COTEMACO - Increased NWE COmpetitiveness Through Efficient MAn & Machine COllaboration


Project Summary

Manufacturing SMEs in NWE are struggling to maintain their cost competitiveness against large-scale production facilities in low-wage economies. This sector specifically suffers workforce scarcity because employees in manufacturing SMEs are often subjected to physically repetitive tasks. The tasks are often under-stimulating, as well as contributing to adverse health effects. The next step to increase competitiveness will only be achieved by offering the high levels of production flexibility, made possible by collaborative robotics.

With the potential to have as much, if not more, impact on the manufacturing sector as 3D printing or IoT, cobots focus on enhancing the cooperation between human workers and industrial robots, unlike previous automation waves. Using cobots in manufacturing processes not only allows for a more efficient use of employees, it reduces health issues and raises motivation.

Via an SME support programme, COTEMACO engages with 60 SMEs from the automotive and food sectors through field labs. These regional field labs in the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium and Germany are showcasing key production steps in the automotive and food industries, in order to tackle current low sectorial awareness and knowledge gaps. The field labs will exchange knowledge on different manufacturing tasks, such as handling and (un)loading.

Cobots are brought closer to end-user SMEs through testing and interacting in the relevant industry conditions by SME management and other stakeholders in regional manufacturing economies. Working with 50 of the SMEs, COTEMACO is also working towards implementing collaborative robotics through international cooperation. This will maintain greater than €500M of regional turnover and over 1250 NWE manufacturing jobs and generate over €50M and more than 125 new jobs. Replication across other sectors and regions will ensure long-term financing sustainability of field labs (private contracts), exploring the potential of additional funding to be paired with regional sources.

Project Partners

  • The University of Lincoln

    1 Brayford Way
    Lincoln
    LN6 7TS
    United Kingdom

    View partner details

  • Voka - Limburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry

    51 Governor Roppesingel
    Hasselt
    3500
    Belgium

    View partner details

  • Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership

    36 Orchard Street
    Lincoln
    LN1 1YZ
    United Kingdom

    View partner details

  • HighTechNL

    68 HighTechCampus
    Eindhoven
    5656
    Netherlands

    View partner details

  • Food Tech Brainport

    3 Scheepsboulevard
    Helmond
    5705 KZ
    Netherlands

    View partner details

  • ZeMA - Center for Mechatronics and Automation Technology GmbH

    Geb. 9 Gewerbepark
    Saarbrücken
    66121
    Germany

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  • BEST - Advice Center for socially acceptable Technology-Designing

    6 Fritz-Dobisch-Straße
    Saarbrücken
    66111
    Germany

    View partner details

  • Flanders Make

    133 Oude Diestersebaan
    Lommel
    3920
    Belgium

    View partner details

Lead partner

Organisation Address Email Website
Flanders Make 133 Oude Diestersebaan
Lommel
3920
Belgium
ger.vandenkerkhof@flandersmake.be http://www.flandersmake.be/
Name Contact Name Email Country
The University of Lincoln Andrea Paoli, Mark Swainson apaoli@lincoln.ac.uk, mswainson@lincoln.ac.uk United Kingdom
Voka - Limburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry Veroniek Hermans veroniek.hermans@voka.be Belgium
Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership Simon Murphy Simon.murphy@lincolnshire.gov.uk United Kingdom
HighTechNL Ben van der Zon ben.van.der.zon@hightechnl.nl Netherlands
Food Tech Brainport John de Groot john@foodtechbrainport.nl Netherlands
ZeMA - Center for Mechatronics and Automation Technology GmbH Matthias Vette-Steinkamp matthias.vette@zema.de Germany
BEST - Advice Center for socially acceptable Technology-Designing Oliver Müller oliver.mueller@best-saarland.de Germany

News


Two Belgian companies to integrate cobots after completing COTEMACO SME Support Programme

