02: Changing requirements: the scenario shows how a networked production sys- tem is able to react dynamically to indi- vidual customer requests. 04: Customised end product: individual items, like the 3D head models produced as an example, are becoming an integral part of the factory of tomorrow. BionicWorkplace Flexible production down to batch size 1 Whether it is shorter lead times, faster product life cycles or high flexibility with regard to quantities and variety, the requirements of the production of the future are manifold and are changing fast- er than ever before. This industrial change requires a new way for humans, machines and data to interact. A crucial role in this respect, besides the digital networking of entire installations, is also played by self-learning systems and robot-based automation solutions, which work hand in hand to- gether with humans – like the BionicCobot, which Festo developed in 2017 as part of the Bionic Learning Network. Robot arm with human movement patterns The pneumatic lightweight robot is based on the human arm in terms of its anatomical construction and – like its biological mo- del – solves many tasks with the help of its flexible and sensitive movements. Due to this flexibility and intuitive operability, the BionicCobot can interact directly and safely with people. The strict separation between worker and robot for safety reasons will therefore no longer be necessary in future. Artificial intelligence for efficient collaboration In the BionicWorkplace, it is precisely these collaborative abilities of the robot that are brought to bear. The flexible workplace is equipped with numerous assistance systems and peripheral de- vices, which are networked and communicate with each other. At the same time, artificial intelligence and machine learning methods turn the BionicWorkplace into a learning and anticipative system that continuously optimises itself. In this way, a human can directly interact with the BionicCobot and control it using move- ment, touch or speech. It is also possible to manipulate the system remotely. In future there will be a call for the manufactured products to be as equally flexible as the place of work and the arrangement of the working environment. Due to its modular concept, the set-up and equipment of the BionicWorkplace can be easily and individually adapted, depending on the requirements and tasks. The following scenario shows how efficient and safe human-machine collabor- ation enables the manufacture of customised products down to batch size 1. Possible scenario for customised production For the manufacture of acrylic glass sections for an individual model of a head, a laser cutter is integrated in the worktop of the BionicWorkplace. For this purpose, the facial features of a person previously scanned using a smartphone with a depth-sensing camera are converted into a CAD model, which a software program then breaks down into separate slices. According to this 3D tem- plate, the laser cutter mounted on a planar surface gantry cuts the elements out of acrylic glass. The BionicCobot takes the slices from the cutter’s cutting area and hands the worker the parts in the right sequence, who then puts them together piece by piece to make a unique model. The constant automatic feed of material in this scenario is taken care of by a Robotino ® , which autonomously shuttles between the stations and safely finds its way by means of a laser scanner. It is loaded by a refined version of the BionicMotionRobot, a soft ro- botics structure with pneumatic compartments and a 3D knitted textile covering. This construction thus combines all the key elem- ents of robot technology. Support and relief for the human The BionicCobot supports the worker when doing monotonous and ergonomically strenuous jobs. It can also operate in areas that are dangerous for humans, like reaching into the laser cutter. The worker in turn performs the jobs for which they are better suited – when a high level of dexterity, agility and creative thinking are required. The whole workplace is ergonomically designed and can be indi- vidually adapted to people down to the lighting. Besides the BionicCobot, a key element is a large projection screen, which is placed at the centre of the worker’s field of vision. It supplies the worker with all the relevant information and reacts dynamically with its contents to the relevant requirements. Recording the worker’s position and working environment All around the projection screen, various camera systems are fit- ted, which constantly record the positions of the worker, compo- nents and tools. The system recognises the worker and their move- ments by their special work clothing. 01: Collaborative working environment: the BionicWorkplace interacting with the BionicMotionRobot as a pick-and-place unit and a Robotino ® . 03: Modular concept: besides the laser cutter, other applications can be inte- grated in the workplace for production in batch size 1. 01 02 04 03 2 Festo AG & Co. KG 3 BionicWorkplace: Human-robot collaboration with artificial intelligence