Researchers make production facilities more secure

Human-robot workplaces must be safe for employees as well as safe from cyber attacks from outside – researchers help companies achieve this.

One of Roboshield's topics is the safe operation of workplaces with human-robot collaboration. Source: Fraunhofer IPA. -

Modern production plants, in which humans, machines and robots increasingly work closely together in a network, must meet high security requirements. The systems must be safe for employees and protected against cyber attacks from outside. In the “Roboshield” project, scientists from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology and Automation IPA and the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, Systems Engineering and Image Analysis IOSB are working on security concepts, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises.

“The demands placed on modern production facilities are constantly increasing as a result of digitalisation and networking,” says Dr. Christoph Ledermann of KIT. “With Roboshield, we want to make it easier for smaller companies in particular to switch to Industry 4.0. The first priority is to ensure that the components of the system, such as robots, do not injure anyone”.

Security as the basis for industry 4.0

IT security is also becoming increasingly important: “This topic is more urgent than ever because of the cyber attacks currently being observed on production systems,” says Dr. Christian Haas of Fraunhofer IOSB. And last but not least, data security for employees must be guaranteed in the increasingly networked work environments equipped with sensors. “By bringing all these aspects of security together, Roboshield can become the door opener for industry 4.0 for companies,” says Haas.

To enable companies to convert their facilities quickly, cheaply and safely, researchers are working on tools and processes to simplify the development and operation of safe systems and facilities. In addition, a consulting centre will be set up where companies can obtain tips on how to use a robot in their production plant, for example, what advantages this brings and which regulations and rules must be observed.

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