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Communication & Security Challenges Going through Cellular Robots Producers

Cellular robots are in all places, from warehouses to hospitals and even on the road. Their recognition is simple to know; they’re cheaper, safer, simpler to seek out, and extra productive than precise staff. They’re simple to scale or mix with different machines. As cell robots accumulate a number of real-time knowledge, corporations can use cell robots to start out their IIoT journey.

However to work effectively, cell robots want secure and dependable communication. This text outlines the principle communication and security challenges dealing with cell robotic producers and offers a straightforward solution to overcome these challenges to maintain cell robots transferring.

What are Cellular Robots?

Earlier than we start, let’s outline what we imply by cell robots.

Cellular robots transport supplies from one location to a different and are available in two sorts, automated guided autos (AGVs) and autonomous cell robots (AMRs). AGVs use guiding infrastructure (wires reflectors, reflectors, or magnetic strips) to observe predetermined routes. If an object blocks an AGV’s path, the AGV stops and waits till the thing is eliminated.

AMRs are extra dynamic. They navigate by way of maps and use knowledge from cameras, built-in sensors, or laser scanners to detect their environment and select essentially the most environment friendly route. If an object blocks an AMR’s deliberate route, it selects one other route. As AMRs will not be reliant on guiding infrastructure, they’re faster to put in and might adapt to logistical modifications.

What are the Communication and Security Challenges Going through Cellular Robotic Producers?

1. Set up a Wi-fi Connection

The primary problem for cell robotic producers is to pick essentially the most appropriate wi-fi know-how. The standard recommendation is to determine the necessities, consider the requirements, and select the very best match. Sadly, this isn’t at all times potential for cell robotic producers as typically they don’t know the place the machine can be positioned or the precise particulars of the goal utility.

Typically a Bluetooth connection can be perfect because it presents a secure non-congested connection, whereas different purposes would require a high-speed, safe mobile connection. What could be helpful for cell robotic producers is to have a networking know-how that’s simple to alter to satisfy particular necessities.

Determine 1. 
Wi-fi normal -high-level benefits and drawbacks

The second problem is to make sure that the set up works as deliberate. Earlier than putting in a wi-fi answer, full a predictive web site survey primarily based on facility drawings to make sure the cell robots have enough sign protection all through the situation. The location survey ought to determine the optimum location for the Entry Factors, the right antenna kind, the optimum antenna angle, and methods to mitigate interference. After the set up, use wi-fi sniffer instruments to verify the design and modify APs or antenna as required.

2. Connecting Cellular Robots to Industrial Networks

Cellular robots want to speak with controllers on the related web site though the cell robots and controllers are sometimes utilizing totally different industrial protocols. For instance, an AGV may use CANopen whereas the controller may use PROFINET. Moreover, cell robotic producers could wish to use the identical AGV mannequin on a special web site the place the controller makes use of one other industrial community, equivalent to EtherCAT.

Cellular robotic producers additionally want to make sure that their cell robots have enough capability to course of the required quantity of knowledge. The required quantity of knowledge will differ relying on the scale and sort of set up. Giant installations could use extra knowledge because the routing algorithms must cowl a bigger space, extra autos, and extra potential routes. Navigation techniques equivalent to imaginative and prescient navigation course of pictures and due to this fact require extra processing energy than installations utilizing different navigation techniques equivalent to reflectors. Because of this, cell robotic producers should clear up the next challenges:

  1. They want a networking know-how that helps all main fieldbus and industrial Ethernet networks.
  2. It must be simple to alter the networking know-how to allow the cell robotic to speak on the identical industrial community because the controller with out altering the {hardware} design.
  3. They want to make sure that the networking know-how has enough capability and performance to course of the required knowledge.

3. Making a Secure System

Making a system the place cell robots can safely transport materials is a essential however difficult process. Cellular robotic producers must create a system that considers all the varied sorts of cell robots, buildings, and folks within the atmosphere. They want to make sure that the cell robots react to exterior actions, equivalent to somebody opening a security door or pushing an emergency cease button, and that the networking answer can course of totally different security protocols and interfaces. They should take into account that AMRs transfer freely and handle the danger of collisions accordingly. The know-how utilized in sensors is consistently evolving, and cell robotic producers must observe the developments to make sure their merchandise stay as environment friendly as potential.

Determine 2.
Overview of Security Challenges for Cellular Robotic Producers

Security Requirements

The security requirements present pointers on implementing safety-related elements, getting ready the atmosphere, and sustaining machines or tools.

Whereas compliance with the totally different security requirements (ISO, DIN, IEC, ANSI, and many others.) is generally voluntary, machine builders within the European Union are legally required to observe the protection requirements within the equipment directives. Equipment directive 2006/42/EC is at all times relevant for cell robotic producers, and in some purposes, directive 2014/30/EU may also be related because it regulates the electromagnetic compatibility of kit. Equipment directive 2006/42/EC describes the necessities for the design and development of secure machines launched into the European market. Producers can solely affix a CE label and ship the machine to their prospects if they will show within the declaration of conformity that they’ve fulfilled the directive’s necessities.

