5G- and ROS2-based Factories of the Future

15 June 2018

Credit: Shutterstock
Credit: Shutterstock

ADLINK Technology – a global leader in Edge Computing – has joined forces with Fair Friend Group (FFG) to develop the new Robot Operating System 2, for converged 5G in Industry 4.0.

The collaboration integrates wireless 5G network technologies with Robot Operating System 2 (ROS2) platforms to provide system architecture that enables real-time control and reliable communication. Igniting the next wave of growth for the network communication sector, the project can drive Industry 4.0 ecosystem development to bring on a productivity revolution for Factories of the Future.

With the growth of Industry 4.0 implementation, smart manufacturing has advanced to a high level of automation. Manufacturing using AMR (autonomous mobile robots) and COBOT (collaborative robots) is quickly becoming standard, with the result of increased demands on network systems and interface standards for communication between machines.

5G-enabled industrial wireless communication is capable of support for wide-ranging needs that arise from communication between humans, machines, and sensors, with high reliability, low latency, long transmission distance, multiple application scenarios, and optimal portability for mobile equipment. ROS2 provides high-efficiency middleware for data exchange and is quickly becoming the API standard for smart robotics development. ADLINK has further developed a uniform data exchange environment for factories using DDS (Data Distribution Service) as a backbone.

“Taiwan’s manufacturing industry has robust capabilities that are well recognised by the world. By combining leading-edge 5G network technologies with open source ROS2/DDS platforms, we have crafted a highly competitive manufacturing environment that converges IT, OT, and CT, to create a smart robotics industry ecosystem realising challenging Future Factory implementations,” said Jim Liu, ADLINK’s CEO.

FFG will build the world’s first demo production line for Factories of the Future, implementing fast and reliable ROS2-based data exchange. As FFG CTO Doctor Ren Luo explains, “Factories of the Future incorporate numerous portable, flexible, interconnected, and dynamically adjustable elements to accommodate customised production with optimal efficiency. The integration of 5G communication technologies and ROS2/DDS platforms at this time will realise high-performance implementation.”

With ever-growing demands for highly customised products, Factories of the Future require top-speed real-time data transmission across operations lines. Production line architecture must increasingly support extreme flexibility, interconnectivity and dynamic adjustability, with a wide variety of connected elements, machine-based and otherwise. Accordingly, dedicated wireless networking is critical.

ADLINK and FFG previously participated in an EU research project with common goals, setting them up for multinational collaboration on various forward-looking industrial technology developments. This was with combined further cross-sector achievements that generate ICT (information and communications technology) vertical application products for Factories of the Future.

ADLINK will incorporate AI technologies to develop robot controllers with vision, detection, precision control and real-time communication capabilities as open source tools, thereby generating new smart manufacturing standardisation of ROS2 as a common platform for mobile robots. ADLINK looks to introduce more than 200 innovative smart robotics products by 2025.

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