Artificial feathers give flight to robotic birds

Festo presents its new bionic project “BionicSwift”


Thanks to radio-based indoor GPS with ultra-wideband technology (UWB) the BionicSwifts can fly safely and in a coordinated pattern in a defined airspace. To execute these flight manoeuvres as true to life as possible, the wings are modelled on the plumage of real birds. The agility of the artificial birds is not just due to their lightweight design and aerodynamic kinematics, but also to the use of function integration.


The Festo Bionic Learning Network has a long tradition of being inspired by natural flight. The creation of the BionicSwift represents the next chapter for Festo in the development of bionic flying objects. As in its biological model, the use of lightweight structures is at the heart of the artificial bird. Because in both engineering and in nature, the less weight there is to move, the less material is required, and the less energy is consumed. That is why the BionicSwift weighs just 42 grams despite having a body length of 44.5 centimetres and a wingspan of 68 centimetres. This makes it extremely agile, nimble and capable of flying loops and making tight turns. By interacting with a radio-based indoor navigation system, the robotic birds are able to move autonomously in a coordinated pattern in a defined airspace.

Aerodynamic feathers

To be able to replicate natural flight as closely as possible, the wings of the BionicSwifts are modelled on bird feathers. The individual lamellae are made from an ultra-lightweight, flexible but very robust foam, and overlap each other. Connected to a carbon quill, they are attached to the actual hand and arm wings as in the natural model. The individual lamellae fan out during the wing upstroke, allowing air to flow through the wing. This means the birds require less power to propel the wing upwards. The lamellae then close during the downstroke to provide the flying robot with a more powerful flight. This close replication of bird wings gives the BionicSwift a better flight profile than previous beating wing drives.

Function integration in the tightest of spaces

The agility of the artificial bird is not just due to its lightweight design and aerodynamic kinematics, but also to the use of function integration. The bird’s body contains the compact construction for the wingflapping mechanism, the communication technology, the control components for wing flapping and the elevator, the tail. A brushless motor, two servo motors, the battery, the gear unit and various circuit boards are installed in the smallest of spaces. Through the intelligent interaction of the motors and mechanical systems, the frequency of the wing beats and the elevator for the various manoeuvres can be precisely adjusted.

GPS coordination of the flight manoeuvre

The coordinated and safe flight of the robotic birds is made possible by radio-based indoor GPS with ultra-wideband technology (UWB). Several radio modules are mounted in the space, forming fixed anchors that locate each other and define the controlled airspace. Each bird is equipped with a radio marker that sends signals to the bases, which can then locate the bird’s exact position and send the data collected to a central master computer, which functions as a navigation system. The system can use preprogrammed paths to plan and determine routes and flight paths for the birds. If the birds deviate from this flight path, for example due to a sudden change in ambient conditions such as wind or thermals, they immediate correct their flight path by intervening autonomously – without any human pilots. Radio-based communication means that position sensing is possible, even if there are obstacles and visual contact is partially lost. The use of UWB as radio technology guarantees safe and interference-free operation.

New inspiration for intralogistics

The intelligent networking of flight objects and GPS routing makes a 3D navigation system that could be used in the networked factory of the future. For example, by precisely locating the flow of materials and goods, process workflows can be improved and bottlenecks can be predicted. In addition, autonomous flying robots could be used for transporting materials, with their flight corridors a way of optimising the use of space within a factory.

About Festo:

Festo is a global player and an independent family-owned company with headquarters in Esslingen am Neckar, Germany. The company supplies pneumatic and electrical automation technology to 300,000 customers of factory and process automation in over 35 industries. The products and services are available in 176 countries. With about 21,000 employees in over 250 branch offices in 61 countries worldwide, Festo achieved a turnover of around €3.07 billion in 2019. Each year around 8% of this turnover is invested in research and development.

In this learning company, 1.5% of turnover is invested in basic and further training. Yet training services are not only provided for Festo’s own staff – Festo Didactic SE also supplies basic and further training programmes in the field of automation technology for customers, students and trainees.

