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Agile production

Boost the use of industrial robot technologies

Due to rising customers’ individual demands and rapidly changing markets, agility has become a primary condition for competitiveness. Increasing variety of products and volatility of demand puts a strain on manufacturing industry. To respond, agility, flexibility and cognition capacity are needed on all levels, across all actors and during the whole lifecycle.

In the future of agile and cognitive manufacturing, human and machine labour will need to efficiently work together within the production and operational processes of manufacturing companies - within and between companies in value networks and business ecosystems. In additon to different robotics technologies, this requirement puts special emphasis on real-time digital data management and interaction channels within and across companies.


VTT can help you with:

  • Creating intelligent control methods and technology enablers for demanding manufacturing and production applications

  • Human robot integration in logistics, migration from fully human operation to work alongside humans

  • Designing collaborative work concepts for human/robot/multi-robot collaboration

  • Robot safety

  • Finding possibilities of mobile and movable cobot concepts

  • Potential of utilizing AI with robots

  • Sensors and perceptions

  • User interfaces and robot programming methods and tools

  • Robot configurability and adaptability


Collaborative robots to enable new ways of working?

Collaborative robots, or cobots, have been expected to provide the missing link towards flexible production by simple programming and the cobots’ ability to work next to human workers. Typical applications include assembly, palletizing and inspection tasks. Our offering includes designing and evaluating human-robot collaboration from multiple perspectives:

  • productivity
  • flexibility
  • safety 
  • human factors
  • worker acceptance


Future research interests include practical safety applications, task allocation between humans and cobots, and mobile cobot concepts. 

Ensure safe human-robot collaboration

Traditional heavy industrial robots have high velocities, thus long stopping distances and times. Safety/stopping area requires a lot of physical space. Humans cannot approach robots, the robots need to be stopped in order for human to approach. With the help of new safety solutions and VTT’s innovative research approach, a dynamic safety system has been developed, which enables:

  • creating multiple optimised safety configurations automatically (=VTT innovation)
  • fenceless operation with robots
  • dynamic speed and areas according to the worker's position
  • avoiding unnecessary safety stops


Our system is safety certifiable. It uses safety sensors and safety controllers, devices. Components are off-the shelf. Without these, the robot cannot be used in production. This system is production ready. Compared with normal, this is more dynamic:

  • One sensor stops the robot before the robot is forced to stop
  • Productivity increase and new opportunities to use robots


Customized robotic and mechatronic systems

In many production environments, especially out of factories, automation can substantially improve production performance and also working conditions and safety. To comply with the challenging environmental and operational conditions customized robotic and mechatronic solutions are really needed. VTT develops advanced custom designed robotic and mechatronic systems with state-of-the-art technologies.

An excellent reference is a walking friction stir robot, which VTT developed together with the TWI Ltd, and five European SME companies ( The Mobiweld robot can join aluminum plates, and it can handle and control the high lateral forces and torques, typical for friction stir weld operations.







Reference projects:

  • NxtGenRob
  • CCR Cognitive Cooperative Robotics
  • Reboot IoT Finland
  • Symbio-TIC (EU H2020)

Literature references: 

  • Malm et al. Are collaborative robots safe? Automaatiopäivät23, 2019.   
  • Aaltonen & Salmi, 2019. Experiences and expectations of collaborative robots in industry and academia: barriers and development needs. FAIM2019.
  • Aaltonen et al. Refining levels of collaboration to support the design and evaluation of human robot interaction in the manufacturing industry. Procedia CIRP, 2018.
  • Salmi et al. Advanced safety solutions for human-robot-cooperation. ISR 2016.
  • Kilpeläinen & Heikkilä. MOBI-WELD – a mobile device for friction stir welding of aluminium plates. Hitsaustekniikka, 2014.