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 Oct. 10, 2018)
Lending robot information has been released. See the lending robot list 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.

Assembly Challenge of WRS 2018

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 IROS 2017 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 elemental tasks required for the Belt Drive Unit assembly, and "Kitting," a necessary task in the previous stage of the assembly task.

Details of each task are shown below.

1. Task board

This is a competition of elemental technologies required for the Belt Drive Unit assembly. In this task, parts laid out on a placement mat should be assembled in the designated locations on the task board.

Technical challenges in Task board are as follows:

  • part recognition
  • peg-insertion and nut screwing
  • flexible part (a belt)
  • universal hand

2. Kitting

This is a competition of kitting, which is regarded as a preparation task for the Belt Drive Unit assembly. In this task, the necessary parts should be picked from the part bin and be laid in a part-kitting tray.

Technical challenges in Kitting are as follows:

  • part recognition
  • bin picking
  • universal hand

3. Assembly

This is a competition of the Belt Drive Unit assembly and system reconfiguration. In this task, the Belt Drive Unit should be assembled using the parts laid out in the part-kitting tray kitted and prepared in advance. Moreover, system reconfiguration should be done in agile and lean manners to assemble new parts with different specifications from those announced in advance (surprise parts) as a new production demand.

Technical challenges in Assembly are as follows:

  • assembling parts with very small clearances
  • part recognition
  • jig-less assembly
  • flexible part (a belt)
  • simultaneous 3-part assembly
  • tiny parts
  • agile response to surprise parts

Lending Robots

The following industrial robots on the lending robot list will be provided to some participating teams by the sponsors.

Contact Us

Please email for inquiries and applications regarding sponsorship.