mgineer Blog

The Dawn of the Self-Aware Machine

December 10, 2020

Jeff DeAngelis  By: Jeff DeAngelis
 Vice President, Industrial Communications; Maxim Integrated 


As Factories and Buildings strive to become smarter, they will benefit by achieving a boost in productivity, a reduction in operational expenses, achieving a smaller carbon footprint, and provide better real-time decision making. To achieve these benefits, it will require a new way of thinking by semiconductor companies to enable intelligent sensors & actuators, provide software configurable analog & digital IOs, and improved on chip diagnostics. Maxim Integrated's new portfolio of IO solutions, IO-Link® reference designs, Go-IO demonstration platforms, and intelligent actuators are bringing these benefits to the automation industry by empowering intelligence at the edge. This new intelligence, coupled with embedded AI capabilities like the recent announcement of the MAX78000 low-power neural network accelerated microcontroller, will form the foundation that will drive the next chapter in the Industrial Evolution 5.0+; "The Dawn of the Self-Aware Machine".

What does "The Dawn of the Self-aware Machine" really mean? I am sure many are thinking of the human-like robots seen in the movies as a way to further replace people on the factory floor. However, being a fan of football, let's look at this concept from a footballer's perspective or perhaps one of the great football clubs in Europe like Real Madrid, Bayern, Manchester United, or my personal favorites Juventus and AC Milan.

As a football player in my college days and as a coach in my later years, I have been a strong proponent of building teams that focus on achieving a common goal. This applies to whether the goal is to move the football up and down the pitch to score or run a production line where a cluster of machines are brought together to achieve the goal of delivering a finished product to consumers. In the end, each person plays an important role to ensure a successful result.

On the pitch you have 11 players that each have a specific role identified by the number on the field they are assigned. At the start of the match all players know their role, however as the game progresses players dynamically switch field positions as they move the football. This causes players to adapt temporarily to take on the demands of a new position until they have an opportunity to move back to their dominant position assigned to them at the start of the match. This player's ability to change their characteristics as they dynamically move seamlessly in and out of a position across the football field is the same exact capability needed by the next generation of smart factories. This capability of a machine to seamlessly adjust its function in a manufacturing cell is at the heart of the evolution required to enable "The Dawn of the Self-Aware Machine."

Think of machines working together in a manufacturing cell. Each machine has been assigned a specific task in the assembly line needed to produce a product. If a machine in this cell experiences a problem performing its specific task, then the production line would shut down until it can be serviced. Now let's imagine this same scenario using machines that are self-aware enabled. In this scenario, the other machines in the manufacturing cell would realize one machine is not performing its task and then automatically off-load the specific function of the problematic machine temporarily to the other machines in the cell to keep the production line running until a technician is available to fix the problematic machine.
So, if there is interest to learn more about these exciting new technologies to enable the "The Dawn of the Self-Aware Machine," please contact Maxim here for a discussion. Come join us on this exciting new journey as we create a clear pathway towards the next step in the evolution of smart machines.

The Dawn of the Self-Aware Machine