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Task-based, digital planning of collaborative assembly systems and integration into variable scenarios (KoMPI)

(Project duration: january 2017 to december 2019)


Problem Definiton

Assembly of industrial goods accounts account for a high proportion of the gross national product in Germany. In addition, Germany is one of the world's leading suppliers of equipment for assembly and handling technology. Due to increasingly volatile markets, customised and complex products as well as new process conditions – e.g. because of Industry 4.0 – assembly is subject to exceptional requirements to adapt to new and ever-changing circumstances.

Because of these reasons, development, design and introduction of innovative system solutions for assembly of complex products are important. The focus here is on safe workplace design and cooperation between humans and robots. Furthermore, adaptability of assembly systems is becoming increasingly important in order to be able to react to varying production quantities and minimise investment risks. In the future, it will be possible to achieve cost and efficiency advantages through collaborative and versatile assembly solutions, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Thus, innovation leadership of German assembly system manufacturers can be secured in the long term.


Planning a manual assembly workstation with regard to work content and line-balancing is a complex task. Because of the variety of data to be taken into account, today this is usually fulfilled with the help of purpose-built software for modelling, simulating and line-balancing of manual assembly processes. However, no digital planning tools have yet been developed that can simulate a workplace for human-robot-interaction and evaluate it with regard to automation potential, technical and economic suitability, ergonomics and safety. This creates a barrier that keeps SMEs as well as larger companies from introducing these cost-effective robots into their assembly systems.



The research project aims to develop a new method for the integrated planning and implementation of collaborative workplace systems in assembly with variable product scenarios. This is to ensure that even companies with limited resources and limited experience in the field of automation technology will be able to successfully introduce collaborative assembly systems. Additionally, companies are to be enabled to operate these systems economically in the long term, even if the variety of products and variants fluctuates considerably.


The project’s results assist with the entire human-robot-interaction (HRI) planning process: The new method for integrated planning and implementation of collaborative workplace systems in assembly is intended to support work planners during the planning and design process in particular.

As a first step, existing manual assembly workplaces need to be analysed with regard to their potential for human-robot-interaction. To conduct these analyses reliably, a system of selection criteria has been developed.

This HRI-potential is limited, among others, by the robot’s usability. Robot systems’ areas of application can be extended through a well-designed connection between optical sensors and robots. Digital design and evaluation of the collaborative workplace system are carried out with a universally applicable planning method. The planning is based on the respective assembly tasks and supported by the robot and component libraries that are to be developed within the project. The technical integration of the robot and its components can be simulated. In order to remove existing technical and social barriers, implementation and integration are subsequently supported by a technical integration concept and an employee-oriented participation and qualification concept. Acceptance of the use of HRI is promoted by including operative employees into the development of suitable human-machine-interfaces from early planning stages until the assembly system is fully operating. Last but not least, this acceptance is also supported by active participation of the social partners (i.e. employer and employee representatives).

 All in all, at the end of project “KoMPI”, a task-based planning system in the form of a software solution will be available for integrators and end-users. This software solution will include HRI-compliant user guidance as well as participation and qualification guidelines. The latter includes multimedia training material and guidelines for seminars and workshops for assembly system designers and operative employees. These results will have been verified on the basis of HRI assembly systems that will have been planned, implemented and validated with the help of the project’s industrial partner companies. Our industrial partners aim to introduce HRI into their assembly permanently by using the developed planning system.

Procedure and Division of Labour

The project has a duration of three years and is divided into three stages:

In the first stage, requirements for the planning and simulation system are assessed. Technical restrictions and cross-company as well as cross-industry requirements of future users must be taken into account. In addition, application scenarios for different product variants are defined. The application scenarios are selected in such a way that they cover different branches of industry and companies with medium-sized structures, so that transferability of the research into the German corporate landscape is achieved. The analysis stage will result in important insights for the training and education concepts which will be developed later in the project as well as for the participation of the social partners. This stage concludes with the finalisation of the planning system’s architecture and the specification of software interfaces. These interfaces will link the respective system components, such as simulations of robots and peripherals, integrated component libraries, a tool to evaluate an assembly system’s HRI potential and a formal logic for the capability-based distribution of tasks between humans and robots.

The second stage includes the development and implementation of the planning system as well as the training concept's design. An interface based on AutomationML and COLLADA will be used to connect individual subsystems and thus simultaneously develop these subsystems.

The last stage comprises the validation of the overall planning system. The validation is characterised by innovative application scenarios of collaborative assembly in various industries. These scenarios are outlined, designed in detail and finally implemented by ourindustrial partners in real, operative demonstrators with the help of the developed planning system. User experiences are then used to optimise the planning system and to test the participation and qualification concept.


Research, Development and Application Partners

TU Dortmund University

Institute of Production Systems (IPS)

Ruhr-University of Bochum

Chair of Production Systems (LPS)

imk automotive GmbH

ISRA Vision AG

Boll Automation GmbH

cognitas Gesellschaft für Technik-Dokumentation mbH

Albrecht Jung GmbH & Co. KG

Leopold KOSTAL GmbH & Co. KG

Karl Dungs GmbH & Co. KG

Sub content


Secretariat IPS
Tel.: 0231 755-2652

Promotional Note

The research and development project ”KoMPI” is funded by the German Federal

Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the Framework Concept

”Research for Tomorrow’s Production” (fund number 02P15A060) and

managed by the Project Management Agency Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe,

Production and Manufacturing Technologies Division (PTKA-PFT).



Additional Links

German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Project Management Agency Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (PTKA)

Project website