Gentle Introduction to ICS in General

Updated: Mar 21


The intelligent control system (ICS) is the application of software and hardware guided by a general information process to control intricate physical processes of a system, where conventional methods of controlling it are proven difficult. ICS operates autonomously or in man-machine mode to integrate the control goal and to derive sensible ways to execute the goal.


ICS involves imitation of various aspects of biological intelligence such as adaptation, learning, planning under unpredictability, and decision-making. It provides a level of intelligence and autonomy to control a machine, thereby helping improve the performance of the machine and its ability to adapt in real-time to changing inputs. ICS enables intelligent systems, for example, robots, to interact with their environment through data, learn independently, and interconnect to form collaborative networks. Several intelligent systems can work together by distributed intelligence to perform a task over large-scale wireless networks for better efficiency.


ICS involves the use of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques such as neural network control (learning process of biologic neural networks to make the network learn different patterns), Bayesian control (machine learning and pattern recognition), fuzzy logic control (based on the experience of a human operator), and evolutionary computation (evolutionary processes such as natural evolution).


These AI-enabled technologies are instrumental in driving Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which has brought about increased machine autonomy, enabling machines to become more intelligent, connected, and agile. The applications of intelligent systems range from medical care to education and visual inspection to character recognition.


The application of ICS in the field of CNC machining/precision machining is growing in the 21st century. The use of adaptive and self-optimizing technology, such as ICS, allows CNC/precision machines to adapt in real-time to changing instructions and conditions through their ability to self-learn and improvise. Unlike conventional machines, these autonomous control system-driven machines can simultaneously self-optimize multiple objectives instead of carrying out one task continuously without any variations. ICS can use information from process sensors and neural networks to autonomously adjust process functions of CNC machines, including cutting speed and depth. These intelligent machines allow faster self-calibration, vibration and thermal compensation, voice indication, remote maintenance activities, etc. These non-conventional intelligent CNC machines deliver high processing accuracy and efficiency and self-diagnose and rectify faults. ICS-enabled machines behave and act like humans in real-life manufacturing sites and can easily communicate with machinists through self-learning and evolutionary procedures to remind the need for maintenance and remote diagnosis. They can also conduct a quality assessment of the machining processes and evaluate the precision of the machined products. These intelligent machines also promote the integration of multiple CNC machines that currently function and operate independently, thus enhancing the efficiencies of CNC machine shops.


According to Microsoft’s 2020 whitepaper, “Bringing Autonomy to Industrial Control System,” an average of 50 percent of companies that use AI may see a twofold rise in their cash flow, and companies that implement intelligent systems will achieve a 17-20 percent productivity rise over the next 5-7 years. These development trends may lead to intelligent control systems and related technologies becoming the mainstay of manufacturing applications.


At Lambda Function, we are developing innovative ICS solutions that integrate CNC machines and machining processes, thereby enabling your CNC machines to become more autonomous, requiring little or no human intervention. Our portfolio of solutions assists you to achieve higher machine uptime, enhanced yield, increased throughput, optimized annual expenditure on tool maintenance, and improved staff productivity.


Learn more about our ICS platform by checking our product demo.


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