Made Smarter Innovation - Research Centre for Smart, Collaborative Industrial Robotics

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

Abstract

The UK has fallen significantly behind other countries when it comes to adopting robotics/automation within factories. Collaborative automation, that works directly with people, offers fantastic opportunities for strengthening UK manufacturing and rebuilding the UK economy. It will enable companies to increase productivity, to be more responsive and resilient when facing external pressures (like the Covid-19 pandemic) to protect jobs and to grow.

To enable confident investment in automation, we need to overcome current fundamental barriers. Automation needs to be easier to set up and use, more capable to deal with complex tasks, more flexible in what it can do, and developed to safely and intuitively collaborate in a way that is welcomed by existing workers and wider society.

To overcome these barriers, the ISCF Research Centre in Smart, Collaborative Robotics (CESCIR) has worked with industry to identify four priority areas for research: Collaboration, Autonomy, Simplicity, Acceptance. The initial programme will tackle current fundamental challenges in each of these areas and develop testbeds for demonstration of results. Over the course of the programme, CESCIR will also conduct responsive research, rapidly testing new ideas to solve real world manufacturing automation challenges.

CESCIR will create a network of academia and industry, connecting stakeholders, identifying challenges/opportunities, reviewing progress and sharing results. Open access models and data will enable wider academia to further explore the latest scientific advances. Within the manufacturing industry, large enterprises will benefit as automation can be brought into traditionally manual production processes. Similarly, better accessibility and agility will allow more Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) to benefit from automation, improving their competitiveness within the global market.

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