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TTTech, the leading supplier of dependable networking solutions based on time-triggered technology and modular safety platforms, is part of an international research project named HOL-I-WOOD PR that is developing an innovative robot for the woodworking industry. Processing thousands of sensor data and controlling the moveable parts of the robot involves managing large data amounts. TTTech is developing network components for this, based on the deterministic Ethernet solution TTEthernet.
Plywood, which is often used for concrete casting, is an important product of the woodworking industry. "The boards have to be free of knotholes and other defects, through which fresh concrete could leak out", says Federico Giudiceandrea, General Manager of MiCROTEC, one of the leading companies participating in the project. "An essential step in the manufacturing of these boards, which are produced in large quantities, is therefore the identification and removal of defects in the natural wood material. This task has been carried out manually up to now, in laborious piecework. With the HOL-I-WOOD PR robot system, defects in the wood are identified through the coordinated use of various highly developed camera sensor systems and repaired with a drill and plugging device by a robot arm with optimised control in real time."
TTTech is contributing to the coordination of the various hardware and software components of this system with the development of a robust and extremely reliable real-time communication solution based on the deterministic Ethernet solution called TTEthernet. Through the use of partitioning functions, time-critical control functions, as well as non-critical tasks such as data bank retrievals and operating functions, a single network can be used.
"Through the technology provided by TTTech, the synchronisation and accurately timed and synchronized data elements are transferred and made readily accessable from a host of individual sensors, software modules and hardware control units at a fault-tolerant level with precision and speed not available until now," explains Georg Stöger, Director of Services & Operations Industrial at TTTech. "This way, exact localisation of defects in the wood, precise positioning of the repair machinery and uninterrupted operation are supported in the most efficient way."
The project is being supported through the EU Seventh Framework Programme, under the topic "Cooperative machines and open-architecture control systems" and is planned to span a period of three years. Companies from Austria, Italy and Slovenia are working together with the institutes of the technical universities of Vienna, Munich and Luleå (Sweden).