The majority of today’s mobile robots are very dependent on battery power. Mobile robots can operate untethered for a number of hours but eventually they will need to recharge their batteries in-order to continue to function. While computer processing and sensors have become cheaper and more powerful each year, battery development has progress very little. They are slow to re-charge, inefficient and lagging behind in the general progression of robotic development we see today. However, batteries are relatively cheap and when fully charged, can supply high power output necessary for operating heavy mobile robots. As there are no cheap alternatives to batteries, we need to find efficient ways to manage the power that batteries provide during their operational lifetime. This paper proposes the use of autonomic principles of self-adaption to address the behavioral changes a battery experiences as it gets older. In life, as we get older, we cannot perform tasks in the same way as we did in our youth; these tasks generally take longer to perform and require more of our energy to complete. Batteries also suffer from a form of degradation. As a battery gets older, it loses the ability to retain the same charge capacity it would have when brand new. This paper investigates how we can adapt the current state of a battery charge and cycle count, to the requirements of a mobile robot to perform its tasks.
The increasing digitalization of value chains can help companies to handle rising complexity in their processes and thereby reduce the steadily increasing planning and control effort in order to raise performance limits. Due to technological advances, companies face the challenge of smart value chains for the purpose of improvements in productivity, handling the increasing time and cost pressure and the need of individualized production. Therefore, companies need to ensure quick and flexible decisions to create self-optimizing processes and, consequently, to make their production more efficient. Lean production, as the most commonly used paradigm for complexity reduction, reaches its limits when it comes to variant flexible production and constantly changing market and environmental conditions. To lift performance limits, which are inbuilt in current value chains, new methods and tools must be applied. Digitalization provides the potential to derive these new methods and tools. However, companies lack the experience to harmonize different digital technologies. There is no practicable framework, which instructs the transformation of current value chains into digital pervasive value chains. Current research shows that a connection between lean production and digitalization exists. This link is based on factors such as people, technology and organization. In this paper, the introduced method for the determination of digitally pervasive value chains takes the factors people, technology and organization into account and extends existing approaches by a new dimension. It is the first systematic approach for the digital transformation of lean production and consists of four steps: The first step of ‘target definition’ describes the target situation and defines the depth of the analysis with regards to the inspection area and the level of detail. The second step of ‘analysis of the value chain’ verifies the lean-ability of processes and lies in a special focus on the integration capacity of digital technologies in order to raise the limits of lean production. Furthermore, the ‘digital evaluation process’ ensures the usefulness of digital adaptions regarding their practicability and their integrability into the existing production system. Finally, the method defines actions to be performed based on the evaluation process and in accordance with the target situation. As a result, the validation and optimization of the proposed method in a German company from the electronics industry shows that the digital transformation of current value chains based on lean production achieves a raise of their inbuilt performance limits.