A major drawback for many European manufacturers looking to add automation to their factory floors is the price and turnaround time. The costs associated with switching over to an automated factory cause many manufacturers to stick with their current processes. Now there is an alternative: the Factory-In-A-Day project.
The FACTORY-IN-A-DAY project’s ultimate goal is to reduce the installation time – and related cost of installation – from months to one single day. As part of the Commission’s Economic Recovery Plan, this will help European manufacturing enterprises adapt to global competitive pressures by improving the technological base of manufacturing across a broad range of sectors.
In practice, the project will achieve the following. Before the robot is actually taken to the SME premises, a system integrator will analyse which steps in the process can be taken over by the robot. In most cases, repetitive work can be done by a robot, while the human worker carries out more flexible, accurate tasks and deals with problem-solving.
New standardised arms, mobile platforms, and hands will be combined with 3D printed custom parts, capable of being designed in a matter of hours from novel design templates. This will greatly reduce the time it takes plants to automate and be up and running. New self-calibration routines and a novel software framework will furthermore allow the easy interconnection of robot components and existing machinery.
This system will allow for collaboration between robots and humans, faster implementation times, and even offer leasing to relieve the burden of the cost associated with purchasing. The project has a budget of 11.9 million Euro for a four year term.
Check out phys.org for more on this project.