Bots2ReC: Robots to Re-Construction

  Robot grinding a wall Copyright: © IGMR

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Photo of Simon Schlaeger © Copyright: IGMR

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Motivation

Asbestos is a building substance that is harmful to health and can currently only be removed from residential buildings by a stressful and dangerous manual removal process.

Goal

Development of a semi-automatic asbestos removal process for the safe and at the same time economical rehabilitation of contaminated buildings

Approach

  1. Analysis of the current removal process and further development to a secure and realistic technical solution
  2. Development of a mobile robotic system based on the identified requirements by the process with the following components:
    • Development of a mobile robot as carrier platform
    • Development of a 7-DOF robot arm for guiding tools such as a grinding discs
    • Development of a radar sensor system to enable reliable process monitoring even under harsh environmental conditions
  3. Implementation of the control and process algorithms for the mobile robotic system
    • Use of SLAM techniques based on LIDAR and radar sensors
    • Further development of localisation algorithms by using radar sensors
    • Development of an algorithm for semantic mapping for refurbishment buildings with integrated topology based on GBD cameras
    • Trajectory planning and control of the 7-DOF robot arm
    • Development of a task planning module for a fleet of mobile robots in order to process the individual processing tasks in a time-optimized manner
 

About the Project Bots2ReC

Project Funding

The Robots to Re-Construction project, short Bots2ReC started in February 2016 as an H2020 Innovation Action. This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement 687593.

Project objectives

Despite the high degree of industrial automation, robotic solutions are not yet prevalent in construction and demolition industry. Most tasks are performed manually with the help of conventional electro-mechanic and hydraulic tools. Especially for hazardous environments, where intense safety measures have to be taken to reduce the health risks for employees, manual performance is very inefficient or even prohibited. One major market sector is the clearance and refurbishment on so called rehabilitation sites for example buildings contaminated with asbestos. Every exposure to asbestos fibres is highly hazardous to humans: Personal protective equipment of highest technological standard needs to be exchanged regularly due to the asbestos dust, which increases the costs and time to completion for clearance and refurbishment. From this situation, the main objective for the proposed innovation action emerged:

"Introducing, testing and validating an operational process for the automated removal of asbestos contamination at a real world rehabilitation site using a robotic system."

The proposed robotic system will consist of multiple robotic units, a central aspiration and energy supply and a central process control system, that allows easy programming and the supervision of the automated process and optional remote control. Sensor systems will allow the environmental perception of the system and local monitoring of the asbestos-removal-tasks.

Technology

The proposed robotic system used for the automated removal of asbestos contamination will consist of multiple mobile robotic units that perform the asbestos-removal-tasks autonomously. Each unit consists of a mobile platform and robotic arm with an abrasive tool.

The combination of optical and radar sensor systems will allow the environmental perception and local monitoring of the asbestos-removal-tasks.

Supported by a user interface, the operator can select different areas on a virtual representation of the rehabilitation site and assign asbestos-removal-tasks. Based on the user input, the central process control system plans the task allocation and collaboration between the mobile units and their movements and trajectories autonomously. The user interface allows the permanent supervision of the automated process and optional remote control.

All robotic units are connected to a central aspiration and energy supply to remove the waste from the rehabilitation site and supply sufficient energy for the robotic units.

During operation the presence of the operator and workers at the contaminated space will be avoided as much as possible and be limited to unforeseen difficulties. However, the maximum allowed level of dust at the site ensured by the aspiration system will allow direct intervention by the operator at the end of the process or for unforeseen difficulties or breakdowns. Maintaining the maximum allowed dust level in the quoted valuable range is assured by aspiration of dust right near the tools and state of the art centralized ventilation and filtering system for the site.

The robotic units and tools will be sealed and covered with removable gaskets, where sealing is not feasible. At the end of the operational process, they are cleaned and decontaminated manually by spraying them with low pressure water.

Publications

Industrial Advisory Board

By establishing the Advisory Board we maintain close relationships with the worldwide industrial and research community and ensure that the Bots2ReC project stays at the leading edge of scientific developments. The Advisory Board is regularly informed on the progress of Bots2ReC project's development and provides feedback and ideas intended to shape and accelerate the formation of the Europe-wide integration.

We invite interested companies and organizations to join the Advisory Board and benefit from a direct project feedback:

  • Get updates on the technological developments and achievements within the project.
  • Participate in the development of the system architecture and the soft- and hardware.
  • Participate in the development of approaches to address user- and regulatory issues.
  • Review and discuss the scientific and technical information from the project network.
  • Advising the project network on broad scientific matters in science, technology, social, economic and ethical issues.

Consortium

The Bots2ReC consortium consists of seven partner institutions with extensive expertise both in research and development on the one hand and in product placement and operation of robotic systems on the other hand. Of major importance for the contribution to the project's objectives the representation of all relevant stakeholders of the value chain in the clearance and refurbishment sector.
 
The use case is driven by the industrial Partner Bouygues Construction, covering the whole value chain in the construction sector by designing, building and operating public and private buildings. Its subsidiary Bouygues Batiment Nord-Est construction has detailed knowledge on every aspect of clearance and refurbishment projects. With this partner the end user needs like a owner of a building to be renovated and the requirements of a service provider as Bouygues Construction and Bouygues Batiment Nord-Est are fully represented in the consortium. With its market domain in construction and demolition industry and extensive research expertise in automation, the enterprise will play a significant role in maximizing the project's innovative potential. Bouygues Construction ensures realistic testing conditions during all stages of the project and provide real world testing facilities, which are essential for the final implementation and benchmarking of the operational process and robotic system. Besides Bouygues Construction, Telerobot Labs S.r.l. supports extensive market outreach and contribute decisively to the commercialization and generalization of the project results.
 
The work package sections to conduct the realization, distribution and usage of the robotic system will be significantly affected by the expertise of the partners from industry. Robotnik Automation SLL and Telerobot Labs S.r.l. contribute their knowledge and expertise regarding design, integration, control and navigation of mobile platforms and robotic arms, especially for harsh environments. indurad GmbH contribute their knowledge and expertise regarding optical and radar sensor technology. The Fundacio Eurecat contributes to the process control system and ensures the smooth system integration on hardware and software level, thanks to their wide expertise in these fields.
 
The enhancement of the state of the art technology and the system evaluation is supported by the research partners RWTH Aachen University as Coordinator and Institut Francais De Mécanique Avancée. The project relevant expertise of the RWTH Aachen University lies within in the scope of control and evaluation of robots, advanced task planning algorithms for modular and reconfigurable handling systems and systematic design processes. With the Institut Francais De Mécanique an expert in perception, computer vision, system behaviour analysis, simulation and multi robot collaborations will significantly contribute to the enhancement of the current state of the art.

 

Partner

Danieli Telerobot Labs
indurad
Robotnik
Bouygues Construction
SIGMA Clermont
Eurecat

 

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