Recent Advanced Applications of Virtual Industrial Informatics and Robotics

A special issue of Electronics (ISSN 2079-9292). This special issue belongs to the section "Industrial Electronics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2023) | Viewed by 32020

Special Issue Editors


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Department of Virtual Industrial Informatics and Robotics, Transilvania University of Brașov, 500036 Brașov, Romania
Interests: robotics; virtual reality; artificial intelligence; mechanics
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Faculty of Science and Technology, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
Interests: industrial engineering; industrial symbiosis; energy management; sustainability; circular economy; additive manufacturing; lean manufacturing; quality management systems; sustainable energy systems
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Guest Editor
Department of Industrial Informatics, Faculty of Materials Science, Silesian University of Technology, Krasinskiego 8, 40-019 Katowice, Poland
Interests: industrial informatics; induction heating; electromagnetic field; numerical simulation; optimization; electromagnetic fields; alloys; electromagnetics; computational electromagnetics; electromagnetic engineering; refining
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Department of Mechanical Engineering and Aeronautics, University of Patras, Rio Patras 26504, Greece
Interests: robotic systems; automation; augmented, mixed, and virtual reality in manufacturing; manufacturing process modeling; cloud technologies; Internet of Things (IoT); digital twin; 5G; artificial intelligence; product–service systems (PSS); Industry 4.0; Industry 5.0
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We respectfully invite you to contribute original papers and/or review papers to the journal Electronics for the Special Issue entitled “Recent Advanced Applications of Virtual Industrial Informatics and Robotics”.

In recent years, efforts have been made to develop and transform the way industrial production works, by integrating digital technologies, leading to the new industrial revolution called Industry 4.0. In the new industrial age, technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual/Augmented Reality (VR/AR), Internet of Things (IoT), automation, robotics, and much more have a significant role.

Industrial informatics, as a border field between informatics and manufacturing technologies, offers the possibility of developing complex systems for planning and controlling manufacturing systems. In addition, human-machine interaction and virtual technologies open up possibilities for improving industrial processes through collaboration between the human operator and automated systems or robots. Immersive technologies (e.g., VR) allow users to transcend into virtual environments, AR technologies facilitate the self-learning and training of human operators, while mobile robots are becoming more and more collaborative and able to work in teams with humans.

This Special Issue focuses on manufacturing technologies that include the use of modern methods, tools, and technologies aimed at using informatics, VR technologies, and robotic solutions to develop innovative applications that can bring more benefits to current industrial processes.

Dr. Răzvan Gabriel Boboc
Dr. Radu Godina
Dr. Albert Smalcerz
Prof. Dr. Dimitris Mourtzis
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Electronics is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • virtual, augmented and mixed reality applications
  • human–robot interfaces
  • artificial intelligence
  • advanced autonomous systems
  • virtual prototyping
  • electromechanical systems
  • mobile robots
  • robot sensing systems
  • 3D printing
  • Internet of Things

