Proactive diagnosis and design of CoBot deployment in small and medium-sized companies
context of the project:

Increasing competitive pressure and a shortage of skilled workers are currently challenges for the German economy. For medium-sized businesses, which are regarded as the backbone of the German economy, innovative, collaborating robots (so-called CoBots) could be an opportunity to bridge or even overcome these challenges. CoBots enable direct cooperation with humans and can be adapted to a wide range of tasks with little effort. The potential of CoBots lies above all in the more efficient organisation of work processes and the increased attractiveness of workplaces, as monotonous and physically stressful activities can be taken over by CoBots. So far, SMEs have not made use of these diverse advantages. This is due in particular to the frequent lack of organisational and personnel capacities as well as process-accompanying planning and decision-making aids which identify, evaluate and implement possible assignments.

Objectives and expected results:

Against this background, the research project ProBot is developing a virtual diagnostic case which identifies possible interfaces for the introduction of CoBot solutions. The diagnostic kit is to cover detailed, company-specific adaptable and easy to use planning and decision aids, so that starting conditions can be examined exactly and CoBot application possibilities can be estimated well-founded.
The results of the research project will ultimately support SMEs in systematically tapping the potential of human-robot collaboration and thus increasing their competitiveness.
Through transfer partners, catalogues of criteria, tools for extended profitability and deployment analyses, process models and success stories will be made known. The diagnostic kit will be available for other interested SMEs, e.g. from the logistics sector, to download from the project homepage.

Approach to achieving objectives:

To achieve these goals, the Institute for Learning and Innovation in Networks (HsKA, ILIN), the Robogistics Laboratory (HsKA, Prof. Wurll) and the Institute for Work Science and Business Organization (KIT, ifab) work closely together with SMEs from the manufacturing industry.
These are in detail:

Schnorr GmbH
Maus GmbH Model and mould making
Leutron GmbH
RAUCH agricultural machinery factory GmbH
In each partner company, promising applications for human-robot solutions are identified on the basis of the personnel and organizational conditions prevailing there and their added value for the company is evaluated. For this purpose, a work plan with the following seven work packages (AP) was developed, which in turn are subdivided into partial work packages (TAP):

WP 1: Requirements analysis
WP 2: Identification and analysis of suitable CoBot application cases
WP 3: Conception and development of human-robot interaction
WP 4: Implementation and evaluation of CoBot solutions
WP 5: Development of the ProBot process facilitator
WP 6: Best Practice Exchange and Transfer
Ap 7: Project Management and Coordination
Throughout the process, the focus will be on which socio-technical factors are crucial for the successful deployment of human-robot teams and how SMEs can be enabled to proactively assess and shape these factors.