Olis provides remote monitoring and error correction for both legacy and new industrial robot cells. (Image: Precision Cobotics)

When a robot cell experiences unplanned downtime, John Bridgen’s first priority as Director of Customer Satisfaction at Precision Cobotics, an integration firm based in Eastern Pennsylvania, is finding out exactly what happened.

Traditionally, this “root cause analysis” and subsequent debugging has required onsite visits and, at least initially, a degree of guesswork. Precision Cobotics’ customers are extremely sensitive to the costs of downtime and for some, every hour of unplanned downtime can cause losses in the tens of thousands of dollars.

“You buy robots so you can save labor and this means being able to run them unattended. However, when the automation doesn’t work, this also means that no one is around to do forensic studies on why it stopped working,” explained Bridgen.

For the customer, the traditional approach means time spent waiting to get access to an expert. For integrators, it creates additional travel costs, time-consuming guesswork, and limits their ability to take on out-of-state business.

For Precision Cobotics and its customers, however, those days are long gone.

By deploying the Olis solution for remote robot monitoring and error recovery in its customers’ robot cells, the Precision Cobotics team is able to determine the cause of the robot downtime faster than ever before, perform remote debugging and error recovery, and grow its business in new regions.

“In all of our deployments, Olis shortens the time it takes to figure out the root cause of robot failures so we can get production up and running again. It is so important to get that kind of forensic video evidence quickly whenever there is unplanned downtime,” said Bridgen.

Olis consists of several Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) cameras, a compute box hosted onsite, and sophisticated software. The system provides 24/7 low latency video and data access to any robot cell, enabling integrators to perform immediate root cause analysis.

One of Precision Cobotics’ customers is a foundry that uses a UR20 from Universal Robots on a complex bin-picking and machine tending application involving a 4D vision software from Apera AI, and a Doosan Puma CNC machine.

The robot was required to pick from two wire mesh bins at least three feet deep and full of parts. Then, using a dual-gripper, it would orient the part precisely in the CNC machine, collect the part when finished and place it onto a conveyor for packaging.

Despite the complex application requirements, the cell worked smoothly. But then Precision Cobotics received an alert via Olis that the robot had reached a protective stop. Onsite, people were scratching their heads and making guesses at the cause of the robot downtime. It was a different story at Precision Cobotics.

Olis connects to remote users via secure connection, skipping ‘the cloud’ completely — a relief to manufacturers concerned about cybersecurity. (Image: Olis Robotics)

“Olis saved us a trip up there. Using the video feed, we were able to validate why those protective stops were occurring pretty much instantly. It turned out that the bin that was being loaded had excessive denting that the system wasn’t expecting, so the cell was coming to a stop,” explained Bridgen.

Precision Cobotics then remotely recovered and restarted the UR20 and the foundry’s production was back up and running in a fraction of the time it would have taken had an onsite visit been required. Slashing downtime to such an extent makes for happy customers and the foundry is currently exploring additional ways to deploy Olis in its facility.

The system also boosts the ability of integrators to handle more robot cells in more places, with both integrators and customers confident in their ability to handle robot downtime quickly and effectively. Designed so that remote users can never override a robot cell’s onsite safety settings and restrictions, Olis also ensures safety on the factory floor.

“Olis makes us more efficient and allows us to take on more work more quickly. Our guys and girls spend less time on the road and instead of spending 20 hours guessing as to why a robot cell is faulty, we can use those 20 hours toward the next billable job,” said Bridgen.

Leveraging Olis’ remote monitoring and error recovery capabilities, Precision Cobotics has been able to take on out-of-region business for the first time, at a Colorado facility that deployed a UR10 robot from Universal Robots on a machine tending application.

“Olis allowed us to win that job. Previously, our focus was local, but with the power of Olis and the ability to remotely debug, we have the confidence to branch out to more remote locations,” said Bridgen.

This article was written by Fredrik Ryden, CEO, Olis Robotics (Seattle, WA). For more information, visit here .