Factories of the Future will have to be smart and green:
SMART: high performance, reconfigurable, adaptive and evolving factories based on robotic technologies,
GREEN: reduced ecological footprint through a more efficient use, at factory level, of material and energy resources.
Industrial Robotics is, unfortunately, intrinsically energy intensive, and its massive adoption in the manufacturing industry compromises factories sustainability. The AREUS project objective is to overcome this limitation providing an innovative integrated technology and engineering platform, intrinsically interdisciplinary, modular and configurable.
At the department of Signals and Systems research is conducted that is fundamental to the AREUS project, specifically in optimization, supervision and control of robot systems.
– To meet the environmental challenges, novel methods for energy optimization have recently been developed for systems with interacting and moving equipment. For robot cells, where a number of robots are acting in the same area, energy optimal schedules are obtained at the same time as desired efficiency in terms of cycle time is fulfilled. Similarly, conveyor systems are optimized concerning energy but also lifetime of individual components, says Professor Bengt Lennartsson, research leader in the Automation group at Signals and Systems.
The AREUS project is based on four innovations
1. An integrated set of Energy Consumption reduction technologies (R-ECO) based on a novel factory electrical power supply system to exchange, harvest, store and recover energy at factory level improving the use of renewable energy sources;
2. A Robotic production systems Integrated Design and simulation environment (R-ID) for the eco-efficient design of robotic plants focused on the simulation of energy flows under a co-evolving product-process-robotic production systems approach;
3. A Robotic manufacturing processes OPTimization environment (R-OPT) for the optimal sustainable production scheduling under a control engineering approach;
4. LCA methods(R-LCA) to assess and optimize both environmental and economic costs linked with the flows of Material, Energy and Waste (MEW) of co-evolving products and processes realized with robotic production systems.
These building blocks will enable the modular and scalable/progressive development of singularly optimized sustainable robotic manufacturing applications (or the re-adaptation of existing production facilities) and will be demonstrated on 7 industrial case studies for their future exploitment.
About the AREUS project
The AREUS project was launched in September 2013. It has a budget of approx. EUR 6 million, of which the EU contributes EUR 3.68 million through the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Development (FP7).
The AREUS project consists of representatives from both industry and academia: Chalmers University of Technology, Daimler AG, Danfoss A/S, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet, Delfoi OY, Engrotec Consulting GMBH, KUKA Roboter GMBH, Rīgas Tehniskā Universitāte, SIR Spa och Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia.
The project is coordinated by Università degli studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy.