Connecting IoT industrial platforms to shop floor devices: EIT Digital launches new generation ModBox gateway

EIT Digital supported High Impact Initiative (HII) OEDIPUS keeps delivering results. As part of the HII's activity "Robot IoT Interface", CEA LIST Institute, Agileo Automation, Isybot, DFKI and Siemens, have leveraged joint entrepreneurial innovation to develop the ModBox, the gateway for a new generation of industrial connectivity translating legacy Modbus protocol to OPC-UA.

Specifically, CEA LIST proposed to Agileo to implement a gateway between the Isybot collaborative robot (a CEA LIST spinoff, born in 2016) and an industrial cloud platform, in order to develop a predictive maintenance service for the robot arm actuator.


The algorithm behind the predictive maintenance model that elaborates the data generated by the robot was developed by DFKI, while the chosen industrial IoT platform where the data are collected and analyzed, was Siemens MindSphere.

"ModBox makes the link between the industrial IoT platform into the cloud and the devices on the shop floor like PLC and robotic systems." Agileo Automations CEO Marc Engel, commented in a video introducing the initiative.

A ModBox demonstrator is currently being exhibited at EIT Digital I-Center in Paris, hosted by CEA List Institute; the predictive maintenance solution was set up and will be integrated in MindSphere in January.

"With time industrial machines wear and deteriorate. We analyze these deteriorations using the predictive maintenance algorithm and extrapolate the lifetime remaining for the machine. The machine components are enabled to signal their maintenance need to the cloud, so that the replacing can be done just in time," DFKI research engineer Xenia Klinge said.

This opens the gates to technology that saves money, time and energy, anticipating on machine obsolescence and replacement and maximizing productivity thanks to reduced downtime costs and process breakups.

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