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 7745 KiB  
Article
Industrial Informatics: Emerging Trends and Applications in the Era of Big Data and AI
by Mirjana Pejić Bach, Arian Ivec and Danijela Hrman
Electronics 2023, 12(10), 2238; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12102238 - 15 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1485
Abstract
Industrial informatics is a rapidly developing scientific field that deals with the knowledge-based automation of industrial design and manufacturing processes. In the last decade, industrial informatics has been strongly influenced by the rapid rise of data-based technologies such as Data Science, Big Data, [...] Read more.
Industrial informatics is a rapidly developing scientific field that deals with the knowledge-based automation of industrial design and manufacturing processes. In the last decade, industrial informatics has been strongly influenced by the rapid rise of data-based technologies such as Data Science, Big Data, and artificial intelligence. The goal of this paper is to provide a literature review of academic research analyzing the extensive spectrum of industrial informatics. Articles indexed in Scopus with the term “Industrial Informatics” in the title, abstract, or keywords were extracted since the term emerged in the 1990s, over a period of 29 years. The main journals, conferences, authors and countries were studied using bibliometric analysis. Text mining using VosViewer was used to extract the thematic groups of research related to industrial informatics, which are as follows: (i) Internet of Things, (ii) machine learning, (iii) engineering education, (iv) cyber–physical systems, and (v) embedded systems. We also found that China, Germany, and Brazil dominate research in industrial computing. The results showed that research in industrial informatics is related to the emergence of new methods and tools, and is nowadays shifting towards the application of intelligent methods such as machine learning and Big Data. Full article
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15 pages, 15009 KiB  
Article
UAVs for Business Adoptions in Smart City Environments: Inventory Management System
by Franklin Salazar, María Sofía Martínez-García, Angel de Castro, Carla Chávez-Fuentes, María Cazorla, Jeanette del Pilar Ureña-Aguirre and Santiago Altamirano
Electronics 2023, 12(9), 2090; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12092090 - 04 May 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1670
Abstract
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-assisted inventory management, used for inventory control within an enterprise with large warehousing and manufacturing systems, is currently common practice. There are many applications for UAVs within an enterprise, but they are generally used in tasks that have high risk [...] Read more.
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-assisted inventory management, used for inventory control within an enterprise with large warehousing and manufacturing systems, is currently common practice. There are many applications for UAVs within an enterprise, but they are generally used in tasks that have high risk connotations to perform activities quickly, such as in the cases of large enterprises that generally require inventory of many products quickly and efficiently connected in a smart city environment. Having an up-to-date inventory as quickly as possible in a smart city environment allows users to have the necessary information to verify the availability of products, reducing waiting times. The use of UAVs systems compared to conventional systems, such as unmanned ground vehicles, has several advantages, including the fact that UAVs have their own cameras and can move independently within the warehouse. This paper proposes the development of a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system (SCADA) for the inventory management of the company DHL, using drones. This study evaluates the OPC communication protocols for the virtual environment and the 232 serial connection protocol for the real environment, using LabView and Factory I/O programs. For the development of the system, the use of a drone was evaluated for the recognition of the availability of merchandise with the use of infrared technology incorporated in the drone by means of an Arduino. The appropriate use of communication protocols allowed the necessary information to be obtained for the communication of the LabView and Factory I/O environment in which a virtual environment based on the DHL inventory system is available. The system allowed the development of a SCADA system for the management of inventory monitoring in real time of the availability of goods in the virtual environment, allowing to obtain the necessary information for its integration in a smart city environment. Full article
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13 pages, 2853 KiB  
Article
A Systematic Approach to Stable Grasping of a Two-Finger Robotic Hand Activated by Jamming of Granular Media
by Osamah Fakhri, George Youssef, Somer Nacy, Adnan Naji Jameel Al-Tamimi, O. Hussein, Wisam T. Abbood, Oday Ibraheem Abdullah and Nazar Kais AL-Karkhi
Electronics 2023, 12(8), 1902; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12081902 - 18 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1235
Abstract
A systematic approach is presented to achieve the stable grasping of objects through a two-finger robotic hand, in which each finger cavity was filled with granular media. The compaction of the latter, controlled by vacuum pressure, was used to adjust the structural and [...] Read more.
