Cleanfix RA660Navi — an autonomous, cloud-enabled cleaning solution for industrial purposes

The Customer

From its headquarters in the midst of an unspoiled environment in Henau, in eastern Switzerland, Cleanfix develops and produces cleaning machines for professional use.
Thanks to its focus on providing the very best Swiss quality in cleaning solutions and their enhanced customer service and advice, Cleanfix has been able to expand its position in the market and is now present worldwide with its subsidiaries and agencies. They deliver constant innovations to the market and their machines keep buildings spotless in over 85 countries.

The Cleanfix RA660 Navi is a comprehensive, Industry-4.0-enabled cleaning solution for the industrial sector. With its state-of-the-art sensors and advanced indoor navigation algorithms, the RA660 Navi can navigate safely and autonomously. The cleaning-technology has been used successfully in industry for years due to its clever design, the RA660 Navi is applicable in various environments!

The Challenge

In order to further enhance the connectivity of the remote devices, enabling a remote monitoring of the internal functions and remote assistance, a new monitoring system was developed by Earlybyte to give the customer and its technicians quick feedback on the cleaning status of the RA660 Navi.

The RA660 Navi uses generic navigation solution ANT developed by BlueBotics. ANT is used in many different applications ranging from automation and logistics, hospitals, etc. to professional cleaning. Due to the large pallet of applications it covers, dedicated training is necessary for proper software usage.

Due to the distributed nature of the system, where robots are located all around the globe, the variability of the robots’ environments and local IT architectures had to be overcome. During the development project, the final user-friendliness and the technicians’ specific requirements were kept in mind, driving most of the UI and data formatting choices, export options etc. For example, the collected data should be exportable in a well-known format such as Excel for further processing by facility management.

In particular, one of the challenges of this project was to guarantee the reliable and secure transport of monitoring data from the robot to the cloud given the environmental variability.

The Solution

The solution consists of a VPN-enabled robot, securely connected to a scalable cloud infrastructure allowing it to send its data encrypted to the customer cloud platform. A cloud-based application processes the data from the robot, stores historical values and sends it to a smartphone app. Furthermore, an API allows to download a summary for quality assurance.

Transport Encryption

Technical gear enables the RA660 Navi robot to transmit its data securely thanks to a secured VPN connection to tunnel the traffic to the cloud. The VPN endpoint in the cloud terminates the secured connection and forwards the data to the web app within a secured environment.

Web API

The Web API decodes the data stream from the robot to JSON format and stores it in a high available database. To authenticate each robot individual access tokens are used. Cleaning errors reported by a robot will instantly be sent to the smartphone app via push notification to guaranty prompt reaction by the end users.

Smartphone App

The smartphone app uses a platform-independent development framework making it available to the Android and iOS ecosystems. The end user needs to authenticate against a cloud-based authentication system to get access to the Web API. The App provides a list of all cleaning missions. By clicking on a mission detailed information about the cleaning job is shown. The cleaning mission is visualised and shown as a map. New robots can be easily added via the App.

Data Export API

The developed Web App exports the summary of all cleaning missions in an Excel file and allows further processing by facility management.

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