Rockwell Automation has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) module that fits inside an industrial controller, “learns” the application that the controller is managing, and builds a model of it. It then monitors the operation continuously, looking for anomalies. If it spots a problem, it can trigger an alarm on an HMI screen or dashboard. Future versions will go beyond diagnostics to guide users on how to remedy the problem, or adjust system parameters automatically to fix the problem without human intervention.
The development – known as Project Sherlock and unveiled at Rockwell’s annual Automation Fair, in Houston – has been running in pilot installations for the past 18 months, and is due be available in mid-2018.