Internet and globalization brought forward the demand for customized and unique products, therefore pushing manufacturers to adopt flexible practices–practices that a traditional industrial automation system can’t possibly provide. One solution to such demand is to leverage intelligent technologies that are capable of performing tasks that are less predictable and require real-time decision-making.
Smart factories of today and the future should be able to customize products in numbers without compromising speed and quality. This can be achieved with the help of AI and intelligent bots.
Here are the four ways AI and robotics can help build the factories of tomorrow according to Epson:
1. Quality control, preventive maintenance
Connected technologies, sensors, and robotics enable organizations to understand the performance of assembly line machines, and therefore easily identify potential maintenance issues ahead of time. They will no longer need fixed maintenance schedules, reducing wasted labor and undiagnosed machine failures. Ultimately, companies can avoid unplanned downtimes, improve machine lifespans, and maintain productive operations.
2. Intelligent bots, humans collaboration
Intelligent robots with precision capabilities can perform intricate process that can be tedious or dangerous for humans. This improves productivity and safety in factory operations.
For example, Epson’s vision system enables robots to “see”. This is with the help an algorithm software that is able to detect color and shapes of objects. In addition, the system can also determine the positioning and orientation of the objects through a camera. In an assembly line, it can auto-calibrate on where to pick, even if the item has fallen or positioned out of place.
Meanwhile, Epson’s force sensor employs proprietary piezoelectric quartz sensing technology that is sensitive to minimal force. Robots that comes with such sensors can perform complex tasks such as assembly of delicate components.
Not only that, the Epson Moverio wearable smart glasses leverages augmented reality to project what onsite engineers are seeing instantaneously. This helps diagnose and solve issues without being at the site.
3. Safe workplace
AI and robotics technologies can replace humans in performing tasks that are life-threatening or dangerous. This can put humans as simply supervisors of the process instead, lessening the danger and risks to factory workers.
The next-gen AI and robots will work alongside humans and manage safety standards and production performance, not just automated repetitive tasks. The robots can identify risk to humans. For example, sensors embedded onto robotic arms can identify when humans are in close proximity and maneuver accordingly.
Such practices align with Epson’s vision of intelligent robotics technologies and sophisticated sensors designed to seamlessly support smart factories. The company aims high efficiency through autonomous control and scynchronization.
4. Going beyond the supply chain
Beyond manufacturing, the AI also helps in strategizing the processes in factories. Adavanced amchine learning algorithms can reduce stock forecasting errors and inventory.
Robots can adapt production scheduling and performance based on real-time analysis of inventory and supply chain constraints. With artificial intelligence, systems can analyze market data and robotics performance to make key decisions on demand and supply.