EIT Digital launched Tuesday “Robot IoT Interface”, a new activity being developed with the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and Poitiers-based startup Agileo Automation with the goal of enabling different kind of robots and machines to connect to different cloud platforms.
To achieve this Agileo, with its experience on developing middleware applications to control robotized production tools, will be able to benefit from the scientific expertise of the CEA which can make knowledge and technological transfer and build commercial products that fit their activities.
“Robots and machines may produce data in a standard or non-standard format according to their internal controller. The devised solution is a generic gateway that can receive the produced data, translate it into an OPC-UA model and then make it available in an IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) platform located in the cloud,” said Agileo’s managing director Marc Engel.
OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) is a machine to machine communication protocol for industrial automation developed by the OPC Foundation. Its focuses on communicating with industrial equipment and systems for data collection and control; is freely available and implementable without restrictions or fees; and is cross-platform signifying that it is not tied to one operating system or programming language. It also offers a service-oriented architecture (SOA); robust security and forms an integral information model, which is the foundation of the infrastructure necessary for information integration where vendors and organizations can model their complex data into a OPC UA namespace take advantage of the rich service-oriented architecture of OPC UA.
There were over 35 collaborations with the OPC Foundation currently. Key industries include pharmaceutical, oil and gas, building automation, industrial robotics, security, manufacturing and process control.
“The global problem that we want to address with Agileo is the interoperability within the factory of the future by investigating the different infrastructures allowing machines to machines as well as machines to clouds connection,” CEA’s Research Engineer Selma Azaiez explains.
Specifically, CEA will propose to Agileo to implement a gateway between the Isybot collaborative robot (born in 2016 from a CEA spin-off) and an Industrial cloud in order to develop a predictive maintenance service for the robot arm actuator.
The product will be ready for market launch by the end of this year. Once the gateway has been created, other SMEs will be able to benefit from this solution simply by accessing the Robotic Innovation Facilities (RIF) areas of a network of European Innovation Centers that are going to be created by EIT Digital in the meantime.
“They simply have to apply for the technology and the RIF staff will help them to adopt the technology to their needs,” Azaiez says.