Supporting developments in global manufacturing


RMIT, the ABB Group of Companies (India and Australia) and the Victorian State Government have all joined forces to set up the Australia-India Research Centre for Automation Software Engineering (AICAUSE), an international research centre aimed at developing advanced manufacturing software system to remotely control robots.

Robots in manufacturing Image credit: flickr User:  Haas Automation, Inc.
Robots in manufacturing
Image credit: flickr User: Haas Automation, Inc.

According to the news release from RMIT University, AICAUSE will be focusing on engineering of automation software, cloud-enabled test services for embedded software on physically distant platforms and collaborative architectural design of globally distributed software-intensive platforms that connect cyberphysical infrastructures.

RMIT Director eResearch and Director AICAUSE Heinz Schmidt said that the centre is currently engaged in designing and deploying the Virtual Interoperability Test Lab (VITELab).

“This eResearch platform is a global laboratory linking industry and university sites and providing a collaborative space for experimental design and testing of software-intensive interconnected cyberphysical systems,” he said.

The centre has already organized a VITELab demonstration session earlier this year, showcasing its capabilities in connecting remote automated equipment, operators, testers, software developers and researchers in robotics to ensure safety, protection and control.

Researchers were successful in establishing a remote connection between the RMIT Advanced Manufacturing Precinct and the ABB Bangalore Research Centre, configuring the robot’s operations locally, including start, stop and other changes.

“Researchers located at the RMIT laboratory in Melbourne were able to simulate a manufacturing operation managed by the ABB robot service intelligence unit by remote,” Professor Schmidt said.

“The session provided the team with the opportunity to resolve issues resulting from local configuration of the video feed between the remote operations centre and the robots. We are now at the next stage where we are installing the ABB robots at RMIT.”

According to him, once the robots have been installed and deemed operational, researchers will design the laboratory to remotely test and monitor the operations from the remote operations centre at RMIT in stages with robots in nearby buildings or thousands of kilometres away at an ABB site.

RMIT’s involvement in the project has seen the university become the first Australian partner university in the global research network of the ABB Group of Companies, as well as the first Certified KNX training centre in Australia, in collaboration with ABB.

Advisory Board member representing ABB Australia Simon de Bell evaluated the centre’s first year of operations as “a great success”, while fellow Advisory Board member, Professor Jan Bosch from Chalmers University said he was impressed by the infrastructure being built.

“It is an incredible achievement to get all partners on board between RMIT and multiple ABB sites for such a challenging endeavour,” he said.

The centre’s official launch took place on Friday in conjunction with a workshop with speakers from universities in Australia and representatives from ABB Australia and India.