HANNOVER, Germany–Comau, Microsoft and ICONICS are debuting here at Hannover Messe the results of their work together to improve manufacturing production around the world, in terms of efficiency and total cost of ownership.
Comau is a company member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group. It uses real-time data and operational insights gathered from equipment, products, people, and the factory environment to help manufacturers not only increase machine efficiency and reduce maintenance operations but also to improve the operator’s performances and ability to shape the potential of new digital technologies to meet the objectives of increasing production efficiency, it noted.
The project Comau DiWo (digital workplace) is supported by the cloud softward called Microsoft Azure and the solution for the Internet of Things called Azure IoT Suite, as well as by the operating system Windows 10.
When paired with Windows 10 universal apps and “mixed reality” solutions (involving virtual reality and augmented reality), it can minimize operational downtime, increase operational efficiencies and more quickly pinpoint the location of faults in equipment, which improves team collaboration and cooperation, Comau asserted.
With Microsoft HoloLens, Comau is able to, for instance, control Comau Racer 3, a robot that handles a variety of components in the several manufacturing environments. It can remotely monitor factory machines, giving manufacturers a new way to interact with data via natural gestures and hands-free operation, the company said.
The machine learning features and openness–”guaranteed first of all by the support of the machine-to-machine communication standard OPC-UA”–allow manufacturers to integrate production-related data with other internal/external data sources to gain business insights and get more value all along the extended supply chain, Comau said.
“Mixed reality, machine learning and artificial intelligence are redefining the industrial world, and Microsoft means to be the enabler of the success of companies willing to reimagine their business in a more efficient, sustainable and safe way, thanks to new technologies,” Tiziana Olivieri, enterprise & partners lead at Microsoft Italy, said in prepared remarks. “IDC estimates that … 40% of operational processes will be self-healing and self-learning by 2022.”
The partners came up with a use case for “connected operations using Microsoft HoloLens and Azure IoT technology,” ICONICS CEO Russ Agrusa noted in prepared remarks. “With ICONICS’ Holographic Machine Interface, users can now quickly view needed real-time and predictive maintenance information through intuitive, hands-free operation and natural gestures. These mixed reality abilities expand our solutions, enabling ICONICS to make the invisible visible for customers and partners worldwide.”