KUKA is an internationally active supplier of intelligent automation solutions. The company, headquartered in Augsburg, Germany, offers its customers everything from a single source: from robots to cells to fully automated plants and their networking in markets such as automotive, electronics, metal & plastic, consumer goods, e-commerce/retail and healthcare. Regardless of the size of the robot fleet used, a fast, precise and trouble-free flow of the complex work processes must always be guaranteed. At the same time, maintenance measures and service calls must be kept to a minimum. Repairs and maintenance must also not be at the expense of productivity.
The challenge: Avoiding downtime in production
With current solutions, assessing the condition of a robot or its efficiency in real time is not possible, let alone making accurate predictions about potential failures. For more transparency in production and to ensure efficient and economically profitable plants, a secure, highly available and scalable IoT platform solution with intelligent condition monitoring had to be created.
With IoT specialist and subsidiary Device Insight, KUKA already had a long-standing partner at its side with whom this ambitious goal could be quickly achieved and successfully implemented.
The solution: Data-based added value through a cloud-based, intelligent software platform
Device Insight GmbH, founded in 2003, is a leading provider of IoT platform solutions that supports companies in digitization in the connected world of the of Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 and Artificial Intelligence.
The combined expertise in IT and OT and the agile collaboration between Device Insight and KUKA resulted in the KUKA iiQoT platform. This is a cloud-based IIoT solution in which the data of an entire robot fleet is bundled transparently and in real time in a clear dashboard and processed for further analysis, condition monitoring and predictive maintenance.
The most important functions include systems management, fault detection and remote condition monitoring. Users receive a compact overview of all relevant status and operating parameters. The data can be viewed transparently and precisely for each line, cell or individual machine. It can now be determined remotely whether maintenance is required and, for example, converted into a service order at KUKA.
The complex filter function enables the display in specific clusters, for example for robots with an operating system that needs to be renewed or a specific motor temperature.
If required, users can log in to an individual robot by selecting its line and cell from any location and view all parameters in real time, including access to historical data. The security status can also be accessed at any time, for example to check if up-to-date security technology packages are running at all plants.
Since plant networks are usually not supposed to be connected to the Internet for security reasons, Device Insight also developed its own cloud connector, which is used to fetch data from the robot and transfer it to the cloud via OPC UA interfaces and the IoT protocol MQTT. This ultimately creates a digital image of the robot in the cloud.
To ensure the highest level of security in cloud connectivity, the connector uses Microsoft Azure functionalities, including automatic software updates and security certificates that are renewed daily. This allowed Device Insight to fully contribute not only its core competence in the are of Connected Machines, but also its expertise as a Microsoft Azure Gold Partner to the project.
KUKA iiQoT is suitable for small and large robot fleets. Designed as SaaS (Software-as-a-Service), KUKA iiQoT is maximally flexible and scalable. Robots can be added to or removed from the fleet at will – without hardware costs, and always with access to the latest version.
The result: Full IIot potential without security concerns
The new KUKA iiQoT platform paves the way to the smart factory for companies of all sizes and makes automation as easy as working on a PC. It bundles condition data of the robots transparently and clearly in one platform – from the hardware to the software and on to the controller. Instead of simply visualizing the raw data, KUKA iiQoT provides supplementary orientation parameters to enable messages to be easily interpreted and faults to be efficiently corrected. With KUKA iiQoT, the customer benefits from maximum availability, flexibility and strong performance.