Assembly Line

Where Four-Legged Robot Dogs Are Finding Work

How a startup uses AI to put worker safety first


Author: @LouisColumbus

Topics: safety

Organizations: Everguard, a startup based in Irvine, California, combines AI, computer vision, and sensor fusion to reduce the risk of injuries and accidents by preventing them before they happen. The company’s SENTRI360 platform proves effective in preventing workplace injuries and operational downtimes at several steel-heavy manufacturing companies, including Zekelman Industries and SeAH Besteel.

Everguard’s CEO, Sandeep Pandya shared details about workers’ privacy, given the massive amount of data it captures and analyzes at client sites. “The most important thing is to give shop floor workers and their leaders the complete visibility into how the data collected is used. Our implementation teams work with them and provide complete access to our systems, how data is anonymized for specific tasks, and how we are careful to protect each workers’ identity,” Sandeep said.

Read more at VentureBeat

Robots Automate Disassembly of Chemical Weapons


Topics: safety

Vertical: Defense

Organizations: Bechtel, CRG Automation

Disarming and disassembling the rockets is not easy, and the task is made even more difficult because of the rocket’s design. The rocket propellant cannot be removed from the warhead without cutting open the rocket, and the propellant itself presents a hazard, because it becomes unstable as it ages. Another danger is leakage of the toxic nerve agents. As sarin decomposes, it forms acids that can corrode the aluminum casing inside the rocket.

Both Ankrom and Staggs have seen first-hand how advancements in chemical weapons destruction now require fewer and fewer people. Ankrom started working with chemical agents in the mid-1980s, recalling how his first project, which focused on a hallucinogenic, was entirely manual and required 15 people. Even as recently as 2014, workers at the Blue Grass depot had to manually separate the warheads from the rocket motors and then separate the fuses from the warheads to support testing at the Anniston Static Detonation Chamber disposal plant, adds Staggs, who has worked with chemical weapons since 1978. “Adding the automation with robots has assisted us with reducing people interaction with these aging chemical weapons,” Staggs says. But the Blue Grass depot’s original disposal system plans, even with its robots, presented problems when workers discovered leaking rockets.

The agency reached out to CRG Automation, an engineering firm best known for building packaging lines for the likes of Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s and Kraft. CRG Automation has been designing and building packaging and processing equipment for the food, beverage and consumer products industries for more than 20 years. CRG Automation developed an alternative method by holding the assembly fixed and making the cut with the rocket in a vertical orientation, ensuring that any leaking chemical agent would simply gather in the bottom of a containment device. Cutting the rockets in an upright orientation also meant that the operation could be done more precisely. The cut can be located with an accuracy of 0.001 inch, Ankrom says. Six-axis robots are used to load and unload the cutting machines.

Read more at Assembly Magazine

Accelerating mining safety and smart mines with limitless connectivity


Authors: Filip Mestanov, Kirstin Sym-Smith

Topics: safety, 5G

Vertical: Mining

Organizations: Ericsson

Digitalization can have a tremendous impact on safety, giving mine operators a clearer picture of the full breadth of operations, monitoring critical factors like air quality and tunnel strength. An optimized mine, especially one with the latest in 5G-enabled private networks, can give miners those crucial seconds that can save lives.

As private wireless networks, including the latest generation in 5G, help revolutionize mission critical industries across the country, mining stands out as a place where connectivity can foster major improvements, from safety to efficiency and productivity to better sustainability. Mine operations can be optimized by collecting and analyzing tracking data on the precise location and performance of vehicles, equipment and personnel.

Read more at Ericsson Blog

The Semiconductor Health and Cancer Problem

Break Through Supply Chain Blocks with Automated Container Unloading


Topics: robotics, safety, robotic arm

Organizations: Boston Dynamics

Boston Dynamics is beginning to deploy Stretch, an autonomous case-handling robot poised to change the way warehouses and ports operate. Expected to be available later in 2022, the robot can work up to 16 hours on a single battery charge, so companies can send Stretch to unload trucks or containers for full shifts both day and night.

Built on a compact, wheeled base, Stretch can travel easily to each point of activity in a distribution center. The robot is self-reliant, untethered by power cables or air lines. Its vacuum-based gripper, at the end of a robotic arm with long reach, is designed to grasp a wide variety of box types required for a truly valuable solution in the logistics industry. With its small, pallet-sized footprint and embedded smarts, Stretch needs no pre-programming or overhaul of existing warehouse equipment to begin working, and is ready to deploy in just days.

Read more at Boston Dynamics Blog