Posted on

Food Processing SME Mariën Bakkerij Producten N.V. and manufacturer of innovative health, sport and fitness products Aminolabs, are well on their way to cobot adoption, having made it through the COTEMACO SME Support programme. The SME support programme guides manufacturing SMEs through the process of adopting collaborative robotic and shop floor digitalisation technologies, from the exploration of technological opportunities to the detailed definition of a business plan. Read More

United Services Union ver.di visits ZeMA

Posted on

On April 26, the Saarland United Services Union ver.di visited ZeMA. The participants of the academy's advanced training module were able to inform themselves about the latest Industry 4.0 technologies and human-robot collaboration. The visitors also had the opportunity to see the latest application examples of Cotemaco and Robotix-Academy during a hands-on demonstration. Read More

Food processing industry offers great opportunities for robotics industry, but has a few specific rules

Posted on

The COTEMACO kick-off meeting for the robotics industry, held at HighTechNL last week, attracted a great deal of interest. The challenges, market size and often harsh working conditions in the food processing industry offer great potential for technology providers of flexible automation and robotics. However, it is not a market that can be accessed without the necessary prior knowledge, according to the presentations of WUR and Food Tech Brainport. Read More


Events


WEBINAR: The Future of Manufacturing in Europe

, Online - Zoom Webinar

This free webinar from innovation consultancy Bax & Company and EU innovation project COTEMACO will take a look at the current state of automation, digitalisation of manufacturing across Europe, and future consequences on jobs. We will explore both local and EU-wide support programmes which allow manufacturing SMEs to get hands-on experience with collaborative robots (cobots) and other digitalisation technologies, so they can fully embrace automation.
Read More

Webinar - Dutch Soft Robotics; Gripping of natural objects

, Online

The four technical universities in the Netherlands - Delft University of Technology (TUD), University of Twente (UT), Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and Wageningen University (WUR) - will present the trends and challenges of using flexible grippers. Soft gripping and bioinspired manipulation are ideal robotic solutions for pick-and-place applications in the food industry, but also in manufacturing and packaging...
Read More

Webinar - How to automate the creation of digital work instructions

,

There is a trend from mass production to mass customisation. Where in the past operators often had repetitive tasks, we now produce more often in small series with products adapted to the needs of the customer. The work for the operator has become more complex, so the operators need more support. Digital work instructions that can be quickly created, adapted and easily consulted are necessary. On May 19th Flanders Make will host a free webinar to delve into the creation of digital work instructions for manufacturing employees, and how the process can be automated.
Read More

COTEMACO awareness session at Food Tech Brainport

, Food Tech Brainport

We krijgen steeds vaker vragen van leden die hulp zoeken bij het verder automatiseren van het productieproces. Want ze hebben te maken met pittige uitdagingen: met name goed personeel vinden en houden. Dit kun je gedeeltelijk oplossen door robotisering, maar dan komen de vragen los: Hoe pak ik dat aan? - Welk deel kan ik wel robotiseren, welk deel niet? - Hoe garandeer ik de veiligheid van mijn personeel? - Hoe hou ik het voedselveilig? – en vooral hoe moet ik dat betalen?
Read More


 

Get in touch with a partner in your region and discover available opportunities for your SME.

 

Region 

Partner 

Contact person  

Contact data 

Netherlands 

Food Tech Brainport 

John 

de Groot 

John@FoodTechBrainport.nl 

Tel.: +31 6 5358 5395 

 

High Tech NL 

Ben  

van der Zon 

ben.van.der.zon@hightechnl.nl 

Tel.: +31 88 555 43 33 

 

Belgium 

Flanders Make 

Ger van den Kerkhof 

 

ger.vandenkerkhof@flandersmake.be

Tel.: +32 11 790 545

 

Voka – Kamer van Koophandel Limburg 

Veroniek Hermans 

veroniek.hermans@voka.be 

Tel.: +32 496 86 46 94 

 

