The BERREKIN project ends with the development of a bilingual digital assistant in Basque and Spanish based on Artificial Intelligence that resolves doubts about the manufacturing process


A consortium coordinated by Vicomtech and made up of different technology centres and universities has researched and developed a digital assistant with the aim of facilitating the implementation of natural language interaction interfaces between operators and industrial production machines. Based on existing documentation and technical information and using the most advanced Artificial Intelligence technologies, BERREKIN has developed a prototype of a digital assistant in both Basque and Spanish to support operators in industrial manufacturing environments. This prototype can be used both for training purposes and for on-site operational assistance related to Computer Numerical Control (CNC) programming for the manufacture of parts on milling machines. In addition, the assistant displays full information on the screen and allows both text and voice interaction.

The assistant can assist operators by providing answers to questions about specific aspects of the manufacturing process, such as the meaning of certain programming commands. In addition, it can guide them step-by-step through different procedures, for example by simulating a programme. The conversational assistant has been fed and trained with information extracted from the milling machine manuals and prior knowledge provided by technical experts.

The use case implemented to evaluate the usability of the assistant consisted of manufacturing a part using various parameters and commands of the numerical control of the milling machine. The manufacturing process of a part consists of several phases, ranging from the analysis and understanding of the drawing to the definition of the manufacturing process and its subsequent programming, simulation and execution of the CNC programme. The developed assistant supports the operator throughout the entire process and provides him with the necessary information and knowledge to solve possible doubts in each of the phases, being a key component that contributes to enhance a people-centred approach in the industrial environment.

One of the innovative features of BERREKIN is the possibility to improve the digital assistant. In case the answers are not adequate, the assistant provides a ‘dislike’ option and collects the data so that industry professionals can improve the previously established answers.

In the development of the BERREKIN project, each partner has played different roles. Vicomtech has been the project coordinator and together with UPV/EHU and Tekniker have researched and developed incremental learning techniques for dialogue systems and Question Answering (QA) systems. These techniques have been developed together with interfaces that allow to involve the ‘Operator in the Loop’ to adapt, personalise and empower conversational assistants in industrial manufacturing environments. In addition, Ikor and Vicomtech have also investigated the application of the ‘Operator in the Loop’ paradigm for such conversational human-machine interactions in distributed computing or edge computing environments. Another important aspect of the project has been the compilation of resources for Basque, on which IMH Campus and UZEI have worked mainly, and which have allowed the implementation of a prototype of a conversational assistant with the ‘Operator in the Circuit’ also in that language. To conclude the project, IMH Campus students were responsible for its validation.


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