Imagine a collaborative robot that knows where it is and what needs to be done. A cobot capable of inspecting whether a part in your manufacturing process is complete and capable of jumping automatically to another task if it is not. A cobot that even reacts independently if an error occurs on one of your machines. Does this sound like a very futuristic scenario for you? For years now, the concept of making machines more connected has been the core issue of Industry 4.0 and Smart Manufacturing. Tend is taking a unique approach to helping companies not just chase those ideals, but realize them with their AI-based cloud robotics platform, “in.control™”.
SMART MANUFACTURING MADE SIMPLE
But let’s start from the very beginning: You buy a collaborative robot, you attach a regular webcam, an end effector of your choice, and then you let Tend supply the smarts; The company developed a system consisting of a small, preconfigured computer that securely connects the robot to the internet, and passes data to and from the robot and the attached webcam. The webcam supplies the vision to the robotic arm now able to view its surroundings; for example, a screen on a machine. Then the Tend software platform in. control comes into play; analyzing what the robot sees, and based on that, sends instructions to the arm: “Hit the start button on machine 3” or perhaps “turn the dial 30 degrees clockwise on machine 6.” In simple terms: The robot will execute based on what it is watching.
For instance, a 3D printer may indicate through its touchscreen that it’s done. You can teach the robot which part of the screen to read, and then follow up with actions such as unloading the printer and selecting a new job.
Besides having the robots interact with the machines visually, as a human would, all the configuration data and instructions are stored in a cloud, turning the robot into an AI-powered machine that can send, store and receive the data. Thus the software is also able to provide real-time production analytics for the end-users, so they can monitor and control the performance of their production line from their mobile device.