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The four revolutionary selves of industry 4.0 – Self-monitoring

Article by Megan Gee
futuristic computer control room

The robotic revolution isn’t coming. It’s already here. This is the next generation of warehouse automation. Industry 4.0 is landing and is bringing major changes to every sector of the economy.

To understand just what industry 4.0 is and why it’s so impactful, you need to understand the four revolutionary selves. The four key characteristics of industry 4.0 technology all feature the prefix “self” and make a radical change to the current reality

Read on to understand the first and most foundational of these technologies. Self-monitoring technology.

What is self-monitoring technology?

Self-monitoring technology means that the system is actively aware and understanding the following three key things:

This level of operational awareness makes industry 4.0 technology safer, faster, and generally much better than alternative models.

How does self-monitoring work?

Self-monitoring works by allowing every robot to be a junction point in an ongoing data conversation. The autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are in constant receipt of a stream of instructions and information from the robotic control system (RCS) which the robots then act upon.

In reply, the robots transmit a stream of data from their sensors concerning the wider environment. This includes obstacle detection sensors, such as LIDAR, infra-red beams, and ultrasonic pulses, as well as the machine vision data coming from cameras that read DM codes affixed to the floor. These provide the data that makes orientation in the wider warehouse environment much easier.

This constant conversation between the AMRs and the RCS happens without any manual oversight or direct control. The system needs no help to gather enough information and context to build up a clear understanding of the situation. Not a static map, as you might expect with an older model of automation. This is an active understanding of warehouse operations in full real-time.

What does self-monitoring change?

Self-monitoring is the foundation of all the other systems that make industry 4.0 possible. Previously, robots would need to be told what the warehouse looks like so they can make their way around. This would mean everything would need to be fixed in place – unchangeable and un-adjustable. Robots in the past could not handle anything but static unchanging environments. That has now completely changed.

When your system can understand the position of all its components, it can start to adapt and adjust accordingly. Making things faster and much more efficient.

The older fixed automation system style has no broader understanding. It doesn’t need to. It simply performs a task over and over again, with some very basic binary detection functions for safety purposes. If it encounters an obstruction, it cannot do anything other than stop and wait until it moves out the way.

A flexible automation system of an industry 4.0 style understands the situation the warehouse currently exists within. When it encounters an obstacle, it will wait, process the situation, and then move to either circumnavigate or re-route its entire path. Keeping things moving at all times.

Discover self-monitoring – discover industry 4.0

You can learn more about modern warehouse automation with Wise Robotics comprehensive guide on the subject, Automation 101.

To see industry 4.0 in action for yourself, you can visit the Wise Robotics demonstration centre. The first of its kind in Europe, Wise Robotics can show you exactly how industry 4.0 changes the game of warehouse automation. Not only can you see the technology working in general, but we can also provide a scale model of the kinds of specific automation solutions your business could be using.

Book a visit to the OW Robotics demonstration centre to see for yourself why the robotic revolution isn’t coming. It’s already here.

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