Convergence of Robotics and Alternative Energy

by Conor MacGuire on June 12, 2014

Image courtesy of the "Armed with Science" blog. http://science.dodlive.mil

If you visit Silicon Valley, you will see robots quietly at work generating electricity on a monorail that has on an average 20 panels on one single pole. These highly intelligent machines automatically adjust the panel to the angle of the sun in order to maximize production.

Researchers today are in the process of designing robots that can handle multiple panels and cut costs further. Since alternative primarily works on sources that change swiftly, an army of robots are the perfect solution to adapt to these changes and new techniques. Let’s look at how robots in collaboration with alternative energy sources are changing the world around us.

1. Inspecting and testing

Robots have proven to be successful in enhancing production and also in testing and inspecting gear before it is shipped out. These energy systems are tested right at the point of manufacture and made to run through a couple of diagnostic tests. The panel is loaded with the specific parameters and is approved only after the robot gives it a green signal. Robots are also playing their part in plants where fuel cells are being produced. There are robots today that have vision capabilities and can be used to look for manufacturing defects.

2. Photovoltaic Solar Panels

Robots have been very successful in tasks that involve assembling of solar panels. They are very apt to handle the super delicate wafer of silicon. Their precision rate is almost perfect and cannot be achieved by other machines. During the assembly of stringers into solar panels they are able to bond the wires with the connectors. It is the flexibility of a robot that makes him an attractive option for tasks that humans cannot. Since there are changes still happening in the designs of a solar panel a robot is most suited to adapt to the changes.

3. Fuel cell technologies

Fuel cell production is another technology that is still evolving. Since the developments and researches are far from stabilization, a robot is best suited for tasks that need lasers for welding and crimping of cells.

4. Wind turbines

Tapping wind has become the need of the hour for every country in order to provide a secondary option for power supply. The integrators in a wind turbine work on a massive scale that needs the precise alignment in order to achieve the maximum potential. In this system robots that are powered with integrated vision are used as they can locate with precision the points where drilling can be done. Developed countries like China have shifted to robots from manual labor to handle the massive spread of wind turbines. They are even being used for painting of the blades since they are able to accomplish the job more efficiently. When it comes to wind turbines robots can practically handle every aspect that is there. They are also being used for sanding of the blades, since the finish of the blade will determine its output. Robots are also undertaking welding jobs on the towers.

5. Storage of Power

Robots that are guided by vision are being used in the ever growing batteries industry. The advancements in this industry require support from a flexible and adaptable system, that only robots can provide. For example in turbines if the wind dies down they will have to automatically switch to the batteries and keep the production going. The same applies to solar panels in the scenario when there is no sun. Robots are programmed to detect this switch and ensure that the operations keep running smoothly. Also research has proven that batteries include chemicals that are hazardous to humans. Robots have successfully solved this problem by handling the harmful substrates perfectly.

6. The Future

Time and data has proven that humans are not capable of doing certain jobs that need high degree of precision. Robotics has time and again demonstrated that they will be able to provide perfect solutions to such problems. As and when the technologies change in the alternative energy sector so do the robots that are an integral part of the manufacturing process. Slowly and steadily companies are shifting from the conventional assembly units to modular systems that enable robots to do everything. The future looks very bright for the integration of robots with alternative energy needs.

The article came from Conor McGuire who owns an organization which provides the service of Green Deal Assessor in Scotland. He has been involved in the renewable and energy saving sector for a number of years. They also replace old boilers with new ones under the boiler replacement scheme. Here is a form to check if are you eligible for a brand new A-rated high efficiency boiler. For more updates you can follow us on Google+ Page.

(Image courtesy of the “Armed with Science” blog. http://science.dodlive.mil)

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