Can Industrial Motion Control Learn from Experience?

Roboticists have been trying to build intelligent robots for a long time. Industrial robots are programmed to perform specific tasks, and they carry those tasks out flawlessly, but they aren’t really intelligent. An industrial machine isn’t going to be able to carry out non-programmed actions or even respond to unexpected scenarios or circumstances.

With our current level of technology, it’s not really an option to try and program artificial intelligence to create an intelligent robot. That’s why roboticists are trying to take a different approach, one that doesn’t require intense coding.

Machine learning

Humans learn and gain intelligence from teaching and experience, so why can’t robots? Many believe that the next step in developing intelligent robots is through teaching rather than coding. Apprentice robots are robots that can learn the basics of a task and then figure out the specifics through repetition and trial and error.

The fact that apprentice robots are not programmed for a specific task, but instead learn tasks means that they are more versatile. Apprentice robots can be used in different settings, can perform different tasks, and can adjust to unexpected variables. Many tasks are difficult to program, and once they are programmed, the robot is limited to carrying out that function. However, if a robot learns a task through observation, they not only learn the difficult task, but also the process required to perform the task. This information can help apprentice robots learn other tasks as well.

Traditional robots that are programmed to do a specific job are good at performing tasks when there are no inconsistencies, or nothing unexpected. If something comes up that doesn’t fit with the robot’s programming, the robot won’t know what to do. Learning robots will be able to tackle tasks that aren’t as uniform as others, by being able to work with something until it is familiar.

What if this principle could be applied to all industrial motion control? If motion control was as responsive and adaptive as apprentice robots, the entire manufacturing industry would be different.

While you’re musing on that, let us assure you that we are here for you when you need support for your legacy Indramat and new Indradrive motion control units. They may not be the latest thing, but plenty of them are still working great — let us help you keep them that way.