Hannover Messe 2021: Neuer igus Getriebe-baukasten für innovative Cobot-Ideen

Kostengünstige und leichte Plug&Play-Kombination aus Getriebe, Encoder, Controller, Kraftregelung und Motor für die Servicerobotik

„Einen Robot to go, bitte!” – Mit dem leichten Getriebebaukasten von igus lassen sich neue Ideen im Bereich der Servicerobotik einfach und kostengünstig umsetzen. (Quelle: igus GmbH)

Köln, 3. Februar 2021 – Das Potenzial für die Servicerobotik ist enorm: In Küchen und Bars, in der Pflege, auf dem Acker oder in der Logistik helfen Leichtbauroboter, monotone oder nicht ergonomische Aufgaben zu automatisieren. Damit sich solche neuen Konzepte einfach und vor allem kostengünstig umsetzen lassen, stellt igus zur Hannover Messe einen neuen Getriebebaukasten für Cobots vor. Im Zentrum steht dabei das vollintegrierte Tribo-Wellgetriebe mit Motor, Absolutwert-Encoder, Kraftregelung und Controller.

„Wir befähigen Konstrukteure mit unseren Low-Cost-Automation-Lösungen kostengünstig in die Zukunft der Servicerobotik einzusteigen“, macht Stefan Niermann, in der erweiterten igus Geschäftsführung für den Bereich Low-Cost-Automation zuständig, deutlich. „Das eröffnet Raum für ganz neue Ideen im Bereich der Automatisierung: Roboter, die im Einzelhandel Kaffee ausschenken oder zuhause die Spülmaschine ausräumen können. Cobots, die in der Pflege eingesetzt werden, ebenso wie in der Industrie – und das alles made in Germany.“ Eine besonders wichtige Rolle spielen dabei die Getriebe, denn sie sind das Herzstück eines jeden modernen Roboters. Daher hat der motion plastics Spezialist igus im letzten Jahr eine neue Generation an Tribo-Wellgetrieben für die Bewegung an der 5. Roboterachse vorgestellt. Reibung und Verschleiß werden durch schmierfreie Tribo-Polymere optimiert. Der Einsatz von Kunststoffen ermöglicht eine äußerst kompakte Bauweise und eine kostengünstige Herstellung. Das drygear Wellgetriebe kann beispielsweise in der letzten Achse von Gelenkarm-, Portal- und Delta-Robotern vor verschiedenen Greifersystemen eingesetzt werden. Der neue Getriebebaukasten für Cobots, den igus auf der Hannover Messe 2021 zeigt, ergänzt nun das breite igus Angebot im Bereich der Low-Cost-Automation. Diese Plug&Play-Lösung hilft dabei, spannende Cobot-Ideen schnell in die Tat umzusetzen, ganz ohne sich Gedanken zur Leistungselektronik machen zu müssen.

Vollintegriertes Wellgetriebe für Low-Cost-Cobot-Anwendungen
Der Getriebebaukasten besteht aus Tribo-Wellgetrieben in den Größen 80 und 105 mit integriertem Motorcontroller, Kraftregelungselektronik, Absolutwert-Encoder und Motor. Im Getriebe kommen Tribo-Wellgenerator und Tribo-Flexring mit Außenverzahnung sowie ein Außenläufer Brushless DC Motor zum Einsatz. Auf Basis der Getriebe lässt sich mithilfe von Verbindungselementen ein individueller Roboter konstruieren, dank der zusätzlichen elektronischen Komponenten auch als Cobot. „Wir sehen für unsere leichten Kunststoff-Wellgetriebe Marktchancen in Robotern, die komplett unter 8kg wiegen“, stellt Alexander Mühlens, Leiter Low-Cost-Automation bei igus, heraus. „Denn bei der Robotik in der Low-Cost-Automation ist neben der Traglast und einem günstigen Preis immer auch das Eigengewicht wichtig. So lassen sich leichte Roboter einfacher transportieren und effizienter auf fahrerlose Transportsysteme, auf 7. Roboterachsen oder in naher Zukunft sogar an Drohnen einsetzen.“ Das geringe Gewicht ist auch beim Einsatz in Cobots ein deutlicher Pluspunkt, denn kleinere Massen bedeuten auch kleinere Kräfte bei Kollisionen. Dank der elektronischen Komponenten im vollintegrierten Wellgetriebe sind MRK-Fähigkeiten möglich. Mittels Absolutwert-Encoder-Technologie können Kräfte wie auch Momente über den Motorstrom ermittelt und sicher begrenzt werden. Dafür setzt igus auf einen Doppelencoder, bei dem eine Messung vor und hinter dem Gelenk erfolgt, um Kräfte und Drehmomente zu erkennen und darauf reagieren zu können.

