Getting the most out of automation
The Distributed Information and Automation Laboratory (DIAL) laboratory works on problems as diverse as improving aircraft turn round speed to retail shelf replenishment. However, the focus is on the design of smarter control systems for industry. Its scope of operation includes factory operations, logistics and maintenance. It is equipped with state of the art automation equipment of the type typically found in industry today, which makes the transfer of knowledge easier and faster.
Key technologies in use at DIAL include: Auto ID for tracking parts through the manufacturing process, sensor technologies and network technologies, the last looking at data sharing between manufacturing and the business.
Alan briefly describes the Internet of Things before considering cyber-physical systems. These control systems feature a tight link between the physical world and its representation in the digital world. Properly designed, these can avoid problems resulting from manual operation errors linked to automated systems.
A summary of some of the practical tools available from DIAL is at: http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/research/dial/tools-and-techniques/