Innovation Update

Ventac and Malone Group robotics research for agile manufacturingSTAR: Stitching and Taping Assisted by Robotics

Ventac are excited to announce that we have commenced a collaborative research project with Malone Group in the field of robotic enabled agile manufacturing. The European-funded project, entitled ‘STAR – Stitching and Taping Assisted by Robotics, will seek to advance the use and capability of robotics as an assistive technology within short run manufacturing processes.  The project will demonstrate the benefits of environment digitalisation to SME operations. During this 8-month project, Ventac will have the privilege of accessing a pan-European network of robotics experts from the European Digital Innovation Hub (DIH2), which includes the applied research expertise of Irish Manufacturing Research centre (IMR). DIH² is the European Union-funded initiative accelerating factories through agile manufacturing and robotics.

About the STAR Project

The STAR project is 1 of only 11 successful industry consortia awarded funding under a Horizon 2020 European Research & Innovation cascade funding opportunity.  The project attracted the interest of over 500 European companies, and Ventac are delighted to be partnering with the automation expertise of Malone Group and their hardware partner, OMRON for the duration of the project.

The project will explore the scaling and reaction potential that will be found from the close collaboration of precision cobots with skilled human operators on that feature.  The project will not simply investigate production process capability, but will also seek to identify how machine learning and machine vision can contribute to operational excellence within the existing responsive and flexible production environment. The project will aim to complement the ability of highly skilled Ventac production staff with rapid and tooling-free robot edge finishing operations, while furthering the confidence in short lead time, batch size of one production.

The Projects Aim

Outside of the physical process of component manufacturing, the project will establish the wider business benefits of a digital SME factory with the introduction of data analytics, digital twin simulations, and the use of smart factory services for interconnected, cloud-accessible equipment.

Malone Group are the technology provider on the project, and will bring their expertise and experience in the fields of robotics and automation.  The project will feature a cross-organisational team of Ventac’s own knowledge and skills-based staff. The collaboration of robotics expertise unlocks the multi-generation secrets of the disappearing skill set that is industrial textile sewing of complex geometry components.

What This Means For Ventac

The project will bring Ventac to the forefront of cobot-enabled digital factory operations. Whilst enabling other manufacturing SMEs with complicated manual finishing operations to envision how robotics could augment their service offering via redeployment of the open-source technology, with modified end effector attachments, and use of accessible data analytic libraries.

Further details of the STAR project or its progress can be made available upon request. Parties interested in the STAR project or collaborating with Ventac as technology experts or lead technology evaluators should contact Ian McDevitt, Head of Innovation at Ventac, by email.

 

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