Determining the future of robotics power

Jon Lawson

The wide adoption of service and industrial robots to perform tasks alongside humans in hazardous environments has led to the power demands of today’s robots to vary drastically. To address this, battery manufacturer Ultralife is inviting design engineers and original equipment manufacturers to take part in its market research about the next generation of power solutions for the robotics sector.

The global take-up of industrial robots grew by 15% in 2015, reaching over 253,000 unit sales that year according to a report from the International Federation of Robotics. With the integration of collaborative robots and developments in artificial intelligence, smart proximity sensing and actuation, the market doesn’t expect to slow down anytime soon.
To overcome power failure in robots, Ultralife has designed batteries for robotics using non-rechargeable Lithium Thionyl Chloride and Lithium Manganese Dioxide cells. The focus now, however, is to tackle the issues concerning service robots.
Predominantly powered by portable batteries, there has been a significant rise in the number of service robots used in commercial, warehouse and hospital environments.
“The power requirements for service robots can differ substantially,” explained Michele Windsor of Ultralife. “They can be used to move shelves and pallets across a warehouse, guide an autonomous vehicle in a factory or even a trolley in a hospital. With more robotic applications being adopted across industries, we expect that existing power solutions may be quickly outgrown.
“We’re interested to learn more about the technologies and devices that are currently in development, to see how existing power sources measure up. Our survey aims to find out the most popular battery characteristics for newer applications including the voltage, amount of power it’s expected to consume and the run-time between charges.
“With the robot market forecasted to reach $14.29 billion by 2023, making sure OEMs and design engineers have the right power sources to integrate is critical.”
To participate in Ultralife’s robotics survey, click here. All participants will be given the option to receive an anonymised copy of the results once the research has been completed.