The future of an optimized industrial automation lies in efficient, safe and reliable Industry 4.0/IoT applications. The key to any successful Industry 4.0/IoT solution in so-called smart factories is a simple, fast and highly user-friendly interaction between all parts of the system: Users have to be able to monitor and control processes at any time, from anywhere and with as many different devices as they wish. Central tools for facilitating these applications are cloud services functioning as a platform for the actual automation application and the user control. But how can robot-assisted industrial automation, cloud services and user friendliness be integrated into one system today – relying on already existing software and technologies, thus making automation even more efficient?.
A solution was presented at Microsoft’s.Net conference in Madrid (Spain) in 2016 through a cutting-edge project called "DENIoT". The project aimed at showing how Industrial IoT applications can be made more efficient and safer by using already existing software and technologies. “DENIoT” was coordinated by DeROBÓTICA, the Iberian sales organization for DENSO Robotics, and supported by ENTRESISTEMAS, an industrial automation and system integrator specialist, as well as ENCAMINA, a Spanish consultancy company specialized in Microsoft products.
The central elements of the solution were the software development interface ORiN (Open Resource interface for the Network), which is part of DENSO’s robot controller RC8, a DENSO VS-060 6-axis robot and the cloud platform Azure by Microsoft. Azure is a collection of integrated cloud services, such as analytics, computing, database, mobile, networking, storage and Website. ORiN is a powerful tool that enables the interaction with DENSO robots using high-level programming languages such as C#, C++, VB, etc. This unique capability of programming permits a very easy integration of the software platforms with the DENSO robot and with Microsoft’s Azure.
The cloud platform was connected to the DENSO robot controller in order to collect and interpret data using big data analytics and other techniques. These data were turned into actionable information. In the actual demonstration, the VS-060 had been programmed to perform up to 9 different movements, mostly pick-and-place. By monitoring and analyzing the robot data, it is not only possible to interact with and control the robot from virtually anywhere, but it also facilitates machine learning, which further enhances efficiency and performance. The data monitored included parameters such as the robot arm's speed, acceleration, positions and (joint) angles.
During the “DENIoT” demonstration, the robot was also controlled via Microsoft's intelligent voice command system Cortana: Basically, it translates verbal commands into robot movements (through the cloud). In the demonstration, each of the nine movement commands was assigned a number. The command "move", for example was assigned the figure "10", which was sent to the robot in order to perform this specific movement. Voice command interaction will become more important as the human-robot-collaboration will be increasing in the future.
The benefits of "DENIoT" for implementing Industry 4.0/IoT applications in automation are obvious: easy connectivity of machines and devices, real-time process monitoring, extensibility, machine-learning (analysis and prediction) and adaptability to specific industrial needs. In addition, "DENIoT" can be controlled from anywhere using various devices (PC, tablet, even a smart phone) and offers a high level of interaction and control for users.
DENSO robots are especially suitable for Industry 4.0/IoT applications because the ORiN-embedded RC8 controller is highly flexible and easy to integrate into any system. This flexibility allows users to interact with devices such as servomotors, grippers, cameras, etc., use industrial interfaces such as EtherCAT®, PROFINET®, PROFIBUS®, etc., and program robots via PLC (SIEMENS, Beckhoff, OMRON, etc.) or using high-level programming languages. Moreover, it makes it possible to connect to planning and controlling software up to cloud platforms used in so called smart factories.
Watch a video of the presentation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGDv2JFSBWc&feature=youtu.be