Where hygienic cleanliness is required, the cleaning process must be very precise. Particularly in industrial warehouses and factories, where autonomous transport systems are increasingly being used, floor surfaces must be clean to allow the AGVs and AMRs to drive without any problems. With the introduction of robotics in facility cleaning, Dunkermotoren and Cleanfix Reinigungssysteme AG are together setting new standards.
As the use of those autonomous systems is steadily increasing, thorough floor cleaning is also becoming more important in these areas. But even in heavily trafficked areas of public space, more than one cleaning operation per day is needed. However, shiftwork as well as closely timed train schedules make continuous cleaning of the aforementioned areas almost impossible. Until now, cleaning staff had to either clean around the corresponding hotspots or switch to late and night shifts.
Introduction of robotics in the cleaning industry
In recent years and under the guideline of Industry 4.0, more and more robotic solutions have been used to perform repetitive tasks. New developments in sensor technology as well as computer hardware and software programming are now also bringing far-reaching benefits in the use of robotic solutions in previously less automated industries such as professional cleaning. The autonomous RA660 NAVI scrubber robot moves reliably over the work surface. For the travel drive of this cleaning robot, Cleanfix Reinigungssysteme AG relies on intelligent complete drive solutions from Dunkermotoren, a brand of AMETEK Advanced Motion Solutions. Dunkermotoren has been developing and producing drive solutions for a wide range of applications for over 70 years and is the world market leader for smart BLDC motors with integrated electronics. Thanks to its many years of experience with AGVs and other autonomous transport systems, which have so far mainly been used in industrial automation, Dunkermotoren was able to provide Cleanfix with valuable know-how in the realization of the RA660 NAVI.
RA 660 NAVI - The revolution in professional floor cleaning
The RA 660 NAVI is a real pioneer in its field. From airports and train stations to production halls and warehouses in industrial companies, hospitals and public spaces, the scrubber robot enables hygienic floor cleaning around the clock and works completely autonomously.
With the help of a navigation system, the room to be cleaned is first scanned and the surroundings are analyzed in detail. For the cleaning process the robot then uses the three moistened brushes, which actively scrub to remove even stubborn dirt. An included suction unit reabsorbs the water used and thus dries the surface immediately after cleaning. Any objects or people in the path are detected by a combination of LiDAR, ultrasonic sensors and camera systems, depending on the model, which enables the robot to pass by and avoid collisions. The so-called front bumper safety system across the entire front stops the cleaning process and the robot immediately in the event of an undetected obstacle.
Due to its small size and maneuverability, the robot cleans particularly thoroughly. Since it can turn on the spot, it is particularly versatile and can reach places that a traditional ride-on cleaning machine could not clean. In addition, the RA660 NAVI enables multiple and continuous cleaning of even high-traffic areas all day long, reducing cross-area contamination of chips, oils and others by up to 50%. In facilities with very high safety requirements, the use of the autonomous robot can reduce non-operational cleaning personnel. In medical institutions such as clinics and nursing facilities, the combination of scrubbing and drying in a single process offers further advantages in terms of infection protection and hygienic cleaning.
Resource-saving cleaning thanks to intelligent drives from Dunkermotoren
In contrast to manual cleaning, the quality of the cleaning results is the most important characteristic of autonomous cleaning machines. The decisive factor here is the robot's cleaning algorithm. Cleanfix is a world leader with their patented algorithm, enabling the cleaning of even highly complex environments. The travel drive plays a crucial role in realizing the calculated travel path. A complete drive solution from Dunkermotoren consisting of a motor with integrated electronics, a planetary gearbox and a brake meets all requirements in terms of intelligence and control through appropriate programming, and reliably moves the RA660 NAVI over the floor. Each drive wheel is moved by its own drive solution. For the travel drive, it is required the highest quality. "Especially because the cleaning robot of Cleanfix turns on the spot and implements a lot of rotational movements to reach any corners and avoid obstacles, the motor is heavily stressed in this application," says Felix Rüesch, Managing Director of Cleanfix Reinigungssysteme AG.
The BG 65 S brushless DC motor is the perfect drive and meets all the above requirements. With up to 199 watts, it is a real powerhouse and is also particularly robust and compact in design. A reinforced gearbox enables it to realize the high torques that occur e.g., during an emergency stop. The entire drive solution with motor, electronics, gearbox and brake measures just 28 cm in length with a diameter of 6.5 cm. The drive solution achieves the protection class IP65, so that it is protected well against splash water during the wet cleaning process of the robot. The electronics with high-resolution magnetic encoder are installed in the motor housing as standard in all motors from Dunkermotoren and thus do not take up any additional space. The integrated electronics enable high positioning accuracy and can precisely convert the commands of the higher-level robot controller into the desired movement via CAN interface. In contrast to manual cleaning by hand or with traditional cleaning machines, the previously defined travel path can thus be passed at a constant speed, which greatly improves the quality of the cleaning result. For driving curves and for avoiding detected obstacles, a corresponding differential speed is set for the two drives, allowing the robot to pass by and rotate around its own axis. If the sensors detect a possible collision, the built-in brake enforces an immediate stop of the robot with its around 300 kg weight.
In addition, the integrated electronics with corresponding software enable continuous status and position monitoring. Thanks to MotionCode from Dunkermotoren, each motor can be easily programmed in C and completely individually. The higher-level control system always knows the position of the drive wheels during the movement. If unevenness in the ground causes deviations from the intended travel path, the robot can detect this and reliably maintain the intended course by setting minimum differential speeds. Energy-consuming overlaps in the travel path are avoided, enabling an area performance of up to 1,250 square meters.