Sunday, 3 of March of 2024

ThermoBot (2012-2014)


Date Event Location
2012 | 01 | 24 – 25 KickOff Meeting Profactor, Steyr (AUT)
2012 | 07 | 03 – 04 General Meeting UNIPD, Padua (ITA)
2012 | 11 | 26 – 30 Integration Week Profactor, Steyr (AUT)
2012 | 12 | 04 – 05 General Meeting BAM, Berlin (GER)
2013 | 05 | 20 – 24 Integration Meeting TRIMEK, Bilbao (ESP)
2013 | 06 | 05 – 06 General Meeting TRIMEK, Bilbao (ESP)
2013 | 09 | 11 – 12 Review Meeting Profactor, Steyr (AUT)
2013 | 11 | 18 – 22 Integration Meeting TRIMEK, Altube (ESP)
2013 | 12 | 10 – 11 General Meeting Infratec, Dresden (GER)
2014 | 06 | 24 – 25 General Meeting BSCT, BRP, Ried i.I., Gunskirchen (AUT)
2014 | 11 | 05 Final Meeting UNIPD, Padova (ITA)
2014 | 12 | 10 Final Review Meeting UNIPD, Padova (ITA)

31st of December 2014, Project closed

December 2014, Final Review Meeting
The final review meeting was taking place in Padova at project partner UNIPD. In order to present the two demonstrators that have been built in the project, extended video presentations were prepared, that show all the capabilities of the robots. These videos are available on the main page of the ThermoBot project. What could be shown in the project is that automatic planning of an inspection path is possible, including a very quick changeover to new parts. For the metallic parts all kinds of crack could be successfully detected, except for one type of crack that only appears on the ground surfaces areas. For the carbon fibre parts inspection it could be shown that bonding defects between to parts could be detected by using pulse phase thermography. The project partners will now start to take the final steps that are needed in order to make the technology applicable in production lines.

November 2014, Final General Meeting
On the 5th of November 2014 the consortium met in Padova for the final general meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to do a final planning for the remaining weeks and to define the details of how to best present the project at the upcoming review meeting in December. The status of both demonstrators (metallic parts inspection, CFRP inspection) were presented in detail and the final steps that still need to be taken, were agreed. At the technical level many of the goals that we set ourselves in the project seem to be achieved or achievable within the time left in the project. On a few, quantified criteria the goals turned out to be too difficult to achieve, sometimes the further analysis revealed that even theoretical considerations show that they are out of reach. Nevertheless, the videos presented at the meeting showed a high level of integration of the demonstrators and a good level of maturity in the single components. Once the integration is finished, which is expected for mid of November, a detailed evaluation will take place and videos will be recorded for presentation at the final review and later exploitation.

June 2014, Integration tests and General Meeting
All partners met for the month 30 general meeting first at Benteler SGL in Ried im Innkreis and on the second day at Rotax BRP in Gunskirchen. The meeting was dedicated to a detailed assessment of the current status of both demonstrators. Most of the modules are finished and implemented, but still need to be tested on the demonstrator to make sure that they work as expected. The most important criteria relate to the classification accuracy of crack detection, where the large number of false positives still needs to be reduced and the overall inspection time. Simulations showed that the inspection of a whole crankshaft would take about 77s, but this still needs to be verified on the demonstrator. Additional features are currently being developed, such as online heat simulation for crack detection and automatic adjustment of the robot’s path.
A detailed plan was made to finish all open topics before the “summer break”, so that the final months of the project can be dedicated to optimizing the demonstrators and finishing the integration.

May 2014, Dissemination activities
As ThermoBot is approaching its final months, dissemination activities have started. The month of May was particularly intensive as far as dissemination is concerned. The project was presented by Profactor at the “CE Colloquium” held at the University of Linz. This presentation was attended by about 20 students from the field of computational engineering. At the end of May again Profactor presented the project at the annual Workshop of the Austrian Assosication for Pattern Recognition. The invited talk in the industrial part of the workshop was attended by about 40 participants. UNIPD took the opportunity to present the project at two events in Italy. The first on was the “NEXT fest” organized by the WIRED magazine in Milano, and the second one was the RoboVal event in Verona. Two major dissemination activities still lie ahead: The Automatica trade fair that is scheduled for the first week of June (3rd to 6th of June), where the project is going to be presented at the Profactor booth, and the IAS-13 conference (15-18th of July) that is being organised by UNIPD. A special workshop is foreseen for a cluster of projects running in the topic of “robots for post-production and auxiliary processes”, in which also ThermoBot is involved.

Dec. 2013, General meeting at Infratec
All partners met in Dresden at Infratec for the General Meeting planned for the end of the second year. The focus of the meeting was on evaluating the results that have been achieved during the integration in November and to decide how to proceed further with the CFRP inspection topic. A detailed plann was made up to finish all components by the end of June 2014 so as to leave sufficient time for the final integration and demonstration. End-users (also outside the consortium) will be invited to provide sample parts that will be tested in the demonstrators in the second half of 2014.
The consortium also planned future dissemination activities, with two major events being the Automatica trade fair, that is attended by several partners, and the IAS 13 conference organised by UNIPD. This conference will also include a specific workshop, where results of all European research projects in this particular FoF-topic will be exchanged.

Nov. 2013, Integration meeting at Profactor
At the end of Nov. 2013 several partners, including UNIPD, IT+Robotics and Infratec met at Profactor to do an integration test and to prepare the inspection robot for the 2nd year demonstration. Substantial progress could be made in several aspects such as path planning, online work-cell simulation and image analysis. Most of the single modules have already reached a higher level of maturity and concerning the laser-based thermography system the project is well on track.

