Sometimes it’s hard to realize with so many articles on advanced sensing or new platforms that IIoT initiatives have been with us for some time. Automotive OEMs are well known for their platforms and ability to scale new technology. The automotive industry drove IIoT projects in the early part of this decade as factory utilization and low-interest rates pushed this advanced technology approach forward. (Ford had a credit line of $7 billion with the U.S government…nice deal).
A recent post from the Robotics Industries Assn.’s page describes a recent initiative by GM to decrease downtime with their robotic processes. The company, worldwide, employs over 35,000 robots at its plants and 95% are FANUC.
General Motors is putting IoT and the building blocks of Industry 4.0 to work – today. The automaker’s robot supplier and strategic partner, FANUC America Corporation, is helping GM build a strong foundation for smart manufacturing. GM, FANUC, and networking giant Cisco together developed the Zero Down Time (ZDT) solution. ZDT uses a cloud-based software platform to analyze data collected from robots across GM’s factories in order to detect potential problems that could lead to production downtime.
The takeaway from the article is that this Big Data component is a proprietary solution with FANUC robots, which differs greatly with current IIoT solutions.
A little about the rollout:
GM started slowly, connecting a couple thousand robots over the first year or two. But by fall 2016, GM had over 6,000 robots connected to the ZTD platform, and just six months later over 8,500. Right now, the solution is focused on FANUC robots and FANUC robot-controlled processes. There’s no intention to connect robots made by other manufacturers.