Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been all the buss heard over the past year from the likes of Google, Facebook, Tesla, and many other growing companies. But, when will it arrive in the industrial automation industry? Well, it’s finally here…and fear not!

AI involves machine learning and predictive analytics, in addition to deep learning, which uses artificial neural networks to do things such as detect objects, recognize speech, and process language. These key features can become powerful tools when implemented into factory automation. For example, during robotic bin picking applications, a system that utilizes deep learning technology uses success rate learning to develop a suggested picking order. This results in higher throughput and faster cycle times. Likewise, after learning the robotic path through a touch pen, AI can provide path control resulting in higher accuracy for welding or cutting applications. Again, this can provide higher throughput and reduced scrap rates.

Another key AI application that is seeing more use in factory automation is predictive maintenance/repair. Robotic axis failure detection is an example of this. By using deep learning, the data of self-test movements under normal conditions are analyzed and the occurrence of something anomalous can be detected. That means as opposed to sticking to a routine preventative maintenance schedule that occurs at fixed intervals, a machine can be serviced as the need arises and before a breakdown occurs. AI provides condition monitoring and early identification of potential problems.

AI is introducing many exciting new possibilities to manufacturing as we move through the Fourth Industrial Revloution. Get ready to embrace the next big movement in the automation industry.