The Robot as a Module in the Factory of the Future.

Project Details


In the paradigm of the smart factory, flexible and scalable manufacturing resources are essential. The human worker offers great flexibility, however, in high-wage countries, the human operators are often a sparse resource. Consequently, they are often responsible for several tasks at once, and must prioritize the most critical task. Consequently, the productivity of less critical manual tasks might suffer in the absence of the operator.
This project studied the effect on productivity when deploying a collaborative robot assistant in a plug and produce fashion to seamlessly substitute a human worker at manual workstations on a production line. A collaborative robot assistant was integrated into a moduler, cyber-physical production line in a lab setting, and used to demonstrate the feasibility of the plug-and-produce approach. Based on cycle times and changeover times derived from physical experiments, the operational impact of using the robots was determined on larger scale using a discrete event simulation of several scenarios.

Layman's description

In this project we demonstrated how robot assistants can be used as flexible helper for the human operators in a dynamic production scenario. I.e. when an operator must leave his/her workstation, a robot assistant can take over until the operator comes back.

Key findings

In summary, the results showed great potential for using robot assistants to augment the human operators.
Effective start/end date02/09/201909/03/2020

Collaborative partners

  • University of Southern Denmark (Project partner)
  • 4TECH Robotics Aps (Project partner)
  • Plus Pack A/S (Project partner)
  • Integrate A/S (Project partner)
  • Maskinsikkerhed ApS (Project partner)
  • Department of Materials and Production, Aalborg University (Project partner) (lead)


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • A Case Study of Plug and Produce Robot Assistants for Hybrid Manufacturing Workstations

    Hjorth, S., Schou, C., Ribeiro da Silva, E., Tryggvason, F., Sparre Sørensen, M. & Forbech, H., 2022, Towards Sustainable Customization: Bridging Smart Products and Manufacturing Systems - Proceedings of the 8th Changeable, Agile, Reconfigurable and Virtual Production Conference CARV 2021 and 10th World Mass Customization and Personalization Conference MCPC 2021. Andersen, A-L., Andersen, R., Brunoe, T. D., Larsen, M. S. S., Nielsen, K., Napoleone, A. & Kjeldgaard, S. (eds.). Springer, p. 242-249 8 p. (Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering).

    Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

    Open Access
    2 Citations (Scopus)
  • Plug & Produce robot assistants as shared resources: A simulation approach

    Ribeiro da Silva, E., Schou, C., Hjorth, S., Tryggvason, F. & Sørensen, M. S., Apr 2022, In: Journal of Manufacturing Systems. 63, p. 107-117 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Open Access
    5 Citations (Scopus)
    64 Downloads (Pure)