A systematic approach is presented to achieve the stable grasping of objects through a two-finger robotic hand, in which each finger cavity was filled with granular media. The compaction of the latter, controlled by vacuum pressure, was used to adjust the structural and contact stiffness of the finger. The grasping stability was studied under the concurrent effect of an external torque and applied vacuum pressure. Stable grasping was defined as the no slippage condition between the grasped object and the two fingers. Three control schemes were adopted and applied experimentally to ensure the effectiveness of the grasping process. The results showed that stable and unstable grasping regions exist for each combination of applied torque and vacuum pressure. The two-finger robotic hands can be further improved for applications that require high load-carrying capabilities. Full article
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19 pages, 1236 KiB  
Article
Improve Model Testing by Integrating Bounded Model Checking and Coverage Guided Fuzzing
by Yixiao Yang
Electronics 2023, 12(7), 1573; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12071573 - 27 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 898
Abstract
Eectromechanical systems built by Simulink or Ptolemy have been widely used in industry fields, such as autonomous systems and robotics. It is an urgent need to ensure the safety and security of those systems. Test case generation technologies are widely used to ensure [...] Read more.
Eectromechanical systems built by Simulink or Ptolemy have been widely used in industry fields, such as autonomous systems and robotics. It is an urgent need to ensure the safety and security of those systems. Test case generation technologies are widely used to ensure the safety and security. State-of-the-art testing tools employ model-checking techniques or search-based methods to generate test cases. Traditional search-based techniques based on Simulink simulation are plagued by problems such as low speed and high overhead. Traditional model-checking techniques such as symbolic execution have limited performance when dealing with nonlinear elements and complex loops. Recently, coverage guided fuzzing technologies are known to be effective for test case generation, due to their high efficiency and impressive effects over complex branches of loops. In this paper, we apply fuzzing methods to improve model testing and demonstrate the effectiveness. The fuzzing methods aim to cover more program branches by mutating valuable seeds. Inspired by this feature, we propose a novel integration technology SPsCGF, which leverages bounded model checking for symbolic execution to generate test cases as initial seeds and then conduct fuzzing based upon these worthy seeds. Over the evaluated benchmarks which consist of industrial cases, SPsCGF could achieve 8% to 38% higher model coverage and 3x-10x time efficiency compared with the state-of-the-art works. Full article
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17 pages, 5507 KiB  
Article
Kinematically Constrained Jerk–Continuous S-Curve Trajectory Planning in Joint Space for Industrial Robots
by Guanglei Wu and Ning Zhang
Electronics 2023, 12(5), 1135; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12051135 - 26 Feb 2023
Viewed by 2478
Abstract
This work deals with jerk–continuous trajectory planning for robotic manipulators by means of the fourth-order S-curve to ensure motion smoothness. The algorithm presented in this work can cause the acceleration and jerk to stay in a saturated state in order to improve the [...] Read more.
This work deals with jerk–continuous trajectory planning for robotic manipulators by means of the fourth-order S-curve to ensure motion smoothness. The algorithm presented in this work can cause the acceleration and jerk to stay in a saturated state in order to improve the efficiency of a robot’s programming and operation. Moreover, a multi-axis synchronization planning algorithm is proposed and integrated for enhanced motion stability in terms of generated synchronized and continuous motion trajectories, for which the effectiveness of the proposed trajectory planning algorithm is verified in both the joint and Cartesian spaces. The proposed algorithm does not involve any optimization procedures or iterative processes, as the kinematically constrained trajectory is generated by polynomial equations to realize the real-time motion control of robots. Moreover, the presented algorithm can generate the jerk continuity trajectory, rather than only the acceleration continuity, as in most reported works. Full article
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26 pages, 15616 KiB  
Article
Fiber Tensioning Systems in a Robotized Winding Procedure for Composite Materials Building Processes
by Mădălin Petru Sbanca, Răzvan Gabriel Boboc and Gheorghe Leonte Mogan
Electronics 2023, 12(2), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12020254 - 04 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1720
Abstract
The winding process of carbon fiber is not a new concept, but until now only a few studies have been made in carbon fiber tensioning and winding on complex shapes. The main purpose of the article is to analyze the possibility to conduct [...] Read more.
The winding process of carbon fiber is not a new concept, but until now only a few studies have been made in carbon fiber tensioning and winding on complex shapes. The main purpose of the article is to analyze the possibility to conduct the carbon fiber winding using two industrial robots connected as master slave, one to realize the winding and the other to hold and rotate the mandrel, using an own design of an automatic fiber tensioning tool. To have control of the system a force transducer was implemented. The measured force was used to make trajectory adjustments for the robots, having a predefined trajectory. The results obtained from the experimental tests showed that the winding process with two robots and a tensioning system can realize fiber windings with variable tension in molds with complex configurations (3D) of the winding paths. In this way, compact structures of the constantly tensioned fiber bundle can be obtained, according to product requirements. Full article
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13 pages, 5965 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Hybrid Spectrum Sensing for 5G and 6G Waveforms
