WiBotic unveils new excessive energy wi-fi charging answer


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hero image of the complete wibotic 1kw product including power unit, transfer pad, robot power receiver and onboard charging unit.

WiBotic 1kW System (battery not included). | Credit: WiBotic

WiBotic at this time unveiled a brand new 1kW wi-fi charging product for larger-capacity battery methods. The Seattle-based firm has made a reputation for itself within the cellular robotics market by offering contactless charging as an aftermarket various to OEM contact-based altering methods. The prior product hyperlink included 150-watt, 250-watt, and 300-watt wi-fi charging choices.

The new higher-power 1kW system opens a complete new class of machines for wi-fi charging, stated WiBotic. It makes use of 110v energy and a minimal 30 amp circuit, delivering the upper energy with out the necessity for three-phase supply facility energy circuits.

The WiBotic Commander software program will handle the charging present primarily based on supply energy circuit traits, in order to not journey a facility energy circuit.

WiBotic says contactless charging guarantees advantages

The benefit of transferring from contact charging to wi-fi charging is twofold, in response to WiBotic. 

First, with contact charging, methods have to be manually related and disconnected to the charger, it stated. Some automated guided car (AGV) and self-driving car producers present autonomous contact chargers, however these methods use proprietary connectors.

End customers that deploy cellular robots with contact chargers from a couple of OEM will in the end find yourself with a wall of devoted charging stations that may solely be utilized by particular robots. This is inefficient and takes up essential facility flooring house, the firm famous.

a cypher inventory drone charging station positioned next to a new WiBotic 1kilo watt charger.

Cypher Robotics cellular robotic in a warehouse – with built-in drone pad for aerial stock – docked to WiBotic’s Edge transmitter. | Credit: WiBotic

“WiBotic’s new wireless 1kW charging platform enhances operations,” said Peter King, vice chairman of Cypher Robotics Inc., an Ottowa-based supplier of warehouse AMRs and drones. 

“We’ve successfully deployed WiBotic chargers for customers in a range of applications and in some difficult environmental conditions — but historically only in applications where overnight charging was possible,” he stated. “With the new 1kW system, robots will charge at three times the previous speed, opening up a whole new set of applications where fast and ultra-reliable charging is needed.”

The second benefit of wi-fi charging is within the uniformity of the charging infrastructure, stated WiBotic. Any out there wi-fi charger station in a facility can be utilized by any robotic within the fleet in want of a recharge.

Depending on the variety of cellular robots in an finish consumer’s fleet, this idea can vastly simplify the charging course of, claimed the corporate. Facility operators can place wi-fi charging stations at varied websites to allow them to utilized by any autonomous cellular robots (AMRs).

Wireless communication for operational knowledge

When retrofitting a cellular robotic with the WiBotic charging system, a sensible charger controller unit must be put in onto the AMR. This sensible charger autonomously manages the facility switch from the wi-fi charging pad to the cellular robotic unit.

WiBotic has an open API [application programming interface] that allows an AMR to simply talk with the onboard sensible charger.

The sensible charger then wirelessly communicates with the powered pad to manage the stream of vitality wirelessly between the supply pad and the onboard energy receiver. With the brand new 1 kW energy system, it may well switch extra vitality, extra rapidly, to bigger cellular robots, stated WiBotic.

Using a proprietary wi-fi communication channel, the onboard charger can even relay statistical data and different knowledge, not solely in regards to the onboard battery, but additionally from the robotic controller. This knowledge dump is separate from any Wi-Fi or 5G communication connection to the robotic and offers OEMs with an alternative choice for knowledge switch and communications.

Ben Waters, co-founder and CEO of WiBotic, described the sensible communication characteristic:

“This higher-power product allows us to get into markets that aren’t robotic, machines like carton handlers, pallet jacks, and floor-cleaning vehicles. There are a lot of battery-powered vehicles out there today that are not yet robotic or autonomous. They’re just dumb devices in the sense that they are not connected devices, and OEMs don’t have a way to remotely talk to them. By adding wireless charging to their devices, they also now can communicate data from the devices. It can be a simple diagnostic, like: ‘How many hours does my floor scrubber have on it?’”

The firm has additionally developed its personal administration software program, WiBotic Commander. Customers can simply monitor the charging standing and battery well being of whole fleets of robots in actual time. Charging procedures can then be carried out proactively to range cost present and voltage to dramatically enhance battery lifespan.

While finish customers should purchase and deploy the wi-fi chargers, WiBotic has targeted on constructing relationships with OEMs and serving to to combine their cellular robotic controllers to the WiBotic energy controller. The WiBotic controller can even work with contact chargers, offering cost administration choices for any cellular robotic energy want.

“We [primarily] work with two types of customers,” stated Matt Carlson, vice chairman of enterprise growth at WiBotic. “We work with the OEMs offering the robots as a service, but they’re the company who builds the robot, and then they provide it to the end customer. So with those customers, we work with their engineering teams very closely.”

“In some cases, we work with the end customer, where they might operate multiple robots or different types of carts,” he added. “And for one reason or another, charging is a huge problem for them. It’s a big cost because at the end of every day, some employee has to charge all the batteries on all of the robots, to prepare for the next day.”

screenshot of wibotic commander software.

The Wibotic Commander software program is a ‘single pane of glass’ for managing the charging of a robotic fleet. | Credit: WiBotic

Higher-frequency charging helps forestall inductive heating

Another key characteristic of WiBotic’s system, in response to Waters, is that it makes use of increased radio frequencies for vitality switch than a few of its opponents.

“Some of these inductive systems operate at a lower frequency, typically between 50 and 200 kilohertz,” he advised The Robot Report. “WiBotic uses 6.78 megahertz, which is still way below all your Wi-Fi [communication].”

WiBotic stated its platform reduces security dangers from electrical shorts and fireplace danger from sparking throughout contacts, making it appropriate for environments the place grime, mud, water or corrosion can result in failed charging cycles.

“But there are some important technical advantages, especially at the higher power levels,” stated Waters. “One is that we don’t heat foreign objects. Inductive heating systems are also in this range, so if there is some loose metal around, it can heat up [as a side effect]. A lot of [our competitors] have very robust foreign object detection, which is great. This will prevent metal objects from heating up, but it’s going to stop charging.”

“So operating at the higher frequency and adding in some of the things that we do around our adaptive tuning [means] we don’t have this phenomenon of heating metal objects,” he stated.

WiBotic plans to display its new 1kW system at Booth 4087 close to the ARM Demo Area at Automate in Chicago subsequent week.

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