igus Angebot im Bereich Low-Cost-Automation wächst kontinuierlich
Auch in einer neuen Version des igus Serviceroboters ReBeL sollen die neuen vollintegrierten Wellgetriebe in diesem Jahr zum Einsatz kommen. Diese Robotergeneration wird dadurch wesentlich schlanker und durch die integrierten BLDC-Motoren mit Leistungselektronik günstig. Alexander Mühlens stellt heraus: „Unser Ziel ist es, den ReBeL bereits ab geringen Stückzahlen für 2.900 Euro auf den Markt zu bringen. Er soll 2kg tragen können, eine Reichweite von bis zu 650 Millimetern besitzen, sowie ein Eigengewicht von unter 10kg und eine Mindestlaufzeit von 2 Millionen Zyklen.“ Der Cobot-Getriebebaukasten ergänzt das breite Portfolio von igus im Bereich der Low-Cost-Automation – von Getrieben über verschiedenste Roboterkinematiken bis hin zur Steuerung. Low-Cost-Automation bedeutet dabei sowohl kostengünstige Einstiegspreise als auch nur so viel zu automatisieren wie notwendig. Dadurch amortisiert sich die Investition innerhalb weniger Monate. Der neue Getriebebaukasten wird auch auf RBTX.com verfügbar sein. Auf dem Online-Marktplatz können sich Interessenten ihre Roboterkinematik mit Vision-, Safety- oder Greiferkomponenten so zusammenstellen, dass sie ihren Anforderungen und ihrem Budget genau entspricht. Dabei gilt das Versprechen, das alles zusammenpasst, sowohl auf Hardware- als auch auf Software-Seite – gemäß des igus Ansatzes „Build or Buy“, einen Roboter selbst zusammenstellen oder eine fertige Lösung erhalten.

Boston Dynamics expands Spot® product line

NEW SELF-CHARGING ENTERPRISE ROBOT, REMOTE OPERATION SOFTWARE, AND ROBOT ARM ENHANCE SPOT’S CAPABILITIES FOR AUTONOMOUS SITE MONITORING


Waltham, MA – February 2, 2021 – Boston Dynamics, the global leader in mobile robotics, today announced an expanded product line for its agile mobile robot Spot. The new products include a self-charging Enterprise Spot, web-based remote operations software, Scout, and the Spot Arm. These additions extend Spot’s ability to perform autonomous, remote inspections and data collection, and enable the robot to perform manual tasks.

With more than 400 Spots out in the world, the robot has successfully undertaken hazardous tasks in a variety of inhospitable environments such as nuclear plants, offshore oil fields, construction sites, and mines. Customers have leveraged Spot’s advanced mobility, autonomy, control, and customizability to improve operational efficiency, enhance worker safety, and gather critical data. Spot’s new products are designed to enable customers to fully operationalize continuous, autonomous data collection on remote or hazardous worksites of any size, from anywhere they have access to their network.

Autonomy is critical to enhancing Spot’s value. In order to support long, remote deployments, Boston Dynamics is introducing Spot Enterprise, a new version of Spot that comes equipped with self-charging capabilities and a dock, allowing it to perform longer inspection tasks and data collection missions with little to no human interaction. In addition to the basic capabilities that the base Spot robot offers, Spot Enterprise leverages upgraded hardware for improved safety, communications, and behavior in remote environments. These upgrades expand the range that autonomous missions can cover, extend WiFi support, add flexibility to Spot’s payload ports, and enable users to quickly offload large data sets collected during the robot’s mission.

