The computer games generation was always a reference to teenagers… well it was in the ‘80s and ‘90s. It’s therefore no surprise that most engineers working now are comfortable with digital interface technology and that the latest developments in Augmented Reality have quickly been applied to making improvements on the factory floor. Mitsubishi Electric is planning a commercial roll out for this next generation of interface technology as a predictive maintenance solution for its more advanced factory automation equipment, such as the MELFA series of industrial robots.
The system uses predictive maintenance models and simulations based on actual usage and wear characteristics to provide information on the robot’s condition and future maintenance requirements. Guidance on the maintenance tasks to perform is then provided to the operator via Augmented Reality (AR), using smart glasses. To add a further sci-fi style aspect to the solution, the actual data processing and intelligence can be supplemented by AI, either deployed locally on the device or utilizing a Cloud-based system to make accurate predictions and select a course of action.