Updates from SIGMA Clermont, Softmanbot’s coordinator

Advanced Robotic Technology for Handling Soft Materials in Manufacturing Sectors

SIGMA Clermont, Softmanbot’s coordinator, is a School of Engineering in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Its research activities are conducted in affiliation with Institut Pascal, an interdisciplinary research laboratory. SIGMA Clermont is a technical partner focused on developing novel methodologies for the handling of soft objects in the targeted industrial use cases. In the first year of the project, the partners defined a set of tasks and a more fine-grained database of specific robotic skills required in order to provide solutions to these use cases. The tasks involve demoulding and assembly of soft parts in tire, shoe, toy, and clothing industries. We identified robotic skills that are common to multiple uses cases (according to the project’s overall goal of providing a general solution), while still being adaptable to each use case’s particular conditions.

In terms of topics, SIGMA Clermont’s research activities within the project have a wide scope. We have done work on the use of vision sensors to reconstruct the shape of the deformable product during manipulation, on robotic planning and control to regulate the product’s position and deformation, and on robotic grasping of the product. Some results have already been obtained, and we are excited to continue working with the rest of the consortium in the next stages. These include validations in simplified tests and in mock-up setups which will serve as prototypes for the true industrial scenarios.

In its role as project coordinator, SIGMA Clermont takes on managerial responsibilities and stays in regular contact with the partners. We are lucky to work with a strong consortium. All the partners, regardless of well-known challenges having arisen worldwide, are very motivated to lead the project towards successful outcomes