Pivotal to refining Spot’s value at scale is remote operation. Scout is Boston Dynamics’ web-based software that enables operators to control their fleet of Spots from a virtual control room. Operators can use Scout to take Spot anywhere a person could go on-site, allowing them to inspect critical equipment or hazardous areas from afar. The software is designed with a simple user interface to run pre-programmed autonomous missions or manually control the robot, to perform various tasks such as walking or posing the robot to capture images and thermal data of obscured gauges or pipes using the Spot CAM+IR thermal imaging payload.

Combined, the Spot Enterprise robot equipped with a Spot CAM+IR thermal imaging payload, Scout software, and Boston Dynamics’ premium support now create an out-of-the-box solution for asset-intensive environments. Operators can deploy this solution on site to proactively maintain and manage assets while maximizing worker uptime and improving worker safety.

In addition to launching products designed to make remote inspection safer and easier, Boston Dynamics is also releasing the Spot Arm, which enables users to act on data insights and perform physical work in human-centric environments. The arm is equipped to operate through both semi-autonomous actions and telemanipulation. It can manually or semi-autonomously grasp, lift, carry, place, and drag a wide variety of objects. It is also capable of manipulating objects with constrained movement and can open and close valves, pull levers and turn handles and knobs in coordination with its body to open standard push and pull doors.

“Since first launching Spot, we have worked closely with our customers to identify how the robot could best support their mission critical applications,” said Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics. “Our customers want reliable data collection in remote, hazardous, and dynamic worksites. We developed the new Spot products with these needs in mind, and with the goal of making it easy to regularly and remotely perform critical inspections, improving safety and operations.”

Interested parties can purchase Spot Enterprise, Scout, and the Spot Arm via Boston Dynamics’ sales team. For more information on these new offerings, please visit: www.bostondynamics.com.



About Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics is the global leader in developing and deploying highly mobile robots capable of tackling the toughest robotics challenges. Our core mission is to lead the creation and delivery of robots with advanced mobility, dexterity and intelligence that add value in unstructured or hard-to-traverse spaces and positively impact society. We create high-performance robots equipped with perception, navigation and intelligence by combining the principles of dynamic control and balance with sophisticated mechanical designs, cutting-edge electronics and next-generation software. We have three mobile robots in our portfolio – Spot®, Handle™ and Atlas® – as well as Pick™, a computer vision-based robotics solution for logistics. Founded in 1992, Boston Dynamics spun out of the MIT Leg Lab and is one of Inc. Magazine’s Best Workplaces of 2020. For more information on our company and its technologies, please visit www.bostondynamics.comhttp://www.bostondynamics.com.

RoboGym – Revolutionary training not just for top athletes

How will the technologies available today impact tomorrow’s fitness training? Can robots help us pump iron and get improved training results? What do high-performance sports, weightlifting for seniors, and rehabilitation all have in common?

That’s precisely what the RoboGym development team is dealing with, along with similar questions in a research project entitled RoSylerNT, which is being funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Over the past three years, the experts at RWTH Aachen University, the German Sport University Cologne, and BEC GmbH have jointly developed a multifunctional, robotic weightlifting device that will, on the one hand, help athletes to increase their own performance even further and to shorten the recuperation period following an injury. On the other hand, individual adjustments to the requirements of the person exercising also make it suitable for training in later years in a way that’s gentle on the joints and thus preserves muscle strength and prevents injuries.


A robot as training partner

The systems available on the market today only allow for individual exercises such as rowing or leg presses. And that means doing several repetitions of the same movement with a fixed weight. To get more efficient and gentler training, however, it’s necessary for training to be ergonomically adapted to the person’s anatomy and for the forces to be tuned to protect the joints. Sure, there are high-performance training machines on the market, but adjusting the settings can be quite a hassle, freedom of movement is largely restricted, and as a result the range of exercises is limited. Where these systems reach their limits is where a robot as your perfect training partner begins.


