Robot Needs to Be Taught to Work
Prof. Ing. Robert Čep, Ph.D. earned all his degrees at VŠB - TU Ostrava (VSB - Technical University
of Ostrava), in the Faculty of Engineering, in Engineering Technologies. Nowadays he is the Deputy
Head of the Department of Machining, Assembly and Engineering Metrology, and Vice-Dean
for Personnel, Doctoral Studies and External Workplaces at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.
He specializes in materials of machining tools, testing
cutting capacity of machining tools, testing machining
tools during intermittent cutting, testing the machining
of construction materials, calibrating machining tools
and additive technologies (3D print). He cooperates with
a range of Czech and foreign universities.
As part of his job at the university, he publishes expert
articles in scientific magazines and conferences and is the
author (or co-author) of patents, prototypes, software and
certified technologies used by companies not only in our
region. He enjoys spending free time with his family (three
daughters), often going on trips.
The Faculty of Engineering is innovating instruction
and is also agile in applied research. What results have
those brought, and what do you intend to focus on in
New research evaluation methodology (Methodology
17+) makes universities publish their research in
prestigious magazines. The Faculty of Engineering of VŠB
- Technical University of Ostrava, however, puts a great
emphasis on implementation of results of research and
development in enterprise, whether it’s patents, utility
models, certified technologies, prototype production,
semi-industrial installations, and other practical results
which help companies reduce costs, increase production,
be environmentally-friendly, etc. I believe this is the right
way to go because these results are beneficial to society.
This is the way of the future. We need to find a good
balance between implemented results and publishing
jobs must be replaced with machinery. I see great potential
in digital twins, collaborative robots, AI, when the robot
learns from an experienced workman while eliminating
human errors. At the same time, we need to understand
that no machine will replace a qualified workman or an
engineer. It is the human who must develop, programme
and teach such a robot or machine how to work.
3D printing and additive technologies generally represent
the future of production technologies. They are highly
prospective modern production technologies used more
and more often in various industries. The potential in these
technologies is best supported by an increasing share
of the market and a boost in the production of construction
parts in various industries.
Our faculty has the Centre of 3D Print Protolab, which
ranks among the largest and best-equipped centres in the
Czech Republic. Unlike others, we offer to print ordered
parts but we also support the optimization of construction
and production, researching material quality and the
properties of the produced parts, etc. In this field we are
solving a DMS project focused on new technological
solutions of 3D-printed metals and composites. This
project also involves the Cluster of Additive Production,
another three universities and research and development
centres including Fraunhofer’s Institute and five leading
companies from the Moravian-Silesian Region.
Thank you for the interview.
Can you give us an example of applied research, and tell
us which companies you cooperate with?
I am personally engaged in fundamental research,
solving a project in theory and experimental research
of 3D-printed material. The experimental part focuses on
low-cycle fatigue and the hardening of 3D-printed material
In applied research I cooperate with a range of companies
from the Moravian-Silesian Region and the rest of the
republic, including the form of grant projects, innovation
vouchers for small- and medium companies, or economic
agreements with the companies. A good example of such
cooperation is the Armatury Group, a.s. Dolní Benešov.
We are solving our second collaborative project already.
How do you see the robotization of industry and use
of 3D printers?
Robotization and the general concept of Industry 4.0
undoubtedly have their use. Unfortunately, the number
of professionals willing to work in or design production
processes is decreasing, therefore some procedures and
POSITIV 4/2019 ǀ 25