Can Remote Robot Monitoring of Robotic Cells Help Labor Shortages?

Sept. 28, 2023
In Part 1 of a two-part video interview, Machine Design chats with Fredrik Ryden, CEO of Seattle-based Olis Robotics, which specializes in remote monitoring, control and error recovery technology for industrial robots.

More than 500,000 new industrial robots were installed worldwide in 2021 alone. According to the International Federation of Robotics, demand is driven by a host of factors from labor shortages and reshoring initiatives to rising e-commerce demand. 

Add the fact that robot downtime can cost a plant more than $1 million per hour, and the need for more inventive workarounds become obvious, said Fredrik Ryden, CEO of Olis Robotics, which specializes in remote monitoring, control and error recovery technology for industrial robots. 

“When every minute counts, you need to leverage remote tools to react as quickly as possible, no matter where you are,” Ryden said during a video interview with Machine Design

Remote support is in part an answer to the labor challenges and turnover issues, particularly in situations where plants may not have correctly trained staff, said Ryden. 

READ MORE: Industrial Robots: Remote Monitoring and Control Solution Boosts Productivity

“Downtime is a big issue, but the problem is that a lot of these companies can’t even buy automation and robotics in the first place because they don’t feel that they have the skills for them,” Ryden explained. “We’re partnering primarily with robot integrators that are in larger volumes, but also some big end-users. 

“The opportunity to buy a robot cell and have that be remotely supported, is a very appealing proposition,” said Ryden.

The Seattle-based company’s latest offering, Olis Connect, can be controlled directly in a web browser. The plug & play module is delivered on an Edge-hosted PC, and is intended for brand new and legacy industrial robot arms and robotic cells. Virtual set-up can be complete within 30 min.

Once installed, and secure remote access has been configured, users can monitor and manage their automation remotely. When there is a problem alerts are sent to the user’s device without connecting to the cloud. Users can then make adjustments to the robot arm, such as releasing its grip or moving a part into position, as needed. 

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About the Author

Rehana Begg | Editor-in-Chief, Machine Design

As Machine Design’s content lead, Rehana Begg is tasked with elevating the voice of the design and multi-disciplinary engineer in the face of digital transformation and engineering innovation. Begg has more than 24 years of editorial experience and has spent the past decade in the trenches of industrial manufacturing, focusing on new technologies, manufacturing innovation and business. Her B2B career has taken her from corporate boardrooms to plant floors and underground mining stopes, covering everything from automation & IIoT, robotics, mechanical design and additive manufacturing to plant operations, maintenance, reliability and continuous improvement. Begg holds an MBA, a Master of Journalism degree, and a BA (Hons.) in Political Science. She is committed to lifelong learning and feeds her passion for innovation in publishing, transparent science and clear communication by attending relevant conferences and seminars/workshops. 

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