RoboGym is a big improvement over conventional training methods in many ways, since the system actively and dynamically adapts to your anatomy and thus helps noticeably increase the effectiveness of the training. For example, the resistance and the movements of the robot can be specially adapted to the athlete for different positions and points in time. To do this, the applied muscle force is recorded, the stress on the joints is calculated, and the robot’s movements are then adjusted – all in real time. If the force exerted on the knee joint is too much, then the robot reduces the weight. Contrarily, if more weight is better for building muscle elsewhere in the body, the robot adjusts the weight accordingly.


Weightlifting with a digital twin

With the digital twin, anatomical, functional and performance-related parameters of the athlete are brought together in a biomechanical muscle and skeletal model. The training exercises can be individually adapted based on these metrics. During the training session, all data and weights are displayed in real time and saved in the cloud. Since a huge amount of data is produced and collected, much more precise filtering is naturally possible, allowing the forces actually applied and the training performance to be seen more precisely during each part of the exercise. This lets you adapt your fitness routine to your own individual needs. Stored training data and system settings can be accessed on every RoboGym machine for every new training session. That’s one advantage that top athletes who travel a lot really appreciate. For more information, visit http://www.robogym.de

Safe and versatile

To be able to put an industrial robot to use as a training partner, in addition to lots of experience in the fields of medical technology and human-robot interaction, takes intelligent configuration of various monitoring mechanisms. Working inside RoboGym is a robot from Augsburg-based KUKA AG, which, in addition to the necessary safety features, also offers high-performance real-time control. This makes training not only more efficient, but also safe. 

Tech Vision: How Boston Dynamics Built The Most Advanced Robot

The following video has been uploaded to YouTube by tech vision. I think it has all the information you need about Boston Dynamics robots and is therefore a must-see.

Blaize Delivers First Open and Code-free AI Software Platform Spanning the Entire Edge AI Application Lifecycle


El DORADO HILLS, CA — December, 2020 — Blaize today fully unveiled the Blaize AI Studio offering, the industry’s first open and code-free software platform to span the complete edge AI operational workflow from idea to development, deployment and management. AI Studio dramatically reduces edge AI application deployment complexity, time, and cost by breaking the barriers within existing application development and machine learning operations (MLOps) infrastructure that hinder edge AI deployments. Eliminating the complexities of integrating disparate tools and workflows, along with the introduction of multiple ease-of-use and intelligence features, AI Studio reduces from months to days the time required to go from models to deployed production applications.



“While AI applications are migrating to the Edge with growth projected to outpace that of the Data Center, Edge AI deployments today are complicated by a lack of tools for application development and MLOps,” says Dinakar Munagala, Co-founder and CEO, Blaize. “AI Studio was born of the insights to this problem gained in our earliest POC edge AI hardware customer engagements, as we recognized the need and opportunity for a new class of AI software platform to address the complete end-to-end edge AI operational workflow.”



“AI Studio is open and highly optimized for the AI development landscape that exists across heterogeneous ecosystems at the edge,” says Dmitry Zakharchenko, VP Research & Development, Blaize. “With the AI automation benefits of a truly modern user experience interface, AI Studio serves the unique needs in customers’ edge use cases for ease of application development, deployment, and management, as well as broad usability by both developers and domain expert non-developers.”



The combination of AI Studio innovations in user interface, use of collaborative Marketplaces, end-to-end application development, and operational management, collectively bridge the operational chasm hindering AI edge ROI. Deployed with the Blaize AI edge computing hardware offerings that address unserved edge hardware needs, AI Studio makes AI more practical and economical for edge use cases where unmet application development and MLOps needs delay the pace of production deployment.



“In our work for clients, which may include developing models for quality inspection within manufacturing, identifying stress markers to improve drug trials or even predicting high resolution depth for autonomous vehicles, it is vital that businesses can build unique AI applications that prove their ideas quickly,” says Tim Ensor, Director of AI, Cambridge Consultants. “AI Studio offers innovators the means to achieve this confidence in rapid timeframes, which is a really exciting prospect.” Cambridge Consultants, part of Capgemini Group, helps the world’s biggest brands and most ambitious businesses innovate in AI, including those within the Blaize ecosystem.

