The Industry 4.0 sector is attracting the interest of an increasing number of people, and RPA, i.e. Robotized Process Automation, has become a buzz word. Taking advantage of this trend and wishing to respond to market needs, at the beginning of 2020, we decided to invest in Etisoft Smart Solutions – a company providing automation solutions for Industry 4.0.
This engineering company focusing on solutions and services for industry and logistics emerged in 2017 from the Etisoft company – the market leader in AutoID solutions. ESS quickly began to win new customers and develop its unique know-how in integrated intralogistics systems based on mobile robots.
Close cooperation between Euvic and ESS in the field of software development has allowed ESS to build its value and competitive advantage around the technological combination of robots, industrial automation, and software. The market experience of the second shareholder, Etisoft, also played an important role here.
Today we are talking to Dr. Wojciech Klein (R&D Director at ESS) and Tomek Sobczak (Software Architect at Euvic) about how such innovative projects are created.
WK: We met with Tomek Sobczak one year ago. When designing a system for a client, I understood that mobile robots alone carrying loads on the shop floor were only half the success. So we started looking for an architect who, knowing the working environment of MES (Manufacturing Execution Systems) class systems, could develop a concept of another module that would connect the world of robots, ERP/MES software, and the physical reality of the factory hall.
TS: Undoubtedly, it was one of the most interesting projects we have implemented recently. Usually, we build software, which starts and ends with the computer. Here, however, our software, through IoT elements, influences the real world: robots, industrial automation elements, and software. It was a challenge to integrate so many components.
WK: We thought that the most difficult part (the predictive-adaptive algorithms, critical path analysis, or mission composition algorithm) was behind us. Then, during the system launch at the factory, it turned out that we had to solve hundreds of specific problems related to robot traffic management. I must admit that this was an area that we had greatly underestimated.
TS: That is certainly a tricky job. On the one hand, we have to balance the issues of safety, on the other hand, the expected performance, on the third hand, avoiding the concentration of robots in one place to prevent downtime and collisions, and then take into consideration a whole range of unusual events in physical space. The system implemented by ESS works fully automatically, and this necessitates its absolute reliability and resistance to interference.
More information about ESS: https://ess.etisoft.pl