At Automate 2023 last month, one theme of conversation was that data and connections between systems have become as important as the robots themselves. Advantech Co. has focused on artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things or IoT, and big data to help businesses get the most out of smart and embedded platforms.
“We're very much in industrial computing and have worked with Microsoft on Windows IoT,” said Jason Waldman, business development manager at Advantech. “Our technology is the 'secret sauce' for customers that want support for up to seven years, not 18 months.”
Advantech, which has offices in Taipei, Taiwan, and Milpitas, Calif., has also worked with NVIDIA IGX Orin to accelerate development of industrial and healthcare applications. Last week, the companylaunched the IoTMart International digital commerce platform to serve small to midsize customers.
Valor offers customization and control
Advantech's new Valor series of industrial workstations can manage robots, automation, and other equipment. The company builds all of its own boards, and Valor is designed for ease of configuration, said Waldman.
“We control the revisions and different product numbers,” he told Robotics 24/7. “We can customize everything from the hardware inside to the logo on the outside.”
“This allows us to make sure each customer's software works with our workstation right out of the box,” Waldman added. “We fill a need that no one else does, and support plus consistency are key.”
With longer-term support, users don't need to frequently recertify the workstations, which can be expensive and time-consuming, particularly in the medical diagnostics field, he noted. For industrial automation, a minor hardware change can require exact specifications.
“We don't want manufacturers to experience unnecessary downtime,” Waldman said. Advantech is currently offering the Valor Mini Workstation, and it plans to release a Valor Tower later this year.
Advantech incorporates processors for AI
Advantech works with NVIDIA graphics processing units (GPUs) in AGX Orin for integration with edge AI, explained Waldman. “We have five products based on NVIDIA Jetson for things like visual inspection and sensor fusion,” he said.
“For instance, Advantech has partnered with Overview.ai, which has designed the plug-and-play OV20i AI vision system,” Waldman added. “We can show the ICAM-520 edge AI camera 20 parts, and it can identify what to inspect.”
In addition, Advantech works with the second-generation Intel Xeon scalable processors. “We've also worked with AWS and Windows IoT on security,” said Waldman.
Boards with built-in IoT software enable mobile robots
Advantech has developed single-board computers and ruggedized motherboards whose interface can support expansions and that come with its WISE-PaaSIoT software built in.
At Automate, Advantech demonstrated its systems with autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). The company said its MIO can improve AMRs' ability to maneuver safely and be managed in fleets.
Advantech had previously partnered with engineering company AIUT to enable its Formica AMRs to use natural navigation and automate internal logistics.
What industries can benefit from Advantech's workstations and computing?
“Anything where certifications are involved,” replied Waldman. “Automation, but a wide variety of spaces. Anything that needs to be consistently addressed, such as robots operating around people, inspections, and smart cities.”
Product introduction for MIO-4370.
About the Author
Eugene DemaitreEugene Demaitre is editorial director of Robotics 24/7. Prior to joining Peerless Media, he was a senior editor at Robotics Business Review and The Robot Report. Demaitre has also worked for BNA (now part of Bloomberg), Computerworld, and TechTarget. He has participated in numerous robotics-related webinars, podcasts, and events worldwide.
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Advantech and Overview.ai demonstrated the OV20i AI vision system at Automate 2023.
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