CROBOHUB Croatian Robotics Digital Innovation Hub, hosted within Innovation Centre Nikola Tesla (ICENT), is the key Croatian facility to support companies to become more competitive by improving their business/production processes as well as products and services by up-taking digital technologies and robotic solutions.
CROBOHUB acts as one-stop-shop, helping Croatian companies to digitalise their business through efficient orchestrating of various stakeholders in robotic innovation ecosystem such as research institutions, business support institutions and businesses operating in the field of robotics that may contribute to the development and application of advanced robotic systems in manufacturing. CROBOHUB also provides connections with investors, facilitates access to financing for digital transformations, helps connect users and suppliers of robotic innovations across the value chain and foster synergies between digital and other key enabling technologies (such as biotech, advanced materials, etc.).
CROBOHUB Hrvatsko robotičko digitalno inovacijsko središte, smješteno u sklopu Inovacijskog centra Nikola Tesla (ICENT), ključno je mjesto pružanja potpore hrvatskim tvrtkama u povećanju konkurentnosti poboljšanjem njihovih poslovnih / proizvodnih procesa, kao i proizvoda i usluga uz pomoć digitalnih tehnologija i robotskih rješenja.
CROBOHUB djeluje po načelu sve-na-jednom-mjestu (one-stop-shop), pomažući hrvatskim tvrtkama da digitaliziraju svoje poslovanje kroz učinkovito orkestriranje različitih dionika u robotskom inovacijskom ekosustavu, poput istraživačkih institucija, institucija za potporu poslovanju te poduzeća koja posluju u području robotike, a koja mogu pridonijeti razvoju i primjeni naprednih robotskih sustava u proizvodnji. CROBOHUB također pruža povezivanje s investitorima, olakšava pristup financiranju digitalnih transformacija, pomaže povezivanju korisnika i dobavljača robotskih inovacija duž lanca vrijednosti i potiče sinergije između digitalnih i drugih ključnih tehnologija (poput biotehnologije, naprednih materijala itd.).
Link to national or regional initiatives for digitising industry
Five thematic priority areas (TPAs) have been identified in the Croatian Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) (https://rio.jrc.ec.europa.eu/en/library/smart-specialisation-strategy-republic-croatia-period-2016-2020-and-action-plan) with relevant technological and production fields:
- Health and quality of life,
- Energy and sustainable environment,
- Transport and mobility,
- Security and
- Food and bio-economy.
Under the 5 TPAs, Croatia additionally identified 13 sub-thematic priority areas (STPAs). Croatia has also identified two cross-cutting themes (CCTs):
- Key Enabling Technologies (KETs) and
- Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
The priority of Croatia in the first few years of S3 implementation is to create a climate that is favourable for innovation and to stimulate business sector investments in R&D activities in order to develop new products, services and technologies that will enable modernization and diversification of the Croatian economy. As such, robotics is identified to engender the support towards formation of innovations and pioneering the disruptive dynamics in the applying industries. So, CROBOHUB DIH and its activities align well with Croatian S3 strategy.
ICENT/CROBOHUB is actively participating in the I4MS initiative of the European Commission through the H2020 funded projects:
- HORSE Open calls beneficiary
- DIH - project CROBOHUB
- Industrial Experiment - project ENDORSE
- L4MS and
- recently awarded DIH2 project.
ICENT/CROBOHUB is one of the partners in H2020 Teaming Phase 1 project Centre of Excellence for Autonomous and Cooperative Robotic Systems (ACROSS).
CROBOHUB is also recognised as a role model DIH in Croatia by the Ministry of Economy, Entrepreneurship and Crafts of the Republic of Croatia, which aims at supporting DIHs in Croatia financially.
Autonomous guided vehicle solutions for optimizing factory logistics
Muraplast Ltd. is the leading and most modern producer of Polyethylene blown film in Croatia and South-eastern European region. Company operates with an annual production capacity of 20.000 tons, 5 production halls (about 12.000 m2 of production and storage capacity) and employs more than 200 people. Company’s main product is extruded Polyethylene tubular blow film. The product is mainly being used for the packaging of beverages, food, and can be used in other industrial applications. From 2013, the company started with production of multilayer flexible packaging and from the end of 2015, with production of paper bags.