Sept. 2013, CFRP Inspection at Profactor, BAM and Infratec
Based on the results of the review meeting, where the future activities in ThermoBot were discussed and agreed, Profactor, BAM and Infratec started a joint in-depth evaluation of themographic inspection methods for CFRP parts. The material proved to be very difficult to inspect and tests in the first half of the year have lead to inconclusive results. By the end of October an improved inspection method was available that can be used to identify also smaller delaminations and – as an additional benefit – can inspect adhesives attached between two CFRP parts.

20130605_Demo_smallMay/June 2013, Integration and general meeting at TRIMEK
In the second half of May an integration week at TRIMEK was arranged to set up the demonstrator for flash thermography. For this purpose the Stäubli robot at TRIMEK was equipped with a flash and a thermo-camera. Experiments during the week were dedicated to setting up the software for image acquisition and robot control using a software developed by Profactor. Given the early state of the demonstrator a first version of the imaging process could be set up and several sequences of images could be recorded. At the end of the integration week the interfaces were tested and the basic functionality was finished.
Two weeks later the consortium met at TRIMEK in Altube for the general meeting of the project. On the first day of the meeting a static demonstration of the image acquisition process was presented by TRIMEK. Following a discussion about how to proceed from this state to extend the demonstrator to include those features that are already present in the project’s second demonstartor (automatic image segmentation and path planning) a plan was made to bring also the second demonstrator back on schedule before the end of this year.
The second day of the meeting was dedicated to assess the status of the development of the single modules and to plan the work for the next 6 months and the review meeting that is scheduled for September 2013.

March 2013, Robot now available at UNIPD
A Comau robot was successfully installed at UNIPD. It will be used for building an additional platform for experiments in the project. UNIPD will exploit this facility to develop the computer vision module of the system; having the whole hardware will enable to carefully test the reprojection algorithm and to test the integration of the vision module with the motion planning module developed by IT+Robotics.

crack_detectionJanuary 2013, ThermoBot detects the first crack
After a substantial amount of work of integrating the single components, setting up the whole inspection system consisting of laser, thermocamera, robot and a fully equipped safety cell with video monitoring, we finally managed to detect the first crack on one of the sample parts. A range of experiments was done to optimize processing speed, laser power and camera settings to improve contrast and create the image shown on the left. The laser spot is clearly visible as bright whight ellipse, while the crack is marked in red. Automatic image segmentation based on edge detection has been used to localize and detect the crack. This is a major milestone of the project an constitutes a first “proof of principle” for robotic inspection with thermography.


December 2012, 3rd General Meeting at BAM in Berlin
The Consortium met in Berlin for the 3rd general meeting. This time the meeting was organized by BAM, who also offered the possibility of visiting their laboratories with the Computed tomography (CT) systems that they used in the project. The purpose of the meeting was to assess the current status of the demonstrators and to plan the next 6 months. Progress has been made in the modelling of th work cells, image segmentation for defect detection and regarding the overall system integration. The second demonstrator of the project that will be set up in coming months up to the midterm review will be built in Spain at partner TRIMEK.

November 2012, Demonstrator construction at Profactor
The first demonstrator of the ThermoBot inspection robot is being set up at Profactor. The thermocamera, heating system and robot have been integrated into the system. The robot and heating system, however, will be exchanged in the coming week as the delivery of both final system components is delayed. Nevertheless first tests could be done and a sequence of images could be acquired by scanning the test parts. Special care had to be taken of the safety devices that need to be installed because of the high-power laser that is used as heating system.

September 2012, Toward 1st year demonstration
All partners are now working to develop their modules and contributions related to the first year demonstration. The interfaces between the partners are now being fully defined and first software modules have been exchanged to be tested in the ThermoBot framework. The thermocameras are already installed and integrated and the consortium is waiting for the laser system, so that first “real” thermo-images can be generated to further develop the image segmentation. A robotic workcell with specific protection is currently being installed at Profactor.

July 2012, 2nd General Meeting at UNIPD in Padua
The second general meeting of the ThermoBot project was held at the University of Padua in conjunction with the Exploitation Strategy Seminar (ESS) organised by Meta Group. The first day was dedicated to the ESS, where partners identified exploitable results and risks related to the exploitation. The second day of the meeting was to review the progress of the project and to plan further activities leading up the 1st year dmeonstration that is planned for Dec. 2012.

June 2012, First Integration test at Profactor
Using Software modules provided by other partners a first version of the ThermoBot inspection software was complied and tested together with the thermocamera and the robot. A simple test set up was created where the robot was moving a part in front of the camera and a sequence of images was recorded. No major image analysis was done yet, because the integration test was mainly focused on testing the interfaces and making sure that the data are passed correctly between the single modules.



May 2012, Thermography setup at Profactor
Using Infratec’s cameras and a laser as heat source Profactor set up an thermo-image acquisition system to do some initial test. Minor technical problems were encountered when setting up the laser, which caused slight delays. Nevertheless the setup is now ready an will be used as a basis for the specification of the laser.






March 2012, CT results by BAM
Using samples provided by the end-users project partner BAM conducted experiments using computed tomography to obtain reference measurements for the thermography process. These measurements will be used to serve as “ground truth” data to assess the statistical properties of thermography.



System overview

24th & 25th of January 2012, Kick-Off at Profactor, Steyr

Three weeks after the official project start the consortium met together for the first time at Profactor in Steyr Austria. Unfortunately the EC project officer could not be present this time, but will attend the next meeting. The meeting was dedicated to an exchange of information about administrative issues and some first technical topics.

The use cases of the industrial partners were presented and inspected by the partners. Criteria of fault rate and quality as well as sample geometry were discussed and finally agreed by all partners. At the evening of the first meeting day the partners enjoyed a cold but exciting “Nightwatcher’s Dine-around” tour through the city centre of Steyr.