have attracted strong interest from large warehouse operators, so the future looks good!”
|Prebots - Enhancing Prepreg manufacturing in SMEs through the use of CoBots
Transilvania IT Cluster LER, Andrei Martiniuc explains the background to the Prebots project. “Composite Industries is a Romanian SME that manufactures carbon fibre products across a wide range of industrial sectors. Carbon fibre is widely used in production of vehicles where it is essential that parts are as light as possible whilst still offering a good strength to weight ratio. These properties have made carbon fibre very popular in aerospace, civil engineering, military, motorsports, and other competition sports. But the lamination process of carbon fibre parts is hard to automatize and so it is mostly done manually. Spanish technology partner Canonical Robots developed PreBots which demonstrated qualitative results in automating the lamination process of carbon fibre and this can greatly boost the productivity of the factories in this industrial sector.”
|RAM ASP - Robotic Process Automation in large scale additive production
Davorka Moslavac Forjan is the DIH² LER at ICENT – Innovation Centre Nikola Tesla and was the catalyst in bringing ADMA-PRO and Tips srl together for the RAM-ASP project.
“ADMA- PRO manufactures products that protect the human body in a sporting or work context. The company works exclusively with Additive Manufacturing (AM) technologies and uses 3D printers to produce elastomeric components. Tips has over 20 years’ experience in precision mechanics and industrial automation and developed the RAM-ASP solution to automate, consolidate and increase the reliability of the 3D printing process, combining robotics, software, and advanced sensors. The result for ADMA-PRO is a powerful, versatile, and easy-to-use solution in the manufacturing facility, enabling 24/7 printing, lower labour costs and reduced waste.”
|Robo4Toys - Robotics for integrated injection demolding, de/palettizing, quality inspection and assembly of toys
Robo4Toys is a project that addresses robotics for integrated injection demolding, de/palettizing, quality inspection and assembly of toys.
Balazs, the DIH² LER at PBN explains more – “Artrade Kft is a Hungarian toy producer that has been in business for 30 years. In Robo4Toys, we focused on the Dice-on-Dice product which consists of plastic components and bolt magnets. Part manufacturing was already highly automated however assembly of the toy end-product was being done manually.
Grip Plast Kft has 11 years’ experience in automating plastic production and their task here was to automate the assembly process of the Dice-on-Dice product and take Artrade from an Industry 1.0 to an Industry 4.0 automation level. The solution uses three industrial robots, exchange grippers, machine vision and a tray palletizing/depalletizing system. On the shop floor, the operator’s intervention need has gone from continuous to real-time on-call mode, and both the operator and the production manager can monitor all production events and KPIs on-site and on remote real-time digitized platforms.”
|Robosonic - Post processing of blow mould plastic parts
Daniel Reischl, LER at LCM brought together Huber Kunstoffverarbeitung located in southern Germany and Rowa Automation based in Upper Austria.
Huber is a plastics manufacturer that supplies to customers in the electrical, automotive, plant engineering, medical technology, and agricultural sectors. They pride themselves on being able to respond quickly to urgent customer requests, but the nature of their production set-up means that there are many manual procedures and a low degree of automation in the manufacturing facility. Machine set-up time and the manual post-processing of parts are particular bottlenecks.
Rowa Automation is a technology provider that develops automation solutions for SMEs. For the Robosonic project, Rowa created FiWare-based software solutions that reduced the set-up time of various production machines by allowing simple information to be accessed using QR codes. Huber can now also integrate new products more quickly through direct program exchange between the digital twin and the industrial robot. Coming out of the project, Rowa now has a standardised modular robot cell product called MicBotX. MicBotX is flexible and can be used across a wide range of solutions with different processing technologies, such as machine loading, assembly, milling and cutting, and there is the possibility to combine several platforms enabling even complex process to be automated.
|RomanTIG - Robotized Item Manipulator for TIG Welding
RomanTIG is a collaboration between Astroflex and technology provider, Claret. Astroflex is an industry leader in the manufacturing of flexible hoses where high quality standards and consistency in the welding process are critical.
Pierluigi Cirillo, LER at CREATE-DIH explains more: “RomanTIG is a robotics-based solution which can perform welding and the inspection control of variable size stainless steel antivibration tubes at one station in the manufacturing facility. The adaptive system developed by Claret provides reliability for the handling of variable size pieces and the technology based on computer vision guarantees accuracy of the welding inspection. The use of standard protocols allows quick integration with FIWARE that allows the performance of the production system in terms of productivity and quality to be accurately tracked.”