Energy Robotics Introduces a Pilot Program with Merck and Boston Dynamics

Applied Tech Review | Friday, November 13, 2020

Energy Robotics declares its pilot program with Merck and Boston Dynamics.

FREMONT, CA: Energy Robotics is a leading developer of software solutions for mobile robots used in industrial applications, announces today that its remote sensing and inspection solution for Boston Dynamics’s agile mobile robot Spot was successfully placed at Merck’s thermal exhaust treatment plant at its headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany. Energy Robotics laden Spot with sensor technology and remote supervision functions will support the inspection mission.

Thermal exhaust treatment facilities play a vital role in environmental protection. They contain numerous maintenance-intensive components that should be monitored frequently. Sensors traditionally held by a human doing routine inspection are utilized to detect anomalies in equipment like the pumps or fans and inspect pressure and fluid levels in tanks. Energy Robotics integrated these sensors with Spot to make the condition monitoring more efficient. With sensors such as thermal and zoom, cameras Spot collected data that was transferred by encrypted communication over the public 4G network to the operator’s web-based interface on PC or tablet.

By automating a path via their facility, Merck and Energy Robotics gained a smooth and successful mission totaling one hour for a course through a multi-story facility, with the robot negotiating numerous industrial stairs. At scale, such kind of robotic inspections can increase the facility performance monitoring frequency and consistency. Using a more critical, more diverse data set automatically collected by the robots might significantly enhance the long-term predictive maintenance efficiency. This kind of scaled equipment monitoring would also make environmental protection efforts more effective.

This kind of routine monitoring is essential but dull and uncomfortable. The Spot allows performing physically demanding tasks in confined, hot, and noisy spaces. The robot also provides regular maintenance and asset performance data in a reproducible, high-quality manner.

What appears to be comfortable and efficient results from enormous worldwide progress in robotic software and hardware development.

“Merck is one of the first companies in Europe testing Spot. The pilot with our new partners Energy Robotics and Boston Dynamics shows the state of the art in autonomous robotics,” said Hartmut Manske, Head of Automation and Robotics at Merck. “We are convinced that robots like Spot can efficiently and reliably support remotely supervised missions at our plants.”

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