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Robots to the fore in Industry 4.0

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Kathy Gibson reports from CeBit, Hannover – As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes a reality, Huawei and Kuka have announced a partnership that will span developments in cloud computing, big data and warehouse technology.
“The partnership will help our customers to achieve smart manufacturing,” says Ryan Ding, president of Huawei Enterprise’s products and solutions.
The memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed today is for the development of smart manufacturing systems for industrial markets in Europe and China.
Smart manufacturing is evolving rapidly fuelled by intelligent, interconnected systems and this is disrupting the way manufacturing businesses use robots throughout their entire production systems. In this new manufacturing era, robots will play an increasingly important role in helping manufacturing businesses remain agile and drive growth. Under the new agreement, Huawei and Kuka will collaborate in the areas of cloud computing, big data, mobile technology, and industrial robots to help manufacturing customers transform and embrace smart manufacturing.
Research and development will be central to the new partnership. Key areas of R&D include the use of small cell IoT, wireless and 5G network, as well as big data solutions in manufacturing and factory environments and the deployment of Huawei’s infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solutions to develop cloud-hosted smart manufacturing services.
“Kuka is a pioneer in robotics and automation, and Huawei is a global IT provider,” says Ding. “We are opening the gateway to smart manufacturing for manufacturers.”
The cornerstone of smart manufacturing is the ability to connect a massive number of devices, he explains. This connectivity can be enabled through the cloud, while big data is necessary to manage the devices and processes.
“We are bringing together the Internet of Things, big data, wireless and manufacturing technologies, and deploying the Huawei infrastructure as a service.”
Robotics are a long-established technology in the manufacturing environment, Ding adds, but he believes we are at a turning point now in the use of robots to completely transform the manufacturing process.
“Kuka and Huawei have a joint intuitive programming team exploring imitative deep learning in advanced manufacturing environments. We believe robots are going to become a key driver of the new industry revolution.”
Peter Mohnen, member of the board: finance and controlling at Kuka, believes the factory of the future is anchored in an inter-connected world.
“Industry 4.0 is where IT and the world of production merge,” he says. “Robots are already the most flexible production component in the manufacturing world, but now IT and the cloud are opening up new possibilities.
“We are convinced that the interaction of IT, cloud and traditional manufacturing systems will be the future.”
The partnership between Huawei and Kuka is strategic on a number of fronts, he adds.. “Huawei is number one telco company in the B2B market and an ICT powerhouse.
“In recent years, China has developed into the automation market of the future and is the fastest-growing ICT market in the world. The Made in China 2025 strategy is closely aligned with Industry 4.0.
“Kuka is an industry leader in Industry 4.0, and we believe that strong ties to our focus market in China is an important place to be in the future.”
Mohnen says the partnership with Huawei is an example of the kind of long-term co-operative ventures that will be key to future development and will help to drive Industry 4.0 forward.”
Stefan Lampa, CEO of Kuka, adds: “As an important driver of innovation and growth, the electronics sector relies on modern robot-based automation solutions. Our new partnership with Huawei as an established leader in global technology and IoT solutions will open up new opportunities to drive innovations for the smart manufacturing sector.”