There remain many hazardous work environments. Environments where workers must be protected from falls, high or very low temperatures, toxic gases, or fast-moving machinery. There are also places, like deep in the ocean or inside a nuclear reactor, where humans just can’t go but work still needs to be done. By incorporating robotic technology into the mix, however, you open yourself to a new world of possibilities and reduce human toll.
Nic Radford, Houston Mechatronics’ co-founder and CTO, recently sat down with The Disruptory to discuss the incredible ways intelligent automation and robotic technology are changing the way companies the world over do business. Here’s a taste of what he had to say:
Q: Could you tell us about a compelling use case using one of your robots?
We also have a robotics development project to help some human workers in a factory with a manufacturing task in an environment where the item being made is at about 650 degrees Celsius and currently requires the coordination of several people, in thermal pressure suits, performing a task that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. We are deploying robots into this task area and those robots will be performing some highly autonomous, complex, dexterous, and sensate tasks, at times in the presence of their human counterparts. This requires unparalleled safety, coordination, planning, and autonomy. The really novel aspect is how and where those robots will be commanded from. Can’t give away too much! At the end of the day, we are bringing the reliability of traditional industrial robotics into the service sector giving our customers higher quality, safer workplaces, and lower overall costs.
Today’s robots aren’t the large, clunky creations Hollywood has led many people to believe. More and more companies — in industries ranging from oil and gas, to construction and beyond — are beginning to embrace the technological possibilities available to them. It’s exciting to consider all that lies ahead for both our industry and theirs.