Though the opposite security requirements will not be obligatory, producers ought to nonetheless observe them as they assist to meet the necessities in equipment directive 2006/42/EC. For instance, producers can observe the steering in ISO 12100 to cut back recognized dangers to an appropriate residual danger. They’ll use ISO 13849 or IEC 62061 to seek out the required security degree for every danger and be certain that the corresponding safety-related perform meets the outlined necessities. Cellular robotic producers determine how they obtain a sure security degree. For instance, they will lower the pace of the cell robotic to decrease the danger of collisions and severity of accidents to an appropriate degree. Or they will be certain that cell robots solely function in separated zones the place human entry is prohibited (outlined as confined zones in ISO 3691-4).
Figuring out the right requirements and implementing the necessities is the easiest way cell producers can create a secure system. However as this abstract suggests, it’s a sophisticated and time-consuming course of.

4. Guaranteeing a Dependable CAN Communication
A dependable and easy-to-implement normal for the reason that Nineteen Eighties, communication-based on CAN know-how continues to be rising in recognition, primarily as a consequence of its use in varied booming industries, equivalent to E-Mobility and Battery Vitality Storage Techniques (BESS). CAN is easy, power and cost-efficient. All of the gadgets on the community can entry all the data, and it’s an open normal, which means that customers can adapt and prolong the messages to satisfy their wants.
For cell robotic producers, establishing a CAN connection is turning into much more important because it permits them to observe the lithium-ion batteries more and more utilized in cell robotic drive techniques, both in retrofit techniques or in new installations. Cellular robotic producers must do the next:

1.Set up a dependable connection to the CAN or CANopen communication requirements to allow them to verify their gadgets, equivalent to monitoring the battery’s standing and efficiency.

2. Shield techniques from electromagnetic interference (EMI), as EMI can destroy a system’s electronics. The chance of EMI is important in retrofits as including new elements, equivalent to batteries subsequent to the communication cable, leads to the introduction of high-frequency electromagnetic disturbances.

5. Accessing Cellular Robots Remotely
The flexibility to remotely entry a machine’s management system can allow cell robotic distributors or engineers to troubleshoot and resolve most issues with out touring to the positioning.

Determine 3.
Advantages of Distant Entry

The problem is to create a distant entry answer that balances the wants of the IT division with the wants of the engineer or vendor.

The IT division desires to make sure that the community stays safe, dependable, and retains integrity. Because of this, the distant entry answer ought to embrace the next safety measures:

  • Use outbound connections relatively than inbound connections to maintain the impression on the firewall to a minimal.
  • Separate the related site visitors from the remainder of the community.
  • Encrypt and defend all site visitors to make sure its confidentiality and integrity.
  • Be sure that distributors work according to or are licensed to related safety requirements equivalent to ISO 27001
  • Be sure that suppliers full common safety audits.

The engineer or vendor desires an easy-to-use and reliable system. It ought to be simple for customers to hook up with the cell robots and entry the required data. If the set up may change, it ought to be simple to scale the variety of robots as required. If the cell robots are in a special nation from the distributors or engineers, the networking infrastructure should have enough protection and redundancy to ensure availability worldwide.

As we’ve seen, cell robotic producers should clear up many communication and security challenges. They need to set up a wi-fi connection, ship knowledge over totally different networks, guarantee security, connect with CAN techniques, and securely entry the robots remotely. And to make it extra difficult, every set up should be re-assessed and tailored to satisfy the on-site necessities.

Greatest follow to implement cell robotic communication
Cellular robotic producers are not often communication or security consultants. Subsequently, they will discover it time-consuming and costly to try to develop the required communication know-how in-house. Enlisting purpose-built third-party communication options not solely solves the communication challenges at hand, it additionally offers different advantages.

Fashionable communication options have a modular design enabling cell robotic producers to take away one networking product designed for one normal or protocol and substitute it with a product designed for a special normal or protocol with out impacting another a part of the machine. For instance, Bluetooth stands out as the most fitted wi-fi normal in a single set up, whereas Wi-Fi could present higher protection in one other set up. Equally, one web site could use the PROFINET and PROFIsafe protocols, whereas one other could use totally different industrial and security protocols. In each eventualities, cell robotic producers can use communication merchandise to alter the networking know-how to satisfy the native necessities with out making any modifications to the {hardware} design.


Mark Crossley, Daniel Heinzler, Fredrik Brynolf, Thomas Carlsson

HMS Networks

HMS Networks is an industrial communication skilled primarily based in Sweden, offering a number of options for AGV communication. Learn extra on



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