Big companies create 5G-networks to automate their factories. Small firms often can’t afford that. The 5G Lab of TU Dresden and the startup Wandelbots want to help them.
Dresden/Goerlitz. With 5G the next generation of mobile communication is currently introduced. For the industry it’s essential, because it’s another industrial revolution. Internet 4.0 oder Internet of things are the catchwords. In the near future all machines in a factory will be connected with each other and the internet.
Help for repetitive tasks
However, not everyone will benefit. Especially small companies often don’t have the money to use the latest technology and buy an industrial robots for 50.000 euros or more. A joint project of the Dresden based startup Wandelbots, the 5G Lab of Dresden University of Technology and the bakery and confectionery Tschirch in Görlitz wants to change that. Wandelbots brings the robots to the bakery. With it’s software and a sensor jacket the company enables people to program an industrial robot without programming knowledge. The employee just has to show a move and the robot “learns” it with it’s algorithm. In the bakery the robot is useful to take on a repetitive task like putting the rolls from the baking machine to a griddle.
Idea evolved by accident
“The idea evolved by accident. A friend of mine works in Mr. Tschirch’s bakery as a journeyman. He told me how difficult it is to find good apprentices in this region. I replied jokingly that we could put one of our robots in the bakery who could help,” Wandelbots-CEO Christian Piechnick (33) remembers. Although he liked the idea, the startup couldn’t realize it alone, because there is no business case right now. Therefore he told Professor Frank Fitzek of the 5G Lab about his intention.
Fitzek’s assistant Thomas Hoeschele (33) explains what happend afterwards. “Christian Piechnick reported his notion, and we found it interesting. By transforming it into a research project, we can realize it now,” says Hoeschele and adds: “We have already the funding acceptance of the federal research ministry and want to start the project at the beginning of 2020.”
Bakery turns into a hightech location
In order that all devices work properly the bakery will be transformed into a hightech location. “We set up a 5G cellular network in the bakery. It communicates with a server in front of the shop who calculates the moves of the robots,” explains Thomas Hoeschele. The spatial proximity of server and robot is important to have a latency of one millisecond. The latency describes the time that passes by when an employee shows the robot a move and the robot “learns” it with its algorithm and emulates it.
The research of this so called non public networks shall lead to affordable technology prices in the long run. “With this project we can create a blueprint for this use in order to reduce the price,” says Thomas Hoeschele.