Zero Down Time: FANUC Explains It All at RoboBusiness

In the News
October 07, 2016

It’s fascinating to see pieces of the Industrial Internet of Things being built and brought online right before our eyes, although sometimes the full realization of what’s happening is hard to pick out amid the surge of IT factory automation that’s taking place seemingly everywhere at once.

It’s always good to have a trusty guide along to clarify what exactly is going on and why.

Such was the session at RoboBusiness titled: IOT for Industrial Manufacturing and Zero Down Time, presented by FANUC’s Engineering Director, Joe Gazzarato.

Strange bedfellows no longer

No robot maker, even a $50-billion behemoth like FANUC, ever saw the day arriving that the robot world and that of networking giants like Cisco would ever be partners together. That notion is now history as FANUC and Cisco are well into a relationship that bodes well for both and for the customers who they now jointly serve.

FANUC and Cisco have together launched what appears to be a true component of the Factory of the Future. It’s still early yet, but the advance notices are eye-popping. FANUC claims to have saved its customers, who are now eternally grateful to FANUC, up to $70 million in “saved” downtime to their respective manufacturing operations.

Gazzarato was on hand at RoboBusiness to explain how it all came about…and where it’s headed.

ZDT (Zero Down Time) as a feedback loop

Rick Schneider, who served as CEO and president of FANUC America Corporation (replaced by Mike Cicco in July 2016; Schneider now Chairman of FANUC America), credits himself as the wellspring of the Factory of the Future movement at FANUC.

Basically, Schneider says in an explanatory YouTube video that after a robot is delivered to a customer, contact with that robot for FANUC ends.

He knew that a robot costing $250K would have another $250K of servicing during its lifetime; however, he’d never be aware when one of the robots might malfunction and unexpectedly and abruptly halt an expensive manufacturing line.

According to Schneider, such downtime could cost a manufacturer more than $20,000 per minute and over $2 million per incident.

To know how a robot performed as it was doing its job; or better still, to know when it was about to fail, would be invaluable insight to provide his customers. Such insight offered the opportunity to repair or replace a part before an expensive incident occurred.

As Gazzarato explained it, Schneider and his gang met up with the Cisco gang at a Cisco Internet of Things (IoT) conference. Out of that meeting came the idea...

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