23:56 26 October 2017
Multiple European academic institutions and manufacturers, including Ford, are exploring the concept of machine-embedded IoT sensors that will limit production downtime. Scientists say that network-connected sensors along with the collection of massive amounts of data will help monitor machinery for weakness and enable them to automatically fix themselves.
Martin Kasperczyk of Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, one of the participating organizations, said: “The aim is not just to monitor the status of the machines and components. The plan is to detect potential weak points or signs of wear and tear early enough for the system to be able to predict potential malfunctions.”
One of the EU-funded researcher partner’s systems – a robotic arm for engine production, has already been designed to self-heal when it starts to fail. If it were to detect resistance, for example, it would back-off rather than snap. It also calculates the probability of a stressed cable breaking under load.
Fraunhofer IPA’s Michael Kempf said that "the major challenge is building up the models both for decision making and simulation in a way that they reflect the real manufacturing environment,”
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