by Arun Kumar, J Venkatesh, Nishant Gaur, Mohammed H. Alsharif, Abu Jahid and Kannadasan Raju
Electronics 2023, 12(1), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12010138 - 28 Dec 2022
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1708
Abstract
More spectrum bands are needed as the number of wireless applications rises. The spectrum band, though, is now very difficult to adapt to new applications. Because of this, the spectrum is getting more crowded, which also affects quality of service (QoS). One of [...] Read more.
More spectrum bands are needed as the number of wireless applications rises. The spectrum band, though, is now very difficult to adapt to new applications. Because of this, the spectrum is getting more crowded, which also affects quality of service (QoS). One of the most promising technologies to address the issue of spectrum scarcity is cognitive radio (CR). Spectrum sensing (SS) is thought to be essential to CR. It determines that when primary users (PUs) are not using the spectrum, the spectrum can be allocated to secondary users (SUs). In this paper, a novel 5G spectrum sensing technique was implemented using a hybrid matched filter (HMF) algorithm based on the fusion of two matched filters (MF). In addition, we compared the performance of the HMF and traditional MF in Rayleigh and Rician channels. It has been observed that the HMF performs more effectively than the conventional MF in both channels. Full article
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14 pages, 6264 KiB  
Article
Defending Adversarial Attacks against DNN Image Classification Models by a Noise-Fusion Method
by Lin Shi, Teyi Liao and Jianfeng He
Electronics 2022, 11(12), 1814; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11121814 - 08 Jun 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2672
Abstract
Adversarial attacks deceive deep neural network models by adding imperceptibly small but well-designed attack data to the model input. Those attacks cause serious problems. Various defense methods have been provided to defend against those attacks by: (1) providing adversarial training according to specific [...] Read more.
Adversarial attacks deceive deep neural network models by adding imperceptibly small but well-designed attack data to the model input. Those attacks cause serious problems. Various defense methods have been provided to defend against those attacks by: (1) providing adversarial training according to specific attacks; (2) denoising the input data; (3) preprocessing the input data; and (4) adding noise to various layers of models. Here we provide a simple but effective Noise-Fusion Method (NFM) to defend adversarial attacks against DNN image classification models. Without knowing any details about attacks or models, NFM not only adds noise to the model input at run time, but also to the training data at training time. Two l-attacks, the Fast Gradient Signed Method (FGSM) and the Projected Gradient Descent (PGD), and one l1-attack, the Sparse L1 Descent (SLD), are applied to evaluate defense effects of the NFM on various deep neural network models which used MNIST and CIFAR-10 datasets. Various amplitude noises with different statistical distribution are applied to show the defense effects of the NFM in different noise. The NFM also compares with an adversarial training method on MNIST and CIFAR-10 datasets. Results show that adding noise to the input images and the training images not only defends against all three adversarial attacks but also improves robustness of corresponding models. The results indicate possibly generalized defense effects of the NFM which can extend to other adversarial attacks. It also shows potential application of the NFM to models not only with image input but also with voice or audio input. Full article
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26 pages, 4327 KiB  
Article
A VR-Enabled Chatbot Supporting Design and Manufacturing of Large and Complex Power Transformers
by Amy J. C. Trappey, Charles V. Trappey, Min-Hua Chao, Nan-Jun Hong and Chun-Ting Wu
Electronics 2022, 11(1), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics11010087 - 28 Dec 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3714
Abstract
Virtual reality (VR) immersive technology allows users to experience enhanced reality using human–computer interfaces (HCI). Many systems have implemented VR with improved HCI to provide strategic market advantages for industry and engineering applications. An intelligent chatbot is a conversational system capable of natural [...] Read more.
Virtual reality (VR) immersive technology allows users to experience enhanced reality using human–computer interfaces (HCI). Many systems have implemented VR with improved HCI to provide strategic market advantages for industry and engineering applications. An intelligent chatbot is a conversational system capable of natural language communication allowing users to ask questions and receive answers online to enhance customer services. This research develops and implements a system framework for a VR-enabled large industrial power transformer mass-customization chatbot. The research collected 1272 frequently asked questions (FAQs) from a power transformer manufacturers’ knowledge base that is used for question matching and answer retrieval. More than 1.2 million Wikipedia engineering pages were used to train a word-embedding model for natural language understanding of question intent. The complex engineering questions and answers are integrated with an immersive VR computer human interface. The system enables users to ask questions and receive explicit and detailed answers combined with 3D immersive images of industrial sized power transformer assemblies. The user interfaces can be projected into the VR headwear or computer screen and manipulated with a controller. The unique immersive VR consultation chatbot system is to support real-time design consultation for the design and manufacturing of complex power transformers. Full article
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Review

