Radwell E Magazine Issue 01 - Page 14



But at Siemens, a team headed by Kai Wurm and
Georg von Wichert has come up with a solution to this
problem. They have developed a system which will be
able to work in the autonomous manner described
above, with no need for pre-programming, instead
reacting to instructions delivered directly from the
operator. This might seem like a regression to Tier I on
the AI development spectrum, but consider this for a
moment: the tasks that the robot will be completing are
incredibly complex, and require a thorough
understanding of the aims and objectives of the job at
hand. This is not merely reacting to an encountered
stimuli; this is interpretation and recognition of
instructions delivered, and the translation of these
instructions into movements and actions which have
been autonomously decided on.
Direct evidence for this can be found deep in the
mechanical function of the machine itself. If a
component is located near the left arm of the machine,
it is this arm which picks the component up and begins
the process. However, it may be that the right arm is
better positioned to attach the component in the right
way during assembly, in which case the left arm will
pass the component to the right appendage. This is
something which would not be possible from purely
reactive AI.
What we are seeing here is interpretation. The
machine receives the specifications of its instructions
and then uses these to construct a program which will
enable it to complete these instructions and achieve
the necessary objectives. Rather than preprogramming the machine for each new task, however
small, the autonomous system will be able to handle
the entire process itself, greatly increasing efficiency
and effectiveness across the board.
So what does this mean for
manufacturing here in the
United Kingdom, as well as
further afield?
Martin Thomas, European Marketing Manager at
Radwell International Ltd explains more.
14
Radwell.co.uk
“The first and arguably most obvious benefit is to
manufacturing firms themselves, specifically in the
ways in which they are able to complete tasks on
either a large or a small scale. These firms will find
their corporate agility is greatly increased, as they are
able to complete orders with minimal advance notice,
to a high degree of accuracy and quality. The cost and
risk of the process will also be improved. These
advantages will then be passed on to the consumer in
terms of more advantageous pricing and increased
accessibility to truly life-changing technology.”
This element was at the heart of a report issued by the
UK Government's Office for Science, which described
how the future of UK's manufacturing industry must
align with the needs and expectations of the general
public.
“Sustainability is another key benefit. As we look to the
future, the challenges facing us as a species are
evolving. It is up to us to find the most resourceefficient means to craft the technological solutions of
tomorrow, enabling us not only to conserve and
protect resource supplies on Earth, but also to
effectively develop revolutionary technological
solutions which enable us to live in better harmony
with nature and the environment.”
“As manufacturing technology evolves, the workforce
will need to develop also in order to keep pace.
Traditional roles will be replaced by supervisory
positions, and other positions associated with the
maintenance and upkeep of machinery. Anxiety
surrounding direct unemployment as a result of smart
robotics should prove to be unfounded, as the shifting
landscape will lead to the creation of other jobs to take
the place of traditional, manual, production line tasks.”
“We may not yet have two feet placed squarely in the
age of smart manufacturing and autonomous systems,
but we are standing at its precipice. What comes next
promises to be perhaps the most exciting chapter in
the history of manufacturing to date. Radwell’s own
Robot testing capabilities are continually enhanced
and our repair technicians keep up to date with the
latest technological developments to ensure we can
better serve our customers who are investing in these
smarter, artificial and autonomous advancements.”

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