ANYbotics, the Swiss robotics company, is launching a new end-to-end robotic inspection solution for operators of energy and industrial processing plants. While demand for lower downtime and better safety increases on production sites, technologies have not yet caught up with the complex structures of industrial facilities. ANYbotics’ new fully autonomous four-legged robot ANYmal and its inspection analytics software provide a scalable solution to automate routine condition monitoring of equipment and infrastructure. The company has started onboarding early customers to bring robotic inspection into their facilities and is rolling out installations later this year.
Autonomous mobile robots entering industrial facilities
Up-to-date and reliable data on the equipment’s health is essential for effective and efficient industrial operations. In a condition monitoring process, inspection data is collected and analyzed and provides the insights to trigger corrective actions to optimize operational uptime, performance, and quality. Even with IoT devices, full inspection coverage cannot be reached, as fixed-installed sensors will at some point stop scaling — both with regards to installation efforts and device cost. For this reason, plant operators manually perform routine inspection rounds multiple times a day, often in unpleasant or potentially hazardous settings. Fortunately, robotics technology has matured in recent years to provide an automated and fully digital inspection solution.
We have different inspection tours in our plant — some take place daily, some even several times a day, to ensure the plant’s condition. We intend to increase the inspection quality through automated documentation without installing additional sensors on-site — Felix Volkmann, Asset Manager, BASF
Bridging the complexity of robotic integration
It is no surprise that we are only starting to see mobile robots on the sites of the energy, processing, and construction industries. These environments consist of complex structures with steep stairs and tight spaces unsuited for traditional wheel- and track-based robots. Walking robots represent a unique alternative to reliably navigating these facilities. Modern four-legged vehicles can traverse rugged terrain that is built for humans. However, mobility is not the only challenge. A robotic inspection solution must work autonomously and provide the sensors and intelligence to detect irregularities with the equipment or infrastructure. According to a recent SPRINT Robotics survey, the complexity of this full integration in the existing processes is currently one of the major barriers to the adoption of robotic inspection.
ANYbotics’ new autonomous inspection solution is on the move
The Swiss robotics company ANYbotics has been working with industrial customers for the last five years to enable the integration of robotics in their inspection routines. Today, ANYbotics is launching its first certified commercial product as part of its integrated end-to-end robotic inspection solution. The new ANYmal D legged robot provides users an autonomous system with advanced condition monitoring capabilities. Out of the box, the robot provides large-scale autonomy, including obstacle avoidance and self-charging via a docking station for routine inspection tasks without human intervention. The pan-tilt inspection unit features high-end sensors for accurate and reliable visual, thermal, and acoustic measurements, as well as inspection intelligence software covering some of the most relevant industrial inspection tasks. Built for harsh environments, the robot is IP67 water- and dust-proof ingress protected for use in indoor and outdoor environments in all weather conditions.
Without a doubt, the collaboration with ANYbotics got my team thinking differently about maintenance and inspection. We see significant potential for an autonomous mobile robot to standardize our protocols and improve the quality of the data we’re collecting — Rolf Claude, Head Engineering Services, Stadler Services AG
Bringing robots onsite made easier
Adopting a robotic workforce can be a daunting task for operators, as the journey can be long and difficult if not set up correctly. ANYbotics has been building up the resources, tools, and support services to enable successful robot commissioning and onboarding. Acting as a single point-of-contact, ANYbotics’ experts closely work with the customer in evaluating the tasks to be automated and prepare the organization for the deployment of autonomous mobile inspection robots. The team checks the feasibility and impact in simulations, on-site demonstrations, and long-term pilot deployments. Once the implementation roadmap is established, the team trains the customer in commissioning and supports in scaling the system throughout their facilities.
Get started with onboarding robotic inspection
ANYbotics is currently onboarding customers with pilot deployments and demonstrations. The company is taking pre-orders and will start delivering its new ANYmal D units to customers in the second half of 2021.