Muraplast needs to optimize the raw material feeding from sacks on pallet to container in the process of extrusion of blow film. This optimization would improve human safety (no more lifting of 25 kg of sacks), food contact safety while producing packaging for food contact (reduced risk of contamination while pouring the raw material), and production optimization (less people used for handling the raw material). Problems are that current automation solution for Low‐Density Polyethylene (LDPE) feeding includes big containers and piping, while Muraplast production halls are limited with space (as most of the SMEs are). Raw material comes in sacks on pallets on truck and not in cisterns like in big companies. While the machinery is new, well equipped, and produced by the top machinery producers, the company still faces challenges with basic logistics.
CROBOHUB offered the means for connecting Muraplast and ICENT to discuss faced challenges and potential solutions. Both institutions are project partners in ongoing H2020 Factories of the Future project ""Logistics for manufacturing SMEs"" (http://www.l4ms.eu/). Within the scope of the project, Muraplast is one of three Pilot Application Experiments for optimizing factory logistics. ICENT has already helped the company by modelling a digital twin of the Polyethylene blown film production process and consulting on the possibilities that autonomous guided vehicle solutions could offer a manufacturing SME such as Muraplast. This has been especially important for the upcoming investments for increasing the production capacity.
Solutions for compliant motion of the robotic manipulator
Enikon Aerospace Ltd. is the leading company in the world within the niche market of outsourcing of preparation and final painting of moulded interior parts for commercial and business aircraft. With over 30 years of experience it has special expertise in finishing and painting composite parts and was the first company in the industry to shift from solvent to water-based paints, and still remains the technological leader in this area. In addition, Enikon has experimented with diversification into other sectors where high quality is a requirement, and potential to achieve high margins, such as the finishing and painting of medical devices. Within the aerospace industry, Enikon provides surface preparation, painting and finishing of interior commercial aircraft parts. Enikon typically supplies Tier One aerospace suppliers, who in turn supply Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s), such as Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Sukhoi and Embraer.
Enikon is now making inroads into automation introducing robots to perform certain grinding and finishing functions, allowing it to produce even more consistent quality with a fraction of the labour cost.
Through joint H2020 HORSE Open call Industrial Experiment - project ENDORSE CROBOHUB helps Enikon on their road to automation, by offering solutions for compliant motion of the whole robotic manipulator which will undoubtedly allow the Enikon to increase the amount of surface of the products that can be treated with the robotic manipulator. At the same time, this will increase the performance and efficiency as well as overall safety of workers in the production line.
New dual-robot system for nuclear reactor vessel inspection
HRID-NDT Ltd. is a company founded in Zagreb, Croatia with its lead specialists working in non-destructive testing industry. The company is focused on providing complete and high-end solutions in non-destructive testing for nuclear, hydro, thermoelectric and other industries. It provides their own inspection systems, including manipulators, control systems, software, eddy current instruments and probes, ultrasonic instruments and probes, and visual inspection equipment. Being very specialized, the company constantly strives to introduce new technologies in their inspection systems with an emphasis on development of new concepts of robot-based non-destructive inspections.
Since 2006 several new robotic-based solutions for inspection in nuclear power plants have been developed in collaboration with the robotics and control experts from the University of Zagreb Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing (FER). These are the robotic inspection systems for inspection of a reactor vessel, vessel internals, pipes of a steam generator, main pump etc.
Positive experience gained through years of collaboration was a motivation for both sides to join the Croatian robotic platform embodied in the form of the digital innovation hub CROBOHUB. In such better-defined collaboration environment, with CROBOHUB support in mentoring and business development, there is on-going collaboration between HRID-NDT and FER, focused on developing a new dual-robot system for inspection of a nuclear reactor vessel.