DIALOG - Dynamic Integration of Automation with LOGistic

Lead Participant: Atlas Copco IAS UK Limited

Abstract

This project is specifically focused on improving productivity and agility within UK manufacturing. There is a significant lack of agility in current manufacturing systems together with too many non-value-adding activities within manufacturing processes. Automation systems should better-integrate people, production machinery, and internal logistics in holistic, adaptable systems. The integration of automation with logistics via the use of autonomous mobile robots provides far greater agility than traditional manufacturing systems technologies, and the integration of logistics offers very significant potential to improve productivity through elimination of non-value-adding activities. The DIALOG project specifically addresses this business need via the provision of technology that can integrate autonomous manufacturing automation with logistics capabilities. Recent advancements in automation and robotics technologies now provide a market opportunity for the DIALOG approach -- a fusion of affordable autonomous mobile robot (AMR) and collaborative robotic manipulator technology in practical applications-oriented solutions to form mobile manipulator robots (MMRs).

DIALOG innovatively brings together a set of technologies to enable MMR solutions to be effectively delivered in manufacturing applications. The project addresses mechanical modularity, configurable control logic, and integration. This will allow plug and play configuration of MMRs with reference to relevant standards and enable such systems to the engineered and optimised more easily.

The project is targeted on applying the MMR approach into manufacturing and providing the necessary tools and methods. The project consortium has already done significant foundational work in selected use cases related to autonomous product delivery, goods-to-person subassembly systems, and machine tending automation for the supply of batch process materials. The project partner use-cases and demonstrations span the automotive and aerospace, fastening, and food and drink sectors. Wider applicability to battery assembly, horticulture and construction is also to be investigated via interest and SME groups. The principal project deliverables will include MMR requirements capture across three application domains both generically and specifically, capabilities for MMR modular design, control and integration IT Integration frameworks, and supporting engineering tools for proof of concept implementations on three application domain demonstrators.

This industrial research project is (1) primarily focused on Made Smarter Theme 4 targeting adaptable and flexible manufacturing operations and the role of human-centric activities and the evolution of skills in this context, with (2) elements of Theme 1 scope in relation to the smart connected factory, its real-time connectivity and the far greater integration of production automation and in-factory logistics.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Atlas Copco IAS UK Limited, FLINTSHIRE £309,055 £ 61,811
 

Participant

Fully Distributed Systems Ltd, LOUGHBOROUGH £210,234 £ 147,164
University of Warwick, United Kingdom £223,842 £ 223,842
RarUK Automation Limited, Letchworth £20,000
Lear Corporation (UK) Limited, London £365,200 £ 36,520

Publications

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