Cobot Dashboard: How to visualize data for OEE improvement the smart way
Published on 2021-03-16 16:00:11 UTC in Industry 4.0
Elsive and OMRON collaborate to improve data insights and production efficiency’
The factory of the future is not only based on a well-orchestrated interaction of the most diverse machines, robots, sensors, and AI technologies. Entrepreneurs and decision-makers are also increasingly faced with the challenge of reconciling the vast amounts of data collected by the various production lines and making the best possible use of it to support their decisions. Not only does a comprehensive data strategy need to be developed. There are also technologies required that process and present the data in such a way that issues are immediately identified before major problems occur.
New data strategies needed
Big data analysis can enable operators or decision-makers to more accurately predict production forecast requirements within large industrial companies, as opposed to some gut conviction. In this context, a study by Frost & Sullivan found that big data analytics offers various optimisation potentials for the industry, including a 10 percent increase in efficiency, as much as 20 percent lower operating costs, and up to 50 percent savings in maintenance costs. In another study , one in two respondents in the industrial environment said they lacked adequate analytical or technological know-how for big data analytics though. Approximately half of the respondents reported having inadequate analytical or technical expertise for big data analytics.
So how can this challenge be met? Smart solutions are needed that facilitate an overview of data collected by machines and robots so that operators can see correlations quickly – without undergoing lengthy training or the practice of hiring external experts.
Bringing machine interaction to mobile devices
The example of Dutch company Elsive BV, shows what this real-world example of collaborative robots (cobots) can look like within a production factory. The solution from Elsive called iodash provides a total solution for machine builders and end-users to bring their machine interaction to their device. Dashboards for machines and total lines enable them to interface their machine with any device while all machine statuses are visualized in an intuitive environment. The solution can be used in combination with all OMRON cobots and is also an add-on solution to these applications in industries such as food and commodities, agriculture, OEM, and any other environment using automation to improve OEE. While the roots of this innovation are in greenhouse automation, more and more machine builders and end customers from different markets are now interested in using this dashboard solution.
Improving OEE and competitive strength
But where does one start with such transformational projects? Due to the size of many production factories, a huge challenge is to retain an overview of the health of machines. More control and transparency are needed to improve business and machine processes. Being able to anticipate incidents upfront can help to increase process efficiency. The drivers of this process were the desire and the necessity to create a solution that intuitively displays data collected by machines or cobots for end users. The primary goal was to increase the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the plant and thus competitive strength. To achieve this, Elsive set out to create an open platform capable of collecting and visualizing data across heterogeneous machines covering an entire production plant. Flexible suppliers were needed that can provide data with open protocols like OPC-UA, HTTPS, etc. There are many robot manufacturers, but OMRON was able to bring a total solution in terms of hardware. As OMRON’s TM cobot has no such built-in features, a Sysmac controller is used to control the robot and act as a gateway (OPC-UA) to their platform. This solves two problems: data can be easily accessed, and the robot has more flexibility in terms of control.
Seamless data transfer
This new solution can be used with the OMRON TM cobot and OMRON NX102 IoT controller. To send data, operators can either use REST-API, MQTT broker as an access point for the data platform, or in-house developing Edge IoT Managers which can be managed via remote management. Further options are links with OMRON NX PLC via MQTT broker, OMRON cobot via OPC UA or OMRON NX PLC via MySQL link. An external RESTAPI access can make data accessible to third parties.
Actual performance and historical data
OMRON impresses through its flexibility and willingness to adapt to its customer's needs, by creating application-level software that can seamlessly interact through “plug and play”. OMRON components collect the data which is then sent to the iodash platform. A real-time dashboard shows the actual performance of the robot including its historical data. This allows the operator to see the status of his process remote. Storing and comparing process data in the cloud enables companies to calculate OEE. This new solution can provide clear insights into production performance, the potential for optimization, and process transparency based on collected machine (OMRON NX PLC, OMRON Cobot) information. Predictive maintenance application scenarios are also conceivable in the future.
Cooperation for more future strength
This project impressively underpins OMRON’s innovative-Automation concept: It combines the Sysmac platform with OMRON cobots and integrates them with IT, it offers an interactive application that facilitates interaction via the cloud and it makes data and information available with the NX1 IoT controller in an intelligent way. The Elsive dashboard solution can be used in combination with all OMRON machines as a smart add-on for improved data overview and improved insights into the factory of the future.
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