In the factories of the future, robots and technology will interact to a degree that we can hardly imagine today. The concept, dubbed Industry 4.0, is a development in production technology that provides new automation capabilities and makes production processes intelligent in a whole new way.
- Companies that utilize today's digital opportunities can make huge gains. They are very flexible because they can adapt their production themselves simply by changing the data basis for the production, and they can get a much higher level of technology into production products, says Team Manager Anders Billesø Beck from DTI.
At Vestas Assembly in Ringkøbing, DTI in collaboration with Technicon have demonstrated that they are already able to get various robotic devices to work together in a whole new way. A mobile robot can "talk to" the other robots in the factory and take care of the logistical tasks.
- The potential gains arising from mobile robots in our production lie in help with heavy lifting, that we can run production at weekends and outside normal shifts, and that the robots can run items to and from the various workstations, says PEX Coordinator Kim Langhoff from Vestas.
Mobiles robots create cohesion
The new intelligent production technologies are mainly communication- and data-driven, enabling robots to talk and work together.
- Through the technology we have at DTI we are able to take mobile platforms, industrial robots, robot arms and other automation equipment and get it all to talk to each other. That means we have an advantage when building complex automation scenarios -- production processes, logistics flow, etc. – we can reach a higher level and get it all to work together, says Team Manager Lars Dalgaard from DTI.
- Mobile robots will become central to future production because they will provide connections between the individual production cells and the employees who are in the system.
Integrators of robot cells see completely new application opportunities after the demonstration project at Vestas.
- It is crucial for a robot cell, that there is a good cooperation with other robot cells, and that you have the opportunity to create a scalable solution. We need this for flexible production, says CEO Casper Hansen from Technicon.
The demonstration at Vestas in Ringkøbing has shown that they can look forward to increased efficiency and quality in their production, but most importantly, they see more new opportunities in robotics.
- The fact that we can now get more robotic technologies to work together makes us more competitive. We can get our cycle time down so that we can deliver quickly and at the same time improve our quality, says PEX Coordinator Kim Langhoff from Vestas.
- We have learned that there are no limits to what a robot can do. Our production is very manual and we have always said that we couldn’t really use robots. But it turns out that we can both smear grease on our bolts and get them delivered to the various workstations.
Robots can do more than we think
The project at Vestas has documented that the technologies are now sufficiently mature that one can consider completely new automation possibilities.
- Industrial 4.0 is about utilizing today's digital technologies to ensure interaction between the various devices and the data that exists in production. At Vestas, we utilized a number of modern digital technologies to ensure interaction between a production robot controlled by data, and a mobile robot which also uses data to know what needs to be fetched from where and to manage logistics throughout the factory, explains Anders Billesø Beck from DTI.