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.
“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.