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24 pages, 1235 KiB  
Review
Mapping the Emergent Trends in Industrial Augmented Reality
by Gheorghe-Daniel Voinea, Florin Gîrbacia, Mihai Duguleană, Răzvan Gabriel Boboc and Carmen Gheorghe
Electronics 2023, 12(7), 1719; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics12071719 - 04 Apr 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3684
Abstract
Augmented reality (AR) is a rapidly developing technology with the potential to revolutionize various sectors of industry by integrating digital information with the real world. This paper presents an overview of the emergent trends in industrial augmented reality (IAR) over the past five [...] Read more.
Augmented reality (AR) is a rapidly developing technology with the potential to revolutionize various sectors of industry by integrating digital information with the real world. This paper presents an overview of the emergent trends in industrial augmented reality (IAR) over the past five years. The study utilizes a comprehensive literature review analysis of industrial studies (searched on two scientific databases: Scopus and Clarivate Web of Science) to map the evolution of IAR trends from 2018 to 2022. The results revealed ten trending topics of AR application: Industry 4.0, artificial intelligence, smart manufacturing, industrial robots, digital twin, assembly, Internet of Things, visualization, maintenance, and training. Each topic is discussed in detail, providing insight into existing applications and research trends for each application field. Full article
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30 pages, 9364 KiB  
Review
Smart Manufacturing and Tactile Internet Based on 5G in Industry 4.0: Challenges, Applications and New Trends
by Dimitris Mourtzis, John Angelopoulos and Nikos Panopoulos
Electronics 2021, 10(24), 3175; https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics10243175 - 20 Dec 2021
Cited by 56 | Viewed by 7985
Abstract
For many applications deployed in manufacturing networks, communication latency has been a significant barrier. Despite the constant development of improved communication protocols and standards during Industry 4.0, the latency problem persists, lowering quality of services (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE). Tactile internet [...] Read more.
For many applications deployed in manufacturing networks, communication latency has been a significant barrier. Despite the constant development of improved communication protocols and standards during Industry 4.0, the latency problem persists, lowering quality of services (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE). Tactile internet (TI), with its high availability, security, and ultra-low latency, will add a new dimension to human-machine interaction (HMI) by enabling haptic and tactile sensations. The tactile internet (TI) is a cutting-edge technology that uses 5G and beyond (B5G) communications to enable real-time interaction of haptic data over the internet between tactile ends. This emerging TI technology is regarded as the next evolutionary step for the Internet of Things (IoT) and is expected to bring about massive changes towards Society 5.0 and to address complex issues in current society. To that end, the 5G mobile communication systems will support the TI at the wireless edge. As a result, TI can be used as a backbone for delay mitigation in conjunction with 5G networks, allowing for ultra-reliable low latency applications like Smart Manufacturing, virtual reality, and augmented reality. Consequently, the purpose of this paper is to present the current state of 5G and TI, as well as the challenges and future trends for 5G networks beyond 2021, as well as a conceptual framework for integrating 5G and TI into existing industrial case studies, with a focus on the design aspects and layers of TI, such as the master, network, and slave layers. Finally, the key publications focused on the key enabling technologies of TI are summarized and the beyond 5G era towards Society 5.0 based on cyber-physical systems is discussed. Full article
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