Code-free assistive UI for more users, more productivity
The AI Studio code-free visual interface is intuitive for a broad range of skill levels beyond just AI data scientists, which is a scarce and costly resource for many organizations. “Hey Blaize” summons a contextually intelligent assistant with an expert knowledge-driven recommendation system to guide users through the workflow. This ease of use enables AI edge app development for wider teams from AI developers to system builders to business domain subject matter experts.

Open standards for user flexibility, broader adoption
With AI Studio, users can deploy models with one click to plug into any workflow across multiple open standards including ONNX, OpenVX, containers, Python, or GStreamer. No other solution offers this degree of open standard deployment support, as most are proprietary solutions that lock in users with limited options. Support for these open standards allows AI Studio to deploy to any hardware that fully supports the standards.



Marketplaces collaboration
Marketplace support allows users to discover models, data and complete applications from anywhere – public or private – and collaborate continuously to build and deploy high-quality AI applications.

AI Studio supports open public models, data marketplaces and repositories, and provides connectivity and infrastructure to host private marketplaces. Users can continually scale proven AI edge models and vertical AI solutions to effectively reuse across enterprises, choosing from hundreds of models with drag and drop ease to speed application development



Easy-to-Use application development workflow:
The AI Studio model development workflow allows users to easily train and optimize models for specific datasets and use cases, and deploy quickly into multiple formats and packages. With the click of a button, AI Studio’s unique Transfer Learning feature quickly retrains imported models for the user’s data and use case. Blaize edge-aware optimization tool, NetDeploy, automatically optimizes the models to the user’s specific accuracy and performance needs. With AI Studio, users can easily build and customize complete application flows other than neural networks, such as image signal processing, tracking or sensor fusion functions.



Ground-breaking edge MLOps/DevOps features
As a complete end-to-end platform, AI Studio helps users deploy, manage, monitor and continuously improve their edge AI applications. Built on a cloud-native infrastructure based on microservices, containers and Kubernetes, AI Studio is highly scalable and reliable in production.



Blaize AI Studio Early Adopter Customers Results
In smart retail, smart city and industry 4.0 markets, Blaize customers are realizing new levels of efficiency in AI application development and deployment using AI Studio. Examples include:

– Complete end-to-end AI development cycle reduction from months to days
– Reduction in training compute by as much as 90%

– Edge-aware efficient optimizations and compression of models with a < 3% accuracy drop

– New revolutionary contextual conversational interfaces that eclipse visual UI



Availability
AI Studio is available now to qualified early adopter customers, with general availability in Q1 2021. The AI Studio product offering includes licenses for individual seats, enterprise, and on-premise subscriptions, with product features and services suited to the needs of each license type.



About Blaize


Blaize leads new-generation computing unleashing the potential of AI to enable leaps in the value technology delivers to improve the way we all work and live. Blaize offers transformative computing solutions for AI data collection and processing at the edge of network, with focus on smart vision applications including automobility, retail, security, industrial and metro. Blaize has secured US$87M in equity funding to date from strategic and venture investors DENSO, Daimler, SPARX Group, Magna, Samsung Catalyst Fund, Temasek, GGV Capital, Wavemaker and SGInnovate. With headquarters in El Dorado Hills (CA), Blaize has teams in Campbell (CA), Cary (NC), and subsidiaries in Hyderabad (India), Manila (Philippines), and Leeds and Kings Langley (UK), with 300+ employees worldwide.

e-spool flex für eine unterbrechungsfreie Panel-Zuführung an Industrierobotern

Robotik-Dienstleister ARAGON Industrieelektronik GmbH verwendet einen neuen schleifringfreien Kabelabroller von igus



Köln, 6. Januar 2021 – Sie sind die Schaltzentrale für den Roboter: Bedienpanels. Damit sie flexibel eingesetzt werden können, muss ihre Leitung nicht nur einige Meter lang, sondern auch beweglich und sicher verstaut sein. Hierfür hat igus die e-spool flex entwickelt. Die neue igus Kabeltrommel kommt ohne Schleifring aus und kann so selbst Bus-Signale unterbrechungsfrei führen. Die Leitung lässt sich auch einfach nachträglich in das System einsetzen. Vorteile, die den Robotik-Dienstleister ARAGON überzeugt haben. Er bietet als Service für seine Industrieroboter ein Kabel-Komplettset an, bestehend aus e-spool flex mit einer Standardleitung sowie einer vormontierten Panelhalterung.



