Citec has successfully started implementing Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in customer projects. The robot is particularly efficient in document control, but it also has great potential in all other areas of engineering projects with large information flows.
Robotic Process Automation has already been used for many years in finance and accounting. In engineering, however, the concept is not yet that known. Citec has recently focused on developing the robotic solution for automating document and information flows in its’ projects.
A smooth information flow within the project and between the customer and Citec plays a key role in how efficiently the project can be carried through. If it hasn’t been possible to build integrations between different systems, the data has up until now been transferred manually and for example for these activities Citec has now successfully developed RPA solutions.
Robotic process automation is the use of software to handle high-volume, repeatable tasks that previously required a human to perform. The robot in this case is the software in a computer, not a walking science-fiction character with arms and legs.
For Citec, the RPA projects have involved programming the robot so that it communicates with emails, retrieves files and the right metadata from different source systems, converts files into different formats and uploads files and related metadata correctly into different Citec systems. The robot is of course on duty 24/7 and will react promptly when it receives a notification about new files or data to be retrieved.
“In the document control-stage, we save 80-90 per cent of the time compared to if the work was done manually”
“In the document control-stage, we save 80-90 per cent of the time compared to if the work was done manually”, says Jaakko Rintala, Chief Information Officer at Citec.
Efficiency and productivity are great advantages for the customer, however, of equal importance is the quality control. RPA minimises communication flaws and errors in the tasks it executes and overall is reducing the need for unnecessary troubleshooting. Very often in an engineering project different kinds of CAD-systems need to communicate with each other. RPA can be utilized in keeping the CAD-models up-to-date without manual work.
The border between RPA and artificial intelligence (AI) is fluid. Today the robot identifies new and unknown data as well as deviations in the information flow and is consequently programmed to tackle these kinds of situations.
“In all cases where the information flow is extensive and the handled data amount is large, there is potential for RPA”
In a longer perspective, Citec is now taking the first steps towards applying artificial intelligence and machine learning in engineering. The RPA and AI solutions are ready for next steps: Cognitive Robotics and Intelligent Robotics.
For Citec the first successful customer projects with RPA have now been carried out and the company has developed processes for creating added value for their customers, with the help of robotics.
“In all cases where the information flow is extensive and the handled data amount is large, there is potential for RPA”, says Citec’s Jaakko Rintala.
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