Industrial pilot case 1: manipulation for lingerie manufacturing 

The use-case addresses the manufacturing of women lingerie, with the manipulation of fine textile parts during critical process steps, the thermoforming process. SELMARK will make its thermoforming process area available for the installation of the MERGING technology solution on site, and its evaluation in near-real industrial conditions. CEA, LMS and AIMEN, helped by CASP and OPTEAMUM, will elaborate the robotic system installation layout and assist SELMARK in the implementation of the robot and gripper in their premises. SHADOW ES will provide support for the implementation and running of the robot gripper in the production environment, and (if necessary) will perform some adjustments of the robot gripper to the object shape/size and specifications. CASP will fine tune the control and communication software of the robot to the specificities of SELMARK use-case. EPFL will adapt the electro-adhesive gripping device parameters to suit the textile manipulation in the lingerie manufacturing environment. IPC will analyze the gripper / textile interaction and provide support to the products quality analysis.

Industrial pilot case 2: manipulation for food packaging 

The use-case addresses the food packaging market, and more specifically the handling of soft plastic pouches. Empty standing pouch will have to be manipulated for bin picking and placing in correct way at fixed speed in input machine. And already filled pillow pouches will have to be manipulated for volume optimal stacking into a transportation flexible bag. In this task, THIMONNIER will integrate the MERGING technology on its production lines, with the support of the partners. The installation layout of the MERGING solution, adapted to the production step suggested by THIMONNIER (transfer and stacking), will be defined by CEA, LMS and AIMEN, helped by CASP and OPTEAMUM. SHADOW ES will provide support for the implementation and running of the robot gripper in the production environment, and (if necessary) will perform some adjustments of the robot gripper to the object shape/ size and specifications. CASP will fine tune the control and communication software of the robot to the specificities of THIMONNIER use-case. EPFL will adapt the electro-adhesive gripping device to suit the flexible polymer pouches handling. IPC will analyze the gripper / plastic pouches interaction and provide support to the products quality analysis.

Industrial pilot case 3: manipulation for composite manufacturing 

This case originates from the composites industry of automotive sector and more specifically VDL Fibertech Industries B.V which is part of the VDL group and one of the oldest composite companies in the Netherlands. The VDL case will address challenges in the lay-up manufacturing process of large automotive panels. Currently, this process is consisted by a series of manual handling operations of flexible Glass Fiber (GF) textiles in addition to foam blocks. The complete workflow takes place on lay-up moulds where all types of GF textiles and foams are positioned according to manufacturing process specifications before resin infusion. Given the geometry of the panels, the size of the layup textiles and foams involved in the process is large and difficult to be manipulated. Moreover, the dimensions of the mould itself limit effortless operator access to all areas. Subsequently, fluctuations on performance indicators (e.g. cycle time, production rate, quality, etc.) in addition to ergonomic issues may occur. MERGING will tackle those issues by developing and integrating a dexterous handling system able to perform grasping, manipulation and placement of textiles and foam blocks. The envisioned solution proposes a hybrid cell where humans and robots collaborate in fenceless environment. LMS, CEA and AIMEN, helped by CASP and OPTEAMUM, will elaborate the robotic system installation layout, and support VDL in the implementation of the robot and gripper. SHADOW ES will provide support for the implementation and running of the robot gripper in the production environment, and (if necessary) will perform some adjustments of the robot gripper to the object shape/size and specifications. CASP will fine tune the control and communication software of the robot to the specificities of VDL use-case. EPFL will adapt the electro-adhesive gripping device to enable the manipulation. IPC will analyze the gripper / flexible materials (fibres, textile, foams, …) interactions and provide support to the products quality analysis.