The world's most capable, rugged and secure
industrial control system...
Introducing Bedrock OSA® Remote
- Intrinsically-secure PLC and RTU control
- 10 or 20 channels of universal I/O
- Free IEC 61131-3 engineering software
- -40ºC to +80ºC temperature range
- Rugged, all-metal case 5.4 in x 8.9 in x 2.3 in
Industry 5.0 Coming Around the Corner. But Who’s Counting?
May 26, 2021 | Robert Bergman
Take heart humans. We may not be dispensable after all. Industry 5.0 is here to save our jobs. Where industry 4.0 was all about smart technology, a large part of which was getting the machines to do most of the work, industry 5.0 is more about getting human judgment back in the game. The intention is for machines to do what they do best and humans to do what the machines can’t.
Cobots, for example, target applications that have not previously been or are difficult to automate. A cobot might be used to control a rotary sander that would finish-sanding the hull of a passenger train in the factory. The robot arm would handle the weight of the sander, while the human operator guides it until the finish is polished to the human touch. Cobots can also learn the path the operator follows, repeating it as many times as the operator deems necessary. See a cobot in action.
Industry 5.0 innovations like cobots certainly have much promise. As Universal Robotics CEO Esben H. Østergaard puts it on his website: “This redeployment of human creativity into setups where skilled workers collaborate with robots is necessary because market requirements and consumer expectations are moving away from mass production, and end-user customers are demanding much more personalization and customization in the products they buy.”
Østergaard continued: “… robots are excellent at manufacturing standardized products using standardized processes that help ensure high speed and high production volume. But adding a ‘special something’ to each and every product is a challenge where robots require guidance and assistance, driving the need to bring the human touch back into a wide range of manufacturing, preparation, and finishing processes.”
Yet both the human touch and the proximity of working next to a machine with potentially enough force to do serious harm does raise security issues. The human factors can be addressed with role-based access control (RBAC) technology, company policy and training. For the robots, it is a little more complicated.
An analysis of robots and cobots by cybersecurity research firm IOActive revealed security issues in two of the robotic systems they studied. In one they “found authentication issues, insecure transport in their protocols, default deployment problems, susceptibility to physical attacks, and the usage of ROS, a research framework known to be vulnerable to multiple issues.” In another, they found “authentication issues in many of the control protocols, susceptibility to physical attacks, memory corruption vulnerabilities, and insecure communication transport.”
As far as we know, there are no robots or cobots with intrinsic cyber security, but the specter of a compromised robot with eyes, arms, and legs roving about your plant makes it well worth considering.
Industry 5.0 notwithstanding, there is still plenty to be done in realizing the vision of Industry 4.0. For more on that see Bill Lydon’s June 2020 THE MISSING LINK TO ‘INDUSTRY 4.0/DIGITALIZATION’.