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ECHORD: Human-robot collaboration in airplane assembly

The EU-funded project ECHORD (European Clearing House for Open Robotics Development) aims at strengthening the cooperation between scientific research and industry in robotics. Overcoming the gap between industrial needs and scientific research in robotics is one of the key issues of the ECHORD project. About 50 experiments are intended to indentify and define the future direction of robotics research. More info is available on the project website.

Manual positioning of the aircraft part by worker
Manual positioning of the aircraft part by worker
Measurement for precise positioning
Measurement for precise positioning

The IMS project JILAS (Jig-Less Airplane Assembly in low volume production by enhanced human robot interaction) is one of these experiments and focuses on “human-robot interfacing and safety”. The core of the JILAS experiment is to realize a scenario where a human worker and an industrial robot assemble airplane components in a classical human-robot-coworker manner. The experiment shall deliver information about the general feasibility of this task as well as the profitability of such a scenario.

To implement this, an industrial robot with newest state of the art safety technology and the ability of performing force controlled movements is used. The robot has the capability to be hand guided by grasping and moving the gripped work piece. By the help of the robot the human worker picks up a component and moves it near to the final assembly position (first image). By the help of an external absolute measurement system the worker acquires the current component positions (second image) in order to enable the main controller to calculate a robot path to the final position of the gripped component. Then, by command of the human worker, the robot moves the component, possibly force controlled or at least force supervised, to its final position.

Project details

Project reference: 231143

Project funded by the European Commission

Robotics award: 3rd place:

The JILAS project reached third place at the Hannover Messe Robotics Award 2013.

Media reports:

Links to our project partners:

Links to the EU-Project leader ECHORD:

JILAS demo clip:

Contact IMS:

Richard Alexander Hüppi

ZHAW School of Engineering
Institute of Mechatronic Systems
Technikumstrasse 5
8400 Winterthur

+41 (0) 58 934 78 33