Connecting Industrial Robotics with IIoT in Your Factory
The industrial internet of things (IIoT) presents enormous productivity potential for manufacturers, but the true benefits can be difficult to realize. Industrial robotics inherently promote connectivity and are proving to be a great starting point for broader IIoT initiatives.
Industrial robots are increasingly integrated with the IIoT in manufacturing facilities across the world. Some of the world's largest manufacturers have already seen big profits, but most manufacturers are just starting to implement robotic connectivity in their facilities.
Industrial Robotic Connectivity is a Quickly Maturing Technology
General Motors (GM), perpetually a leader in automation technology, was one of the first to invest heavily in robotic connectivity and have established a framework for success.
GM has over 7,500 connected robots in their facilities with the goal of collecting real-time data on robotic performance. Currently, this helps productivity by avoiding unnecessary downtime. They're able to see when a robot needs maintenance and proactively address performance issues before the entire assembly line shuts down. In the future, though, they plan to adjust robotic accuracy and repeatability in real time to improve product quality.
While GM is a leader in robotic connectivity, the technology is becoming widely available across the industrial sector.
The State of Robotic Connectivity in Today's Factories
A recent panel of experts weighed in on today's robotic connectivity technology in an RIA webinar. One of the main conclusions reached was that most businesses leveraging industrial robotics technology are now highly interested in mining more data from these robots.
Typically, robots feature an Ethernet or wifi connection. Most manufacturers want their robots to connect to the cloud with no PLC in the middle for easier data collection and mining. When robot data is brought into the cloud, it can more cleanly be brought into plant production networks or local ERP systems for process analysis.
In general, we're in the early stages of connected robot technology, but the desire for greater connectivity exists. For many facilities, it simply comes down to making the investment at the right time.
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