Alten Robotern neues Leben einhauchen, das ist die Aufgabe der ARAGON Industrieelektronik GmbH. Der führende Anbieter für Industrierobotik bietet weltweit Lösungen rund um die Reparatur, Wartung, den Retrofit und das Tuning von Industrierobotern an. Die Kunden finden sich in kleineren Betrieben, die bis zu 10 Robotersysteme einsetzen. Aber auch größere Unternehmen und OEMs im Bereich Automotive setzen auf die Expertise des Robotik-Spezialisten. Speziell für den Einsatz an Bedienpanels suchte das Unternehmen nach einer praktischen Lösung für die Leitungen: „Wir sind stets bestrebt, die Sicherheit unserer Kunden durch innovative Lösungen zu gewährleisten. Bisher lag das Kabel immer auf dem Boden, wurde schnell beschädigt und stellte eine Stolperfalle dar. Daher waren wir auf der Suche nach einem Kabelaufroller, der unterbrechungsfrei, einfach und schnell nachrüstbar ist“, erklärt Iryna Geike, Global Country Manager bei ARAGON. Fündig wurde das Unternehmen bei igus. „Uns wurde das neue Kabelaufrollsystem e-spool flex vorgestellt und es hat uns direkt überzeugt“, erinnert sich Iryna Geike. Der wesentliche Vorteil der e-spool flex gegenüber anderen Kabelwicklern liegt darin, dass kein Schleifring zum Einsatz kommt. So können auch Medien, Daten und die Strom- und Signalversorgung des Not-Aus-Tasters in das System integriert werden. Bereits bestehende Panelleitungen lassen sich einfach in die Schneckenführung des Systems einlegen und werden automatisch aufgerollt. „Unsere Kunden erhalten nun für ihre Bedienpanels ein vormontiertes Set bestehend aus e-spool flex, ARAGON Panelhalterung, Leitung und einem Bügel zur Befestigung an den Roboterschaltschränken. Mit der e-spool flex verlängern wir die Lebensdauer der eingesetzten Leitung deutlich und sorgen für mehr Sicherheit und Ordnung an den Bedienpanels“, erklärt Iryna Geike.



Kabel auf- und abrollen: automatisch oder von Hand

Die e-spool flex bietet igus in mehreren Varianten an. Als Low-Cost-Version mit einem Handdreher oder einem Akkuschrauber zum Aufwickeln der Leitung, als automatische Lösung mit einem federgetriebenen Rückholmechanismus und einer Rastfunktion sowie optional mit einer Einlaufbremse. ARAGON entschied sich für die Variante mit einer Rückholfeder. Der Kabelroller ist in drei Größen erhältlich, für Leitungen mit einem Durchmesser von 5 bis 15 Millimetern mit einer Auszugslänge von 5 bis 15 Metern. Sie lassen sich jederzeit schnell tauschen. Neben einer nachträglichen Integration der e-spool flex mit einem bestehenden Kabel, bietet igus die Kabeltrommel auch bereits fertig konfektioniert mit speziell für den bewegten Einsatz ausgelegten chainflex Leitungen an. Die Langlebigkeit der Leitungen in der e-spool flex wird derzeit im hauseigenen 3.800 Quadratmeter großen Testlabor ausgiebig untersucht.

Autonomous UVC disinfection robot scales up the fight against viruses

St-Sulpice Switzerland/Sezana, Slovenia, September 16, 2020 – Based on proven mobile robot and UVC lamp technologies the mini UVC, jointly developed by BlueBotics and Engmotion, can be used alone or in a connected fleet to autonomously disinfect hospitals and other public buildings such as airports, hotels, and commercial/industrial sites. The robot combines the reliability and fleet management capabilities of BlueBotics’ mobile robot and navigation technologies with Engmotion’s powerful Steril-ONE UVC disinfection lamp.
 

