X1 Grid turns production facilities into smart factories

Software designed to turn production facilities into smart factories, by more quickly and easily connecting industrial robots and machinery with different business applications, has been developed in Germany.

X1 Grid
Image credit: ipopba via istock

Munich-based RoboticsX, which specialises in industrial robotics and automation software, has developed the platform, known as X1 Grid.

The software platform, which was launched at Hannover Messe 2019, is equipped with IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) and IBM Cloud technology.

The system extracts and translates industrial hardware data into information suitable for use by business applications. This information is then analysed by the IBM Watson IoT platform to identify ways to improve production, according to Peter Boras, CEO and co-founder of RoboticsX.

“These days industrial systems tend to be quite complex, you need to study for 100 years to know how to work the machines, so we are trying to offer very simple solutions,” said Boras. “So if there is a problem I want to know how I resolve it, or if I need clear data from the machines, then I want real data that I can base business decisions on,” he said.

The Watson system includes artificial intelligence (AI) software designed to predict and prescribe any necessary maintenance to machinery. In this way it can allow manufacturers to make the best use of their equipment, and keep downtime to a minimum.

The AI system can also recommend steps to improve the quality of manufactured goods, reduce costs, and increase production speed. Finally, the AI can also be used for quality control, to reduce scrappage, and to improve supply chain management.

“Other systems need to be programmed manually, so it takes a lot of effort, time, and cost, but our system is really easy to use, making it cheaper and faster,” said Boras.

The software is suitable for use with advanced machinery, but also with older devices such as programmable logic controllers.

“Another advantage is that we are an open platform, which means that anyone can develop an application really easily and then connect it to X1 Grid,” said Boras.

“The system is also scalable, so it can work with a couple of devices, it can be expanded to suit a mid-sized company, with a more complex approach, or it can be used by large corporations,” he said.