Production downtime’s days are limited thanks to the industrial Internet of Things (IoT). Machine-embedded, network-connected sensors along with the collection of massive amounts of data will allow for self-healing manufacturing, scientists say.
That’s the concept behind an enthusiastic research project called SelSus currently being explored by multiple European academic institutions and manufacturers, including Ford.
The idea that the team proposes is to not just detect weaknesses during production, but to also fix the potential issues automatically through a kind of mathematically calculated self-healing. The scientists say diagnostics should supply recommendations before a piece of equipment has failed. That self-healing aspect would take equipment monitoring to the next level.
“The aim is not just to monitor the status of the machines and components,” says Martin Kasperczyk of Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, one of the participating organizations, in a press release. “The plan is to detect potential weak points or signs of wear and tear early enough for the system to be able to predict potential malfunctions.”
It should also correct the defects, too, in some cases.
The team has already gotten some of that to work. With one of the EU-funded research partner’s systems — a robotic arm for engine production — the device will self-heal when it starts to fail. If it were to detect resistance, for example, it would back-off rather than snap, the researchers explain.
The system can also calculate the probability of a stressed cable breaking under load.