“As COVID-19 forces facility managers to improve the depth and frequency of their cleaning operations at a time when fewer staff may be available, this robot provides a new and efficient way to achieve these goals,” Dr Nicola Tomatis, the CEO of BlueBotics, said. “Using our industry-proven ANTsoftware it is simple to generate a map, set disinfection points and your autonomous robot will do the rest. The robot easily and efficiently disinfects any type of indoor public space, from hotel rooms to hospitals, airports and more.”

Disinfecting a restroom with UVC light

With businesses around the world taking tentative steps towards reopening, attention has turned to how public facilities such as hospitals, airports and hotels can ensure they remain safe for visitors. The public are increasingly seeking reassurances of venue safety before visiting or passing through, and at the core of organizations’ responses is enhanced disinfecting policies and practices.

With the pressure that the COVID-19 pandemic has put on hospitals and nursing homes, there is an increased focus on ensuring they are a safe location for patients, medical staff, and visitors. In a study last year published in the American Journal of Infection Control, examined the effects of an ultraviolet (UV) light technology designed to defeat superbugs in hospitals and found that it eliminated almost 98 per cent of pathogens. These infections cost billions of dollars, and some estimates state that they cause almost 100,000 deaths each year in the United States alone.

mini UVC robot with ultraviolet lights

“When it comes to disinfection technology, UVC light is proven to destroy up to 99% of viruses on surfaces, including the SARS family of viruses, and vegetative bacteria,” said Enrico Merlani, the CEO of Engmotion. “However, static lamps require trained staff to place and move them. An autonomous mobile robot that can move and position itself at every required location really is the optimal solution. The robot allows facility managers to do more with less, systematically disinfecting more areas, more deeply and more often using either one or several connected robots, and all without the need for additional human resources.”


Safe and reliable disinfection
BlueBotics, working in combination with Engmotion, developed the mini UVC robot to enable operations teams to disinfect sites safely and autonomously. It features safety laser scanners at the front and rear of the robot, which allow it to detect obstacles and people when in transit, and a high-sensitivity movement sensor on top, which automatically shuts down UVC operations if a human is detected.

If an operator needs to disinfect an area more quickly, disinfect a larger site, or clean multiple areas at the same time, the robot’s ANT server software makes it easy to create a full fleet of connected mini UVC robots. Other ANT driven vehicles can also be included in the fleet, such as Cleanfix’s floor cleaning robots or other logistics vehicles. Additionally, ANT server’s built-in simulator allows an operator to verify a project before activation.

Deployed thousands of times in the field, BlueBotics’ ANT technology and Engmotion’s Steril-ONE UVC disinfection lamp ensure the system disinfects exactly as planned, time and time again. 

The BlueBotics mini UVC is quick to set up and easy to use: just drive the robot with a joystick manually around the site to generate a map, create routes and set disinfection points using the system’s ANT lab software, and the BlueBotics mini UVC — or fleet of mini UVCs — does the rest. The solution can be operated 100 per cent autonomously, semi-autonomously (if staff need to open doors), or manually via a wired controller (personal protective equipment required).


The power of ultraviolet cleaning

Scientists have known for over a century about UV’s ability to disinfect. And for many years, UVC lamps have been used for sterilisation in medical settings, food production and a number of other places. The properties of UV rays are also known to be effective at killing viral particles, including other coronaviruses like MERS.


Pilot Project

The BlueBotics mini UVC was recently deployed at an international airport in Italy as part of a pilot project carried out by Software Design (A SITA Company). 

“In this COVID-19 era, airport operators need to keep their sites cleaner, with more disinfection cycles every day,” explained Marco Pici, who is Head of Business Development & Business Transformation at Software Design (a SITA Company). “The BlueBotics mini UVC can be a great help. It can be used to run more cycles with the same resources, helping sites to do more with less. With the ANT server an operator can easily manage and operate a number of different robot types, like our reception robot, and use these as they see fit, or even have them triggered by the airport’s operation system.”