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Look Who’s Talking: Industrial Robots Exploit New Networking Specs (.PDF Download)

June 26, 2018
Look Who’s Talking: Industrial Robots Exploit New Networking Specs (.PDF Download)

Industrial robots date back over 50 years to 1961, when GM began using Unimation robots for material handling and spot welding. Ever since, robots have played an ever-increasing role on the factory floor. In addition to the jobs described, they’re also used in painting, assembly, component pick-and-place in printed-circuit boards (PCBs), packaging, product inspection, and testing.

Robots boost productivity, provide more consistent quality in repetitive tasks, and improve worker safety. The latest generation of robots are adding enhancements such as machine vision (Fig. 1). These provide great application flexibility that pays off in reduced investment, more efficient production runs, and a wider range of manufacturing options.

1. By adding features such as machine vision, industrial robots are ramping up the demands placed on industrial networks (Source: Abraham Innovation Systems)

But adding these advanced features has an associated cost: They produce prodigious amounts of data and increase the strain on the factory network infrastructure.

In all aspects of factory operation, the Internet of Things (IoT), digital twinning, and data mining have greatly improved quality and reduced downtime through such innovations as predictive analytics (Fig. 2). This in turn has led to an explosion in the amount of data that must be transferred between individual factory nodes, such as CNC machines and robot work cells, and between the factory and the cloud.


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