Automation and robotics on-the-move at Drives & Controls

2nd March 2018
Anna Flockett

Linear transfer carriages and articulated arm robots that can move around the factory floor on AGVs and can direct and think for themselves, will both be featured in Mitsubishi Electric's range of innovative products and solutions at Drives & Controls 2018.

Mitsubishi Electric will demonstrate how fully integrated automation and robotic solutions are the gateway to Industry 4.0 at the Drives & Controls Exhibition, at the NEC, Birmingham, from 10-12th April 2018. Beside exhibiting on Stands D716 and S256, Mitsubishi Electric will also take part in the robot demonstration zone on Stand R410, where it will display a robot solution that was developed together with AGV manufacturer Mirage.

Innovation now for productivity gains tomorrow
Visitors will be able to see a comprehensive range of robots, predictive maintenance solutions, intelligent conveying systems and AGVs. In addition, the company will present new industry leading developments in its automation solutions, such as PLCs, networks and HMIs.

One stand was not going to be enough for Mitsubishi Electric to present its best automation solutions at the 2018 Drives & Controls exhibition. The company will therefore be exhibiting in three different zones at the show: Drives & Controls, the Smart Industry Expo and Robotic Demonstration Zone.

All solutions presented by Mitsubishi Electric are designed to improve plant control and drive productivity, as well as reduce downtime for companies in different sectors.

Data collection and ease of integrating the plant with the enterprise level and beyond are fundamental in delivering Smart Manufacturing and adopting the principles of Industry 4.0 and Mitsubishi Electric will show many innovations in this area including edge computing and integrated network solutions.

AI and more
With reference to the next generation of fast, accessible predictive maintenance solutions, Mitsubishi Electric will exhibit a cloud based robot solution based on an AI platform, interfacing to IBM Watson. The latter uses predictive maintenance models, digital simulation and extrapolation of trends to provide maintenance information based on actual usage and wear characteristics. This solution can also be coupled with smart glasses, through which the operator receives guidance on what tasks need to be performed.

Other ground breaking projects from Mitsubishi Electric that will be showcased include Smart Condition Monitoring and Guided Operator Solutions. While the first detects anomalous patterns of operation and provides detailed diagnostics for predictive and preventative maintenance, the latter is designed for manual assembly applications, eliminating mistakes in the assembly process and enabling the continuous transfer of production data from manual assembly operations to higher-level enterprise systems.

Mitsubishi Electric will also demonstrate recent developments in its innovative Linear Transfer System with Smart Carriage technology. This is an advanced packaging and assembly system equipped with on-board intelligence, data memory and integrated power for on-carriage devices, e.g. sensors. These allow the machine to ensure real-time synchronisation with other processes, to switch between vertical and horizontal tracks and to address operator safety. The Smart Carriage can also store product information or data and communicate them from one station to the next. This also allows the carriage to detect different products and decide on optimum routes and destinations.

Where to see each exhibit
Thanks to Mitsubishi Electric technology, the products presented can bring “digital transformation” to the factory floor. Visitors will be able to discuss the possible applications that are relevant to their field on stands D716 (Drives & Controls) and S256 (Smart Industry Expo).

In addition, Mitsubishi Electric has developed an AGV complete with an integrated robot arm, together with Mirage, a company developing bespoke factory automation for industry and lean manufacturing. Visitors will be able to directly experience how it works thanks to an interactive display in the Robotic Demonstration area (R410).

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