Wiferion, an energy solution supplier powering mobile robots and autonomous industrial vehicles through wireless charging, has launched what it says is “the world’s first cloud-based solution for smart robot charging optimization platform.
The cloud-based etaHUB application helps companies utilize their fleets more efficiently by reducing energy consumption, extending battery life, and increasing the productivity of automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) through real-time intelligent charging management.
With its expansion into the North American market this year, Wiferion will debut etaHUB at Automate, May 22-25, 2023, in Detroit.
Matthieu Ebert, VP of Wiferion North America, says: “Fleet operators are looking to us for ways to help their autonomous vehicles and robots run at optimal efficiency.
“Smart charging is the pivotal next step for scaling automated robots and solutions robustly, and we are able to offer this game-changing intelligent charging solution to North American customers.”
As the market for mobile robots rapidly expands, fleets are growing larger and are often distributed across a number of sites. Traditional charging solutions do not record energy data or precise live information about each robot, which has long presented challenges for servicing, maintenance and safety.
etaHUB functions to optimize use of renewably produced power for production and material handling robots. Smart robot charging can now monitor and optimize the power supply to AGVs and AMRs in four ways:
1. Accelerate time to market with data insights
Wiferion has integrated its chargers into hundreds of robot platforms. In each of the integrations, Wiferion engineers utilized the system data to speed time to market. etaHUB’s product incorporates this know-how into alerts and dashboards to get AGVs to market quickly.
2. Monitor battery and charger status
etaHUB monitors the charging status of AGVs and AMRs in real time. If an error occurs in the energy system, it appears in the dashboard and through email or SMS notification. Based on comprehensive energy data, the intelligent software forecasts the battery operating life so maintenance or replacement of the battery can be planned at an early stage before robot malfunctions occurs.
3. Adjust charging power and extend battery lifetime
With smart robot charging, the battery operating life can be extended up to 50 percent by intelligently controlling the charging cycles and the charging and discharging rate (C rate). etaHUB reduces the C rate in periods with fewer transport orders to protect the battery and increases the charging rate when a robot must process more orders.
4. Improve robot charge behavior with dynamic charging
etaHUB provides precise data about the duration of a charging process and tracks when each robot will be at a charging point in the future by delivering dynamic charge levels, allowing the fleet manager to avoid redundant charging times. If the battery temperature is too high, the system communicates with the fleet manager so that the robot can be moved to a safe place.
Smart charging also makes it possible to plan the charging times of mobile robots to correspond with times when power costs are lowest. It could be cheaper, for example, to charge batteries at night when the need for power is lower.
The intelligent algorithms of the cloud-based etaHUB platform analyze the energy data that Wiferion delivers with its inductive charging systems and batteries.
etaHUB extends the battery operating life and increases productivity of the vehicles, reducing the energy consumption and cost of robot fleets – ultimately allowing for more efficient operations.