Industrial robots have demonstrated their capacity to meet many different needs, offering a high degree of dexterity, accuracy and efficiency. Their use is extended to all kinds of applications, but it is in the case of large production batches, repetitive operations or risky or unpleasant working conditions where their introduction has been more significant.
However, when the application requires the collaboration between the robot and the worker, including workspace sharing, it is not feasible to use standard industrial robots due to safety being compromised.
Recently, new robotic products have appeared on the marked claiming to be safe when used in the vicinity of humans. These robots offer good solutions for some specific applications where close proximity between humans and robots is a must, however they lack flexibility (in terms of possible physical configurations) or are very expensive.
Furthermore, even these robots are offered as isolated products only capable of carrying out repetitive, accurate movements, limited by fixed, rigid programming mechanisms and without rich perception capabilities or adequate responsive behaviours that have to be developed by the system integrators for any new manufacturing process.
FourByThree aims to create a technological and industrial supply and business model by means of which systems integrators can create custom solutions for robotic applications, in particular for those cases where human-robot safe collaboration is needed, as well as to promote the concept of human robot collaboration among the general public and industry stakeholders.
Four pilot studies are included in the FourByThree project. They all correspond to real industrial needs and are representative of the two possible robot-human relationships in a given workplace without physical fences:
- Coexistence: human and robot conduct independent activities in the same work area
- Collaboration: human and robot work collaboratively to achieve a given goal
There are two different categories of pilot studies:
- Three pilots correspond to production industries, from three different sectors: precision casting, welding and aerospace manufacturing
- The fourth pilot study will be used as a living lab for experimenting with a big number of subjects, mainly during the development process
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