World Robot Summit

October 17-21, 2018 World Robot Summit 2018 | August / October 2020 World Robot Summit 2020

Industrial Robotics Category

"Toward agile one-off manufacturing"

This category aims at realizing future manufacturing systems
that can respond to variously changing orders
(ultimately, even an order for a one-off product)
by reconfiguring the system in an agile and lean manner.

Chairperson, Industrial Robotics Competition Committee

Yasuyoshi Yokokohji

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Graduate School of Engineering, Kobe University

Industrial robots that have spread rapidly worldwide since the 1980s have played an important role in the field of manufacturing.
Although industrial robots, which are good at accurately repeating the same task but inflexible, had been efficient in mass production era, they have become difficult to meet the demands of high-mix low-volume production in recent years.
Particularly, "assembly" is a difficult task for robots because it takes time to prepare peripheral devices such as part feeders and jigs, and careful teaching is required for precise part fitting. Therefore, many assembling works are performed manually by human workers.
However, labor shortage and labor cost is becoming a serious problem recently both in Japan and abroad, and realization of a robot system that can handle high-mix low-volume production is strongly desired.

Based on this background, we in the WRC manufacturing category expect participating teams to develop a robot system that can automatically generate motion procedures from given product information and can recognize, grasp, and assemble various parts including flexible parts. Ultimately, we aim at "agile one-off manufacturing" where efficient manufacturing is possible even for one-off products by quickly reconfiguring the system without teaching and jigs.

Assembly Challenge

Detailed rules will be updated as necessary. We will keep you informed about any progress. (Latest version as of Mar.7, 2018).
Lending robot information has been released. Click here for details. Teams can apply for their choices in their entry sheet.


This contest is aimed at configuring robot systems in agile and lean manners
so that the configured systems can assemble some model products
containing several technical components required in assembling industrial products
and other goods as quickly and accurately as possible.

Belt Drive Unit

Technical Challenge (subject to change)

In the 2018 competition, the teams have to assemble a Belt Drive Unit, which is an even more complex model product than the Gear Unit used in the 2017 Trial Task (conducted at the IROS2017 2nd Robotic Grasping and Manipulation Competition).

To achieve our goal of "Agile one-off manufacturing," the teams are required to assemble not only the parts that are announced in advance but also some "surprise parts," which will be announced just before the competition.

Prior to the belt-drive unit assembly, the teams have to complete the "Task board," which contains some elementary tasks required for the belt-drive unit assembly, and "Kitting", a necessary task in the previous stage of the assembly task.

Technical challenges in the 2018 Task includes not only the ones already given in the 2017 Trial Task, such as:

  • Assembling parts with very small clearances
  • Part recognition
  • Jig-less assembly

But also, the following new challenges for the Belt Drive Unit:

  • Flexible parts (a belt and cables)
  • Simultaneous 3-part assembly
  • Tiny parts (M3 Set Screws, etc.)
  • Agile response to surprise parts.

Example robot layout:

(manipulator: 5kg payload, max reach 700 mm)

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