Industrial Robots-as-a-Service (IRaaS) - Resilient and responsive manufacturing systems enabled by rapidly deployable mobile robots

Lead Research Organisation: Loughborough University
Department Name: Wolfson Sch of Mech, Elec & Manufac Eng

Abstract

Current automation is reliant on large volume applications, with predictable market demands and stable product variants. For companies in emerging and global markets, it is difficult to adopt automation and remain responsive to market changes; as a result companies that need to be responsive are forced to adopt more expensive manual approaches, or rely on off-shore manufacturing in lower wage economies. To address this, UK manufacturing needs more responsive automation.

This project will investigate means to reduce the effort of deploying and repurposing generic off-the-shelf robots and mobile autonomous platforms, and provide them with the ability to work in teams with people and other robots. This will provide the foundation to use Industrial Robots-as-a-Service (IRaaS).

The IRaaS model will allow manufacturers to quickly respond to meet the demands of changing markets, dynamically organise work to maximise their productivity, and be less exposed to any sudden shocks and system failures. This will augment the capability of the skilled human workforce who will be enabled by automation that is responsive to human-defined production needs.

The IRaaS model will also bring the key benefits inherent to product service systems. From a reliability perspective, the system will be resilient as malfunctioning robots can easily be replaced; from a financial perspective, the model will remove the need for large capital investment by enabling subscription based services; and from an environmental perspective, it will enable sustainable manufacturing concepts such as repair, re-use and re-manufacture, eliminating the waste and cost of decommissioning monolithic automation equipment.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Discussion with Mount Robotics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Discussions regarding possible collaboration in relation to the IRaaS project, which increased interest for future collaboration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Discussions with Arrival, London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Discussions regarding possible collaboration in relation to the IRaaS project, which increased interest for future collaboration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description IRaaS Project Launch Event/Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact 20 external industrial partners and 8 Loughborough University team members attended the IRaaS launch event/workshop to kick start this project. All partners gave a PowerPoint presentation and discussed what they hoped to gain from participating in this project, whilst the project lead provided information on how the project would be managed, together with its aims and objectives. This was followed by a workshop.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
URL https://iraas.net/events/
 
Description Visit to Measurement Solutions, Derby 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Discussions regarding possible collaboration in relation to the IRaaS project, which increased interest for future collaboration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Visit to True Position Robotics, Nottingham 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Discussions regarding possible collaboration in relation to the IRaaS project, which increased interest for future collaboration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021
 
Description Visit to the Manufacturing Technology Centre, Coventry 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Discussions regarding possible collaboration in relation to the IRaaS project, which increased interest for future collaboration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2021