 

DE: Saarland, Rheinland-Pfalz 

FR: Grand Est, 
Luxembourg 

 

 

ZeMA – Zentrum für Mechatronik und Automatisierungstechnik gGmbH 

 

Matthias Vette-Steinkamp 

Matthias.Vette@zema.de 

Tel.: +49 6 81 85 787 531 

 

BEST - Advice Center for socially acceptable Technology-Designing

 

 

Oliver Müller

 

 

Oliver.Mueller@best-saarland.de

Tel.:  + 49 (0) 681/ 40 05 255

 

 

Greater Lincolnshire (UK) 

University of Lincoln 

Andrea Paoli 

APaoli@lincoln.ac.uk 

Tel.: +44 1406 493003 

 

Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (Business Lincolnshire) 

Simon Murphy 

enquiries@bizlincolnshire.com 

+44 1522 550 603 

 

Food processing SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and automotive manufacturing SMEs dealing with flexible assembly and/or agile manufacturing in one of the COTEMACO regions can apply for the COTEMACO support programme. 

The programme guides SMEs through the process of adopting collaborative robotic (cobot) and shop floor digitalisation technologies, from the exploration of technological opportunities to the detailed definition of a business plan.  

The programme consists of 2 phases, offering participants the following: 

  1. Incubation phase: Initial training and coaching
    - Introduction to technologies: Participants will learn about the technologies in general, about the State of the Art in Europe and what they potentially offer to their business.
    - With the support of a local COTEMACO partner, participants identify a potential business case for the adoption of these technologies in their business.
  1. Adoption phase: From potential adoption case to a solid business plan
    Participants will receive guided support from a potential adoption case to a well-defined business plan.

 

Background and structure of the support programme 

The implementation of new digital and robot technologies requires assessing the feasibility and carefully planning the adoption process, which proves very hard for SMEs. Combining structured education and tailored business advice, the COTEMACO programme enables SMEs to explore the latest technology solutions for their business and thus to be up-to-date with the latest production possibilities while minimising risks. 

COTEMACO is a European project that connects 8 partners in 4 countries across Europe. In every COTEMACO region, technology and business organisations join forces to help SMEs to accelerate the adoption of novel technologies in the fields of Collaborative Robotics and Shop Floor Digitalisation. The partners will guide and coach SMEs through awareness, incubation and adoption processes which should lead to the implementation of new technologies on the shop floor. 

COTEMACO is cofunded by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG VB North West Europe programme. 

 

Technologies supported by the COTEMACO programme 

COTEMACO welcomes applications from SMEs that are interested in implementing technologies that relate to either Collaborative Robotics or Shop Floor Digitalisation. Below you will find a definition of these technologies. Please contact your regional COTEMACO partner in case you have any questions.

Collaborative Robotics (Cobots): Human workers and cobots work together rather than performing their tasks separated from each other. This means that the worker… 

  • … and the robot work in the same space, or;
  • … is not endangered by the robot, tool or process, or;
  • … does not need additional training to operate the robot and retains control, or;
  • … accepts the technology (feeling of collaboration rather than replacing each other).

Shop Floor Digitalisation: Digital devices make sure that workers are supported in their work and/or receive the right (personalised) information in the right format on time. Examples for devices supported: 

  • Non-wearable, e.g. tablets, smartphones, projected systems;
  • wearable, e.g. AR/VR glasses;
  • control units, e.g. sensors, robots with integrated services. 

 

How and when to apply 

SMEs may apply for the COTEMACO support programme at any time. Applications will be evaluated and answered within 20 working days.  

Before applying, it is strongly recommended that the SME gets in touch with its regional COTEMACO partner. 

To apply, the SME must complete all relevant documents and send them to its local COTEMACO partner. The application form will be downloadable from the COTEMACO website soon.

Forms shall be completed in English. Please contact your regional COTEMACO partner if you have problems with this requirement. 

 

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