Co-working robots leveraging advanced human-machine eXperiences and support of operational needs
01/01/2015 - 31/12/2016
Has been initialized

The goal of the ClaXon project is to research how scientists and industrial partners can improve human-robot collaboration (HRC) in the manufacturing industry. Using new sensors such as 3D cameras, ClaXon aims to optimise the interaction between robots, products and humans. Ultimately, ClaXon hopes to foster the social acceptability of robots, while simultaneously studying the economic feasibility of HRC.

Robotics Tailored to the Manufacturing Industry

Nowadays, traditional industrial robots are well integrated into the production processes of major companies. They replace humans, execute heavy-duty tasks and produce large volumes. However, in spite of their high accuracy, robots often operate in screened environments, as they can be a danger for the people around them. What’s more, for companies with alternating production processes, robotics can be too expensive and lack flexibility.

HRC combines the strengths of humans and robots in a new collaborative model. The use of cobots (co-working robots) enables safer operations and a higher product quality. Thanks to intuitive, social controls, companies no longer need to employ specialised staff to operate these cobots. As such, they offer a promising, affordable and flexible alternative for the manufacturing industry. Effective human-robot collaboration can reduce physical stress and gives SMEs access to small-scale, tailored, flexible and cost-effective production.

Human-Robot Collaboration in Practice

Until now, research into HRC had remained mostly lab-based. ClaXon plans to go further and study the concept in a realistic context with actual end-users, in both SMEs and larger companies. Researchers will deploy state-of-the-art technology in the fields of context-sensitivity such as time-of-flight cameras, and touch and proximity sensors.

Together with end-users, system integrators and suppliers, ClaXon aims to develop the necessary knowledge and expertise to improve interaction and collaboration between humans and cobots in the manufacturing industry. This know-how will allow the project partners to refine their service offering, optimise processes and foster awareness among end-users. In the long term, the lessons learnt from the manufacturing industry will be applied to other industries as well.

SMIT is responsible for defining the social and economic requirements for human-robot collaboration by conducting observations and interviews. Furthermore, to explore the current situation of industrial robots in manufacturing, SMIT will conduct a value network analysis of the current situation, but also explore future opportunities in the market. Furthermore, following the Innnovation Binder Method, the social requirements will be used to create scenarios of current and future practices in human-robot collaboration in manufacturing.

Partners: • Robovision; Melexis Technologies; AMS; SOFTKINETIC; SoftKinetic Sensors; Audi; iMinds - EDM-IT – Uhasselt; VUB - R&MM