An article published October 7th, 2015 in Business Wire, http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151007006112/en/FANUC-Cisco-Collaborate-Increase-Uptime-Connected-Machines#.VhVXY5erMo0, states that FANUC America and Cisco have announced a collaboration to connect industrial robots in the manufacturing industry. The robots will operate on a connected system which will allow new, preventative maintenance on operations equipment, which could result in a dramatic reduction in unplanned production downtime. This announcement comes after FANUC America and Cisco’s 12-month Zero Downtime (ZDT) pilot project. Their ZDT project helped a major automotive manufacturer to significantly decrease production downtime and as a result also increase their overall equipment effectiveness. Unplanned production downtime can be very costly to companies, and with the FANUC ZDT Solution, the system proactively detects and informs potential equipment or process problems before the unexpected downtime occurs. This allows the maintenance issue to be addressed before the downtown and in a planned outage window. In the past, issues were only discovered with robots during times of production downtime. Now the robot is connected through the Cisco network and the specific issue and the maintenance can be schedule ahead of time, reducing the amount of downtime. Rick Schneider, the CEO for FANUC America, believes that this new solution could add profound value for their customers and help them enable the Internet of Things transformation that many manufacturers have long-awaited.
What is the potential for connected robots and the ZDT system? What impact on production employees could this new system have? Are there any downfalls of having a completely connected robotic workforce?