Fujitsu has announced plans to help manufacturing robots work more closely alongside human workers through more advanced networking and data-sharing technology.
The Japanese ICT company is designing systems that can collect, analyse and share data between humans and machines more effectively in order to enable factories to respond more quickly to changing levels of demand and new product designs.
The move follows the Japanese government’s attempts to boost Japan’s manufacturing competitiveness through programmes such as the “New Robot Strategy”, and initiatives by German companies such as Siemens to introduce a “Fourth Industrial Revolution” through greater use of automation and networking.
As with German “Industry 4.0” systems, Fujitsu’s new technologies will make heavy use of the “Internet of Things”, the concept of connecting any machine or object to the internet to enable remote operation and greater data sharing and analysis.
In practice, this will mean being able to predict manufacturing quality and perform real-time optimisation of production equipment, allocating and changing orders without stopping operations, and including real-time data in virtual simulations in order to improve factory design.
The company is also working on software to help production robots learn to complete tasks in collaboration with humans, and working with automation firms to make it easier for manufacturers to use machines that rely on a variety of robotic control languages.
A new Manufacturing Solution Operations Promotion Office within Fujitsu will develop the company’s internal automation and networking practices into a reference model that can help customers build their own advanced manufacturing systems.
For news and features about Industry 4.0 and other manufacturing trends visit the MWP Advanced Manufacturing website.