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The UA takes part in a project to implement a robotic system designed to improve working conditions in industries with low automation levels

Alicante has hosted the kick-off meeting of COMMANDIA, a European project made up of a consortium of Spanish, French and Portuguese universities and technological centres



 Meeting of consortium members at INESCOP and visit to Pikokaizen, production centre of Grupo Pikolinos


Alicante. Tuesday 15 May 2018

Automating manipulation systems and improving the working conditions in industries specialising in “deformable” products, such as clothing, toys or leather articles, is the main objective of COMMANDIA, a European project in which researchers from the University of Alicante group in automatics, robotics and artificial vision (AUROVA) take part.

Many of the tasks performed by workers in these industries are manual, repetitive and non-ergonomic, involving the manipulation of very heavy objects and even of toxic products with harmful effects on health. “All in all, these tasks put human operators at risk, which could be avoided by designing precise robotic platforms with specific functions,” AUROVA members explain.

Faced with this technological challenge, Spanish, French and Portuguese researchers have teamed up to develop a robotic system able to perform manipulation tasks with objects having flexible or elastic properties in the COMMANDIA project (Collaborative Robotic Mobile Manipulation of Deformable Objects in Industrial Applications), running from 2018 to 2021.

Led by SIGMA Clermont, a French school of advanced chemical and mechanical engineering, the other project partners are the Pascal Institute, also from France, the universities of Zaragoza, Alicante and Coimbra, Portugal, and the Spanish Technological Institute for Footwear and Related Areas (INESCOP). The project kick-off meeting was held at INESCOP, in Elda, Alicante, last week.

In particular, the group in automatics, robotics and artificial vision (AUROVA), from the UA Institute for Computer Engineering Research (IUII), will work with the University of Coimbra on the implementation of visual perception techniques to represent the surfaces of deformable objects in 3D and monitor how their shape changes throughout the robotic manipulation process.

Furthermore, AUROVA and SIGMA Clermont will be tasked with developing strategies of multimodal control of robotic manipulators to ensure optimal grip and the desired deformation. AUROVA, in cooperation with the other project partners, also takes part in all the actions aimed at integrating the implemented algorithms and developing a prototype to test and validate the system.

“We are implementing new techniques and technologies to perceive this type of objects, both without contact (through vision) and with contact (involving touch and strength), and also to control and plan the movement of groups of mobile robotic arms for the smart and dynamic manipulation of deformable objects. These new robotic functions will have applications in several tasks throughout the footwear sector's productive process,” the UA researchers say. 

The project is co-funded by the Interreg Sudoe Programme and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with over €942,830. 



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