MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
Robots replace manual labor and speed up production, enter hazardous areas and help specialists work remotely. How modern robots are made in Moscow – read this mos.ru article.
Modern robots can solve completely different tasks. In a special economic zone (SEZ) Technopolis Moscow There are companies that have created devices that can repair nuclear fuel pools, fill cheesecakes and help in the production of sausages.
The approaches to work are also different in companies: some completely trust drawings and calculations, others prefer to hone ideas in practice. We will tell you how robots are made, how long it takes and why they are needed in the modern world.
Replace a person in dangerous situations
At first glance, the site of the technopolis “Moscow” in Pechatniki is no different from other industries. But inside, the interior resembles an exhibition center: a large, light space, divided by small partitions. One of them on the second floor has Special Design and Technology Bureau of Applied Robotics… The company began as a student laboratory at the Moscow State Technical University named after N.E. Bauman in 1972. Throughout the history of the bureau’s work, it even managed to take part in the elimination of the consequences of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant – it created mobile robots that were used to clean the roof of the third power unit.
The company manufactures robotic systems for the nuclear industry and security agencies. Upon entering, visitors immediately see models of robots. They look like manipulator arms on a track. With this grip, robots can move loads weighing up to 20 kilograms.
“There is a control panel for each robot, it works at a distance of up to one kilometer. It has video cameras so that the operator can see the environment in real time. There are two control modes – by cable or by radio. Sometimes radio frequencies are not available, for example, during explosive works, then the robot has to use a cable to transmit signals, ”says Deputy General Director Ilya Laverychev.
In fact, robots risk themselves in dangerous environments and protect people. For example, in the nuclear industry, they are used where, due to radiation, a person cannot get. Last year, the company made a robot for the Leningrad NPP-2. He can repair pools filled with nuclear fuel. This is the only robot of its kind in the world.
As they say in the design office, almost every order is unique. Engineers adapt to customer requirements. On average, the production of a robot takes from six months to a year.
“Almost every customer has certain requirements. Even if we have a typical development of a mobile robot, it still has to be modernized. We research and improve designs. At a large plant with serial production, this is impossible, ”says the head of the bureau, chief designer and candidate of technical sciences Alexander Batanov.
The bureau is also developing a medical robot. The compact device can perform some operations in an automatic mode and become a surgeon’s assistant. In its work, the robot uses universal instruments that are available in each type of surgery. Several prototypes have already been created, they are going through the testing stage.
The bureau employs 27 people, mainly designers, programmers and electronics engineers. The only girl in the team is design engineer Olga Fedina. She has been working in the company for a little over a year, came right after university on the recommendation of her diploma supervisor.
“All this time I have been learning design work. Colleagues will always prompt, always help and teach. Sometimes it seems to friends and acquaintances that this is not a woman’s job, but I feel comfortable, and this is the main thing, ”says Olga Fedina.
The company has been working in the Technopolis Moscow SEZ since 2014, right after the exhibition, at which the bureau presented its developments. I was attracted by the cost of renting the premises and the convenient location – it is easy to get there by metro, train or car. If necessary, for example when submitting projects, you can work at any time – on weekends and even at night.
The bureau trusts its neighbors in the production of boards and individual parts – they say it’s very convenient. “We include such enterprises in related industries, which we can involve in solving our problems in the supply of products. Development is on us, but we don’t need to keep the machine park. We cannot know in advance how much and what products will be ordered from us during the year, ”says Ilya Laverychev.
In addition, the technopolis has a logistics center. “We have neither loaders nor loaders on our staff. We call, we were loaded and taken, ”adds Ilya Laverychev.
A new approach: practice is more important than theory
In a nearby building, almost the same engineers and designers produce completely different devices. Company “Bitrobotics” specializes in high-speed industrial robots that can unpack, pack, and even partially cook.
It employs 22 people, the company occupies only three office rooms. Experimental tests are underway in one of them. As the developers say, they do not devote much time to theory, drawings and elaboration. They have a fundamentally new approach, far from endless approvals and paperwork. If there is an idea, then they immediately try it. The necessary parts are printed on a 3D printer and checked in operation.
“For example, this sausage catcher was printed and made overnight. We need a little time to get from idea to prototype. Then it will be possible to make it in metal and provide it to the customer. The same idea with software. You can test the program here, in the office, we do not need to go for this to commissioning at production. We bring a ready-made box to the customer, which only needs to be assembled, ”says software engineer Alexei Turlygin.
It is the complex and interesting tasks, creativity and advanced technologies that attract the company’s engineers. According to them, it is interesting to observe how their ideas are realized in a matter of months in a specific production.
The employees are now busy developing a system for a sausage production line. The device cuts the tape of sausages and sends them to the accelerating conveyor at 10 pieces per second. Then the sausages enter the stepping conveyor, from where the robot picks them up and directs them further. Usually the next stage is a thermoformer, that is, product packaging, this is already another development.
Replacing manual labor, simplifying and speeding up production is an important stage in the food industry. “We are the third company in the world to achieve 10 sausages per second,” says Alexei Turlygin.
So far, only a model of the system has been assembled, it is made of aluminum and parts printed on a 3D printer. The final version will be made of stainless steel, as required for food production. This is not the first project of the company for food production – a robot has already been launched, which, using machine vision, makes a recess for the filling in cheesecakes, sprinkles it with melange and fills it with cottage cheese. Also, engineers are developing a system for laying out pancakes in packages.
In general, all of the company’s devices are made of modules. The parts can be used for different robotic systems, it turns out a kind of constructor. It can be changed depending on the needs of the customer. This allows you to reduce production time and cost. In addition, according to the idea, the customer can receive a robot and assemble it independently. But for now, the developers are helping with this.
“Similar systems are offered by Western manufacturers. But their condition is to install the line at the initial stage, when the plant is still empty. This is practically inapplicable in Russian realities. Most manufacturers already have a working product line with different conveyors. Often also in small spaces. Therefore, Western manufacturers of robots cannot enter the Russian market, ”says Nikita Vostrikov, design engineer of the second category.
Employees assemble robots themselves, and order the necessary parts from other companies. But already this year, it is planned to launch its own production at a plant with an area of 1,700 square meters. It is also located in the Moscow technopolis. Localization of production in the SEZ gives the company a number of advantages, including a preferential tax rate on property and transport, a reduced income tax and exemption from customs duties on goods and equipment imported into the SEZ.
At the new plant, Bitrobotics will be able to produce up to 100 robotic systems per year. One robot will take six months (the period from order approval to device release). The commissioning works will take another two months.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.