Robots are becoming more and more common in everyday life. The Robotics and Autonomous Systems (RAS) industry is forecast for continued growth over the coming years with estimates stating that by boosting robot installations by 30% above the baseline could add an additional $4.9 trillion per year to the global economy by 2030 (Oxford Economics 2019).
Importance of Thermal Management for Robots:
Thermal management is a critical aspect of robotic design to ensure optimal operation, proper functioning and enhanced longevity. Robots generate heat through various components such as motors, sensors, processors, and other electronic components. Efficient heat dissipation is essential to prevent overheating and ensure optimal performance and energy efficiency.
Industrial Robots are commonly used in smart manufacturing settings, performing a range of production line tasks including welding, dispensing, assembly and quality control. They are programmed to perform precise tasks to improve efficiency and accuracy in manufacturing. Phase Change Materials (PCMs) or Thermal Grease are applied to components to improve the thermal conductivity between the heat source and the Heat Sink. A key advantage of PCMs is their high energy density, which allows them to store a large amount of heat energy in a relatively small volume. This makes them well suited for applications where space is limited.
Service robots are designed to assist humans in non-industrial environments. This category includes robots used in domestic settings (like robotic vacuum cleaners), as well as those used in public spaces, such as information-providing robots in shopping centres, airports or events and even in medical environments for tasks including diagnostics, rehabilitation and surgery, where the robot can assist the surgeon with minimally invasive procedures to offer enhanced precision and reduce recovery times. Heat Pipes may be used to effectively maintain uniform temperature distribution across a surface by effectively spreading heat from hot spots to cooler areas. They can also provide thermal isolation between the heat source and the Heat Sink, preventing potential heat damage of other components as well as being compact and lightweight, making them suitable for applications with limited space.
Agricultural robots, or agribots, include drones, smart tractors and robotic arms which are used for a range of traditionally labour intensive farming tasks including planting, spraying, pruning, mowing, harvesting and picking as well as more sophisticated jobs such as monitoring crops or conditions and phenotyping. These robots contribute to increased efficiency in agriculture by automating processes to increase yields for farmers. Thermoelectric Cooling Chips (TECs) or Peltier Devices are solid-state devices that utilise the Peltier effect of semiconductor materials to provide active cooling. TECs have no moving parts, making them reliable, vibration-free and very versatile as they can be easily integrated into various systems. By controlling the magnitude and direction of the electric current, the chip allows precise temperature control, enabling both cooling and heating as needed making them ideal for use in environments where external temperatures may fluctuate.
These robots are commonly used in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) environments and are designed to teach the concepts of programming, problem-solving, and engineering to students. These robots often come with user-friendly interfaces and programming languages, rendering them valuable tools in educational environments. Thermal Pads are a popular choice for educational robots thanks to their ease of use. The pads are easy to install and can be cut or trimmed to fit the specific size and shape of the heat sink or heat source. They also come in a range of thickness and hardness to suit the application. Educational robots also include toy robots which are interactive toys used to engage, entertain and interact with young children and offer a range of functions such as story telling, making jokes, asking questions and dancing. Toy robots will also require effective thermal management to ensure safe operation during prolonged periods of play.
Why choose T-Global Technology?
Thermal management is a critical aspect of robotics. Excess heat can cause issues around performance, lifespan and accuracy. T-Global Technology provides a range of Thermal Management Products for the robotics industry to dissipate heat and maintain optimal operating temperatures for devices and applications. Use the buttons below to view our full product range, contact us to request a sample or go back to the industry applications overview.