ARFLEX innovation claims

The diffusion of the designed changes will depend on the intrinsic new functional characteristics, robot flexibility and adaptability to a variety of jobs with ease reconfigurations. It will also depend on the reduced costs compared the today state of the art. In synthesis, the key innovation points that characterise the project are: flexibility and adaptability; high performance; innovative control; low cost; high potential of diffusion; application of high tech from other fields.
FLEXIBILITY AND ADAPTABILITY: the extensive application of a distributed embedded control system will increase communalities of different design and allow the integration in a single robot, units of different mission specifications paving the way to remotely controlled dynamic reconfiguration. Communications technologies - will also be addressed to in-crease flexibility and reduce costs by reducing wiring to a minimum.
HIGH PERFORMANCE from: higher integration of computing power; use of more sophisticated algorithms and more advanced sensors. Higher performance will bring new benefits, such as extra features that can be appealing to the market: an important objective to pursue.
INNOVATIVE CONTROL: based first of all on the use of the most advanced non-linear control theories. The step change in the control conception will come by combining sensors on the motors and sensors on the manipulator hands to get instantaneous positioning. Intelligent sensors and actuators will provide new tools for enhancing performance of motion control strategies for example by reducing the computation time needed to deal with the complexity of rich sensor data. Fusion algorithms will be used to improve the features and capacity of the system.
LOW COST would come basically from:
- lower costs of electronic systems due to more integrated and standardized systems, removing as much as possible the need of computing engines external to the robot. The ARFLEX robot control system - based on component architecture and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) elements - will reduce the costs of electronic up to 40%. The industrial robots low market dimension will be overcome by the embedded flexible architecture, increasing market volume from communality with different robot types.
- lower costs of mechanical systems as lower quality of such parts can be compensated by the electronic system. Although prices of industrial robots in the last decade have fallen from an index 100 to 50, there are still significant potential for the cost reductions, especially in the mechanical systems (World Robotics 2002: Statistics, Market Analysis, Forecasts). Moreover, there are recently high practical demands to increase flexibility of robotic system by mounting convenient robots on mobile platforms (e.g. for welding, forestry applications etc.). The mechanical costs reduction in these systems becomes even more expressed. The objective of the ARFLEX is to support reducing of mechanical robot costs till 50% within the class of the considered performance level.
- lower software costs: using a component-oriented architecture with reusable, easy adaptable and connectable software components will reduce software integration cost in the installation of industrial robots up to 70 percent, and yet providing efficient solutions for demanding practical requirements (e.g. smaller size, less costs, less time, more functionality, more dependability etc.).
HIGH POTENTIAL OF DIFFUSION: to the sector itself of industrial robots through the opening of new markets in lower capital intensity manufacturing sectors, low volume production and SME (due to the increased adaptability and flexibility and reduced equipment costs); as a replacement of other manufacturing equipments (such as milling, semi automatic operated cranes, etc.).
APPLICATION OF HIGH TECH FROM OTHER FIELDS TO INDUSTRIAL SECTOR: such as the high scale integration the System on Chip (SoC) design, the hierarchical sw/hw architecture foreseeing a combination of middleware and function specialised integrated components as extensively developed for consumer applications.