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 one-off product)
by reconfiguring the system in agile and lean manners.

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

Participant Registration:
Scheduled to start from 4th Jan. 2018


This contest is aimed at configuring robot systems for the quick and accurate assembly of model products containing technical components required in assembling industrial products and other goods.

Belt Drive Unit

Technical Challenge (subject to change)

Assemble a Belt Drive Unit, an even more complex model unit than the Gear Unit used in the 2017 Trial Task (conducted at the IROS2017 2nd Robotic Grasping and Manipulation Competition). In the 2018 competition, as part of the goal of "Agile one-off manufacturing," not only will assembly of the pre-announced unit be required, but also assembly using special "surprise parts," announced directly before the match. What's more, before the assembly competition, there will be a Task Board for analyzing the performance of operation elements in assembling the Belt Drive Unit, and Kitting, an essential pre-assembly task.

Technical challenges arising in the 2018 Task:

  • Assembling parts with very small clearances
  • Part recognition
  • Jigless assembly

And, in addition to those brought directly from the Gear Unit, these new challenges are offered with the Belt Drive Unit:

  • Flexible parts (belts, cables), transparent parts (cover)
  • Simultaneous 3-part assembly
  • Microparts (M3 Set Screws, etc.)
  • Agile response to surprise parts.

Example robot layout:

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

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