Augsburg, Germany based KUKA AG is one of the leading global suppliers of intelligent automation solutions. Its international customers come from, among other sectors, the automotive industry and the general industry. KUKA offers the complete range of products and services: from the robot component to cells and fully automated systems.
Here, Rohitashwa Pant, senior VP, Industry 4.0 Accelerator at KUKA, tells us more about how Industry 4.0 is going to make the production processes more efficient. Excerpts:
DQ: How can Industry 4.0 transform the industry, and help rediscover growth?
Rohitashwa Pant: Industry 4.0 is changing the world and calling for new business models.Like all industrial revolutions, Industry 4.0 will fundamentally change the world of work and professions.
DQ: There are said to be the nine technologies within Industry 4.0! Elaborate
Rohitashwa Pant: Industry 4.0 is characterized by the networking of automated processes with the world of IT. The robot, as a flexible production element, will be able to gather data in the production facility and exchange these data with the IT systems. This will make production processes more efficient and the systems will be able to respond quickly to individual customer requirements.
KUKA already has a number of important elements for the implementation of Industry 4.0: safe robot systems for human-robot collaboration, mobility with integrated navigation, modular controller for connection to the world of IT.
DQ: What are the challenges that companies face in the implementation of these technologies?
Rohitashwa Pant: The question that many companies are currently asking themselves: What added value does industry 4.0 bring me? The reason for this is that every company has individual requirements and machines from different manufacturers. The big challenge is: how to network these different machines! There is no common interface through which all machines can speak “the same language”.
DQ: How can data and optimization happen across the value chain?
Rohitashwa Pant: With cloud-based platforms, KUKA networks and digitizes production cells or lines in order to provide customers with access to various applications and services. Data is collected and analyzed, optimizing processes. Through the use of analytics features targeted productivity is improved.
In addition, we develop automation solutions and service-based business models for Industrie 4.0 (e.g., pay-per-use). In this way, we can create added value for our customers through digitization.
DQ: What are the benefits and IT, OT and cyber-physical systems in ‘smart anything’?
Rohitashwa Pant: The growth in the performance of information and communication technologies is shaping the world of work. Not only will the employees be connected with each other, but also the machines, logistics and products.
Most importantly, people’s interaction with connected factories will change and the application of data and cloud-based services will expand in daily production operations. This also changes the working world. There may be changes in the training occupations. Nevertheless, the human remains immensely important.
From our point of view, the factory of the future is a “smart factory” in which robots do not replace people, but supplement their abilities. The human being is the focus here. In the future, monotonous, tiring and dangerous activities can be taken over by machines, creative and challenging activities are left to humans.
DQ: How will integrations occur in Industry 4.0? How will vertical and horizontal integration happen across systems?
Rohitashwa Pant: The key benefits of Industrie 4.0 — solutions result from the integration of the control systems on the shop floor and modern IT technologies. This integration makes it possible to increase efficiency and new business models.
DQ: How can RPA help CIOs?
Rohitashwa Pant: With new robot systems that are sensitive and mobile and thus, able to work hand-in-hand with humans, new possibilities arise in production. That is why people’s tasks will change and many new job descriptions will emerge, especially at the interface between mechanical engineering and IT.