KUKA research cooperation projects
We have found strong partners and work closely with universities and renowned institutions around the world to jointly implement ground-breaking ideas in the fields of automation technology and robotics.
Robotics Enabling Fully-Integrated Logistics Lines for Supermarkets – REFILLS
Modern automation in retail stores such as supermarkets is scarce - apart from simple garbage presses or bottle deposit machines. The EU-funded research project REFILLS wants to change this. Together with well-known partners from the field of robotics, KUKA and SWISSLOG are working on a robotics solution for the automation of four classic logistics steps which can be found in almost every retail branch.
In order to do this, a mobile robotic system with features of a modular system is used. The central unit, a flat transport carrier, can link to various other robot modules and process these logistics steps.
After the initial scanning of the stock of goods and the storage of product data, arriving goods can be pre-sorted into product categories and conveyed in portions to the corresponding shelves. The subsequent filling of the shelf is solved in the first step with a collaborative robotic system. Excess goods are returned autonomously to the warehouse. From there, the REFILL(s) operation, the replenishment, is executed in the last step.
Focus on cooperation
The AREUS EU research project aims to make robot systems and automation processes more environmentally friendly, more efficient and more productive. AREUS focuses on the following research fields:
- Revolutionary technologies for increasing energy efficiency and reducing the ecological footprint
- Energy-efficient design of robot production systems using recuperation (energy recovery) from multiple coupled robots in DC power systems.
- Sustainable optimization of production processes through the optimization of robot path planning in terms of energy consumption with no change in path geometry or cycle time.
The RobDREAM funded project has the objective of increasing the capabilities of robots in their inactive phases in order to process past events and learn from experiences – just as humans do. For RobDREAM, the focus is on these research fields:
- Context-dependent optimization and configuration of algorithms
- Key technologies which improve the navigation, gripping and perception of mobile robots
- System integration and benchmarking
RobDREAM at AUTOMATICA 2016
In the EU research project European Robotics Challenges (EuRoC), we are searching all over Europe for the best providers and implementers of ideas in science and industry for three important future areas in robotics:
• Hyperflexible Working Cell: For this task, innovative manufacturing solutions are developed which benefit European industry and serve to advance manufacturing technologies.
• Shop Floor Logistics and Manipulation: The participants develop solutions for the use of mobile robots and for human-robot collaboration in the areas of logistics and manipulation.
• Plant Inspection and Servicing: Where this challenge is concerned, participants search for solutions for the use of micro aerial robots in real situations.
In each of the three competitions, five teams go head-to-head to tackle predefined tasks over a period of two years. In the final project year, the two best teams are allowed to evaluate their systems with an end customer.
The EU research project MURAB has the goal of improving cancer diagnostics. The aim is to improve the precision and effectiveness of biopsies through assistance from the KUKA lightweight robot LBR iiwa. In this manner, the use of expensive magnetic resonance imaging can be reduced and replaced by robot technology which is just as precise.
The ProDok 4.0 project, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, aims to find a digital solution for the mobile, cloud-based documentation of machines in complex industrial processes.
The project is intended to help take advantage of the opportunities that come with digital transformation. A mobile and process-oriented documentation system such as ProDok 4.0 can simplify the operation and maintenance of machines and thus provide a competitive advantage to machinery builders.
Within the project, KUKA is researching the causes of problems in the development of sensitive robot applications using data analytics and machine learning methods. The documentation is then made available by means of KUKA’s Xpert@work knowledge database.
The European coordination initiative RockEU ran for three years – from 2013 to 2016. Its objective: to build a strong European robotics community. With the founding of the European robotics association euRobotics aisbl, this has been achieved. The follow-on project, RockEU2, which is also sponsored by the European Commission, is now building on this success.
The project aims to intensify the cooperation and exchange between international sponsor organizations, decision-makers and users in order to promote scientific developments and robotic innovations while also encouraging standardization. The activities of this European project include high-profile robotics competitions, such as the European Robotics League.
In the European robotics initiative SMErobotics, KUKA is working alongside European partners to improve the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises in the manufacturing sector. This includes automated production in batch sizes of one at different sites. Here, use is made of innovative, virtual models for simulating, planning and monitoring task execution.
Another development consist in the twin-arm assembly of metallic structures using robots. An operator can simply demonstrate the process, which is then planned automatically and converted into a skills-based program. Skills describe robotic capabilities and expert knowledge – a basic requirement for dealing with production which has many variants.
SMErobotics in 100 seconds
The projects AREUS, ROCKEU2, RobDREAM, MURAB, EuRoC and SMErobotics are sponsored by the European Union through support programs for research, technological development and demonstrators.