Bannière - L'importance des softwares Meanwhile dans ses solutions

The importance of Meanwhile softwares in its solutions

When we talk about mobile robotics, it is most of the time the vehicle itself that is mentioned. In reality, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, for mobile robots to be autonomous and productive in their application, it is necessary to assemble an entire ecosystem that will make it possible to fulfill all the missions that will be assigned to these mobile robots.

Whether in industries or healthcare establishments, it is important to make vehicles interoperable and autonomous in their movements.

At Meanwhile, autonomy is characterized by the ability of robots to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year with the minimum necessary actions for their maintenance.

It is within this framework that Meanwhile has developed a suite of peri-robotics: from electronic systems to software systems. These will allow the robot/fleet of robots to interface with their environment, but also to evolve in it in an intelligent way.

Thus, it is the entire Meanwhile peri-robotics ecosystem that will make it possible to make the mobile robotics application a functional, complete and autonomous system.

Mw²: the heart of Meanwhile solutions

The role of Mw² – Meanwhile Middleware – is to make mobile robots communicate with their entire environment. Developed by Meanwhile, it is the heart of the whole ecosystem.
One of its main functions is to retrieve all the data of an application in real time and to create the missions accordingly, to process the faults and alarms raised, to log the information, etc.

It also gives access to a large number of parameters necessary for the project, for example to modify the prioritization strategies of the missions.

A tool integrated into your system

Thanks to the intrinsic modularity of Mw², we are able to develop new bricks allowing the middleware to communicate with your various production management tools. If the communication protocol used in your Information System has not yet been implemented in Mw², we create a new gateway capable of exchanging with your IS using this protocol.

Establishing communication between Mw² and your WCS, for example, therefore allows the Meanwhile solution to be fully integrated into your infrastructure. On the one hand because the missions of the robots can be generated at the request of the WCS, and on the other hand because Mw² will be able to trace all the information allowing your tools to trace the flows, and to evaluate the performance of the robots. The transports carried out by the robots and any alarms generated will therefore be treated in the same way as for any other equipment in your establishment.

Communication with the environment: example of application

If during its journey the robot encounters automatic doors, it is actually Mw² which controls them in order to open them. If the robot has to navigate between different floors to reach its destination, it is Mw² that manages and pilots the elevators in order to guarantee an efficient and optimal journey.

Light beacons to reflect the state of the robot / signal its arrival, DECT telephone calls also to signal the arrival of robots / to indicate a blockage or even the limitation of certain areas in the event of the alarm being triggered fire are elements controlled by Mw².

It is also possible to redirect robots “on the fly”. For example, in the case where a mobile robot is heading to drop off a box on a workstation and the employee changes his mind about the destination along the way, it would be possible to modify the trajectory of the robot in real time towards another destination.

Mw² thus allows the entire Meanwhile ecosystem to communicate with the customer’s environment globally.

The supervision

In addition to ensuring efficient navigation of mobile robots, Meanwhile Middleware allows live and real-time supervision of the entire solution. This notably involves:

  • Phone calls that signal the arrival of robots or indicate possible problems;
  • The luminous glasses inform about the state of the robots;
  • Feedback of information to production management tools (if the client has its own performance indication and management tools);
  • The Supervision Meanwhile application – HMI (Human-Machine Interface which allows you to see live the status of the robots, their location, the missions in progress, etc.).

The entire solution is reflected on the Human-Machine Interfaces.

Tablette supervision Meanwhile

The Meanwhile supervision tablet

The reporting

Beyond this live supervision, Mw² presents a complete reporting. On the one hand by the feedback of information to the information systems, but also via the web interface which makes it possible to visualize all the data and to export them if necessary. For example, it is possible to view information on this web interface such as:

– Detailed statistical data on the robot/robot fleet:

    • The amount of battery consumed
    • The covered distance
    • Missions carried out / in progress
    • User connections
    • Etc

– History (presented in an ergonomic format);

– The support contact Meanwhile.

A modular tool

Mw² is a modular tool composed of different bricks, where each is responsible for a feature. Thus, if a new need arises, it becomes possible to add a new brick to the common base of Mw².

All the Meanwhile Middleware elements are also configurable: adding a new elevator, adding a new pick-up/drop-off station, adding new users, changing the color of the lighted glasses, etc.

Meanwhile une solution clés en main