“Inspection and maintenance of the electricity power grid can be a risky, time consuming and sometimes an inaccessible task...robots can minimize human interaction with High Voltage (HV) equipment and make the process of regular maintenance easier...The benefits of using robots in substations, not only [keeps] human workers out of danger, but the frequency of inspections can be increased without compromising system reliability, and shutdowns can be reduced”
At substations, the leading risks are fire, explosion, theft of copper cables and other valuable assets and leaks of the highly potent global warming gas that is sulfur hexafluoride (SF 6).
A 2021 report published by Allied Market Research calculated that the global inspection robots market, which generated $940.0 million in 2020, should be expected to reach $13.94 billion by 2030. That equates to an impressive a CAGR of 30.9% between 2021 and 2030.
A 2020 report by Frost & Sullivan, titled “Growth Opportunities from Decarbonization in the Global Power Market, 2019-2030,” estimated that an estimated $3.4 trillion will be invested in renewable energy during the next decade, including $2.72 trillion in solar and wind technologies. Furthermore, the report estimates that 54.1% of total installed capacity will be renewable (including hydropower) by 2030.
We at Energy Robotics are in the business of developing and providing cutting-edge software solutions that enable robots to undertake intelligent, customized inspections at clients’ facilities. These solutions can be adapted to a host of different electrical production and distribution facilities, including substations, power generation plants, hydroelectric plants and solar or wind farms.
Our SaaS solution is revolutionizing how inspections are undertaken at electricity-generating and distribution facilities worldwide.
Some sites can be so remote that simply getting to them on a regular basis for inspections can be extremely difficult and inefficient to achieve. Inclement weather, resulting in heavy snowfall in winter or heavy rains in summer, for example, can also impede the viability of employees undertaking inspections. Embedded with our software, robots can perform continuous inspection tasks without any problem, something that an employee would find difficult to do in terms of time and logistics.
Furthermore, you can even send robots into a toxic or radioactive environment to do inspections. The beauty of using a four-legged robot like Spot is that it can actually work in a human environment by climbing stairs and navigating through narrow spaces, in a way that robots with tracks or wheels are unable to do. Check out how Spot inspects a hydropower plant in the Alps.
For outdoor inspections, such as those at open-air sub-stations, the Rover robot is an excellent option. Rover is a robust, military-grade robot that can conduct inspections in any weather condition. It’s a cost-efficient robot that is ideal for capturing high-quality data and implementing predictive maintenance.
A pilot project in which our software was successfully implemented was in collaboration with the German electricity company, E.DIS, at a substation of theirs in Altentreptow, located in eastern Germany. The purpose of the proof of concept project was to test the efficacy of using autonomous robot technology for inspections at a substation.
E.DIS chose Energy Robotics on the basis that we offer a software platform that seamlessly combines autonomous robotic technology with cloud-based fleet management and sophisticated AI-derived analytics.
The precise readings of analogue measuring instruments as part of ongoing inspections was important for the client. E.DIS was also keen to assess the use of an autonomous robot for the purpose of safety surveillance on the site, such as whether security doors were properly locked or parameter fencing intact, given that security is a concern at any substation. Our software platform used in tandem with a Spot robot was able to achieve these and other outcomes at the E.DIS substation.
As of late 2021, the ongoing project was considered a success, with plans to roll out similar autonomous robotic inspection and surveillance projects at other E.DIS substations in Germany.
A further tremendous benefit for any client that uses our software is that the onboarding of different robots onto an existing fleet they might have is a smooth, hassle-free process.
Our successful pilot project at the E.DIS substation has proven yet again that autonomous robots enabled with our software equates to improved inspections and asset integrity, as well as greater safety, at any facility.
We at Energy Robotics know how robotics enhanced with our software can greatly transform how substations, power generating plants and other electrical installations operate. This we have achieved with great success in the energy industry by offering the following: