IIoT is the future of workplace safety (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #118)

The increasingly connected systems in place at the factory floors are enabling safer workplaces. The most straightforward approach here is to don workers with sensors that can detect hazardous environment parameters like air quality and temperature or even automatically alert someone if they are injured. In most cases, however, it’s about bypassing the need for human workers to do dangerous tasks. Technologies like predictive analytics can do tremendous work in alerting supervisors before parts get broken and become hazards. Similar smart systems need to be put in place when cooperative robotics start working alongside human counterparts. Using machine learning and computer vision, safety can be guaranteed as robots can have comprehensive knowledge of their surroundings and predict human actions, as well as maximizing the robot’s effectiveness.

Using IIoT-Connected Devices for Worker Health & Safety

IBM announced collaborations with Garmin, Guardhat, Mitsufuji and SmartCone to help organizations monitor their workers’ safety with Watson IoT. Source: IBM

Workplace safety is important in any field. For example, in my line of work, I’m always vigilant of dangers from hot coffee, eye strain, or paper cuts. But in industrial environments such as the manufacturing, petrochemical, or mining industries, the potential dangers are more severe. That’s why researchers and engineers are exploring new ways to use industry 4.0 technology to protect the health and safety of industrial workers.

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How IoT and Computer Vision Can Enhance Industrial Safety

Welder's safety is protected by IoT

Using IoT sensors can feed the algorithm with real-time data and allow it to make decisions on the spot. For example, if sensors detect gas leakage, increased temperatures or unwanted humidity, work can stop at once or at the very least inform the floor manager. These type of decisions are deterministic and don’t provide much insight into the future. Another way of creating a safer environment is to use the power of computers and machine learning. By creating different scenarios, the algorithm can sense the difference between what is safe and what is not.

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Collaborative Robots Learn to Collaborate

An automated mobile robot (AMR) uses 3d vision and machine learning to navigate in a more natural manner past a person moving a cart in a warehouse aisle.

To be truly collaborative, robots must be capable of more than working safely alongside human beings. Russell Toris, director of robotics at Fetch Robotics, says robots also need to act (and “think”) more like people. This is particularly true of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) like those manufactured by Fetch. Typically employed for material transport and data collection (such as counting inventory), these wheeled systems use vision sensors and navigation software to dynamically adapt to new environments and situations. Increasingly common in warehouses and distribution centers, this technology is likely to spread to other applications and industries, including our own.

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Additive in Aviation is Growing Even Faster! (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #105)

Many would say that with the GE Fuel Nozzle, the 1000 additive parts in the Airbus 350 and now the GE ATP engine, additive has already arrived in aviation. But this week we witnessed an event greater acceleration: At Hill Air Force Base, engineers are already validating and installing replacement parts for their $150 million F-22 aircrafts, printed to the highest standards and with greatly enhanced lead times and life-cycles. If you couple the capabilities of 3D printing with predictive maintenance and an intelligent IIoT network of manufacturing and storing, there’s opportunity to redefine the whole model. Airbases are already disposing 3D printers for in-situ manufacturing and new partnerships are bringing more and more industrial capabilities to the runways. At Authentise, we’re proud to apply the principles of predictive maintenance to our customers’ printers themselves, bringing an added tier of intelligent planning, along with a pervasive MES framework that can bring this dream to the real world.

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Metallic 3D Printing May Revolutionize Maintenance for F-22 Raptor

 An airman removes the intake covers of an F-22 Raptor before a training mission. The first metallic 3D-printed part was installed on an operational F-22 in December at Hill AFB, Utah. (US Air Force photo/Michael Holzworth)

The world’s most expensive fighter jet soon may be flying with parts made from a 3D printer. Maintainers at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, last month installed for the first time a metallic 3D-printed bracket on an operational F-22 Raptor, according to the Air Force and Lockheed Martin, the company that produces the $150 million aircraft.

“Once we get to the more complicated parts, the result could be a 60 to 70 day reduction in flow time for aircraft to be here for maintenance,” Robert Lewin, 574th Aircraft Maintenance director at Hill.

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3D Printing Brings Maintenance Efficiency And Improved Healthcare To Travis Air Force Base

Joshua Orr, 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, uses a 3D scanner to scan an aircraft part. Photo via U.S. Air Force/Heide Couch

Travis Air Force Base (AFB) in Fairfield, California has recruited the help of 3D printing technologies. The Air Base has employed 3D scanners to reduce maintenance time. Having 3D printers on the base will ensure rapid replacement of aircraft parts.

“Once we have this additive manufacturing capability in place, we will likely be able to print and replace parts in a few hours and return our aircraft to flying status much quicker,” Master Sgt. Christopher Smithling, assistant section chief for aircraft structural maintenance, 60th Maintenance Squadron.

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EOS and Etihad Airways expand 3D printing capabilities

Etihad Airways Engineering claims to be the largest aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul services provider in the Middle East.

Industrial 3D printing company EOS and Etihad Airways Engineering, the largest aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul services provider in the Middle East, have agreed a strategic partnership which will significantly expand local capabilities for industrial 3D printing in aviation. Following a structured selection process, suitable cabin interior parts will be produced through the AM process, which offers a substantial value-add in terms of optimised repair, lightweight design, shorter lead times and customisation options, particularly during aircraft modifications.

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