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How robots are used in a blue-collar industry for good

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One aspect of keeping business running is… keeping things clean.

That is especially important in industries such as chemical and oil, bioenergy and commercial workplaces.

Industrial cleaners would usually have to be on-site to perform the dirty cleaning, but stay-at-home orders actually promoted innovation in the industry.

Terry Gromes, Jr., CEO of Strategic Technologies, discusses the video below in the Q and A.

How do you make a?

Terydon produces a product line of automated robotics controlled wirelessly by computerised devices, specifically for cleaning using ultra-high pressure water in the energy industry.

Due to the build-up of byproducts through their processes these companies will often have to be inevitably shut down.

It costs them millions of dollars every day to be down, so it is important for the cleaning processes to be as productive as possible to get the operations back up and running.

While common methods include bulky mannequins that deliver air command through pneumatic lines, our proprietary control with wireless computerized devices make our industry approach unique.

In the past, how have you performed business?

The industrial cleaning industry as a whole is a very dangerous, labor intensive job.

Much of the work leaves the employee directly in contact with the debris being removed.

This can cause burns to the skin and can be deadly or detrimental if ingested or inhaled.

High pressure water also comes with high risks — the pressures are high enough to cut through solid steels.

As a result, injuries and deaths are unfortunately a daily risk.

Our Wireless Robotic Solutions provide a cleaning method where the operator can be safely removed from the hazardous / the area of cell freezing and still complete the cleaning operation.

However, before lockeddowns, it has been an industry standard to keep the operator inside the cleaning proximity to have direct line-of-sight with the process.

Thus Bluetooth control through an Android touchscreen tablet has been the standard method of wireless control for these applications as it can safely keep the operator 20 to 30 feet away from the application and still keep them in close proximity.

What immediate effect did stay at-home orders have on your business?

This created a tense situation as result of stay at home orders where end users could not enter the asset owner’s facility to perform maintenance and clean.

This created a high risk scenario for the asset owners where extended downtime could cost them millions of dollars.

What has been your adaptation to our current situation?

One change we made to adapt was to extend our control platform to include remote operations to comply with the Work-from-Home requirements.

This included integrating wireless control beyond Bluetooth to expand through WiFi and cellular networks as well as remote video surveillance.

As a form of ‘telerobotics ” we have called this ‘tele-jetting ” by combining tele-robotics and water-jetting cleaning methods.

Was the challenge in implementing these changes?

The challenges of introducing new technologies into industrial cleaning often result in resistance due to the fear that, unlike automation, the workers will lose their jobs.

We had to educate the industry that « automations can be more productive than people because they can repeat predictable and repetitive actions without becoming tired, but the worker is still critical to making these machines productive by « teaching the machine » and providing preventative maintenance.

Endangered, it evolves the work for the worker, but does not eliminate his employment.

Was reflected the results?

The results were successful though have been put to use in necessity.

We are optimistic that in the future they will be using out of efficiency.

Our data collected during these processes demonstrate that these robotic solutions are considerably more productive than previous methods.

In an industry where the unemployment rate is generally high, these highly skilled “WFH” operators can easily be located virtually anywhere.

What learned have you learned through adaptation to a remote environment?

The WFH Environment changes accordingly from what the typical industry worker experience.

On site there are standardized PPE and safety gear that must always be worn and safety protocol that varies from asset owners’ site and location

Remotely operating this equipment from home or an office gives a controlled environment that removes the worker from the elements common to work in industrial cleaning.

This, together with modern computer technology, will attract members of the millennial and Gen Z workforce into an industry which has previously been viewed as smarmy and labor intensive.

These individuals have grown up with smartphones, tablets and computers in their hands, so they would be more likely to adopt these innovative technologies.

What advice have you for others who are trying to find this new way of life or who are using it?

The beauty of working in a tech-forward society is that it is changing, evolving and thus becomes more readily available and cost effective.

Touch screen tablets that were rugged for our industry when we started down this route cost upwards of $5,000.

These suitable tablets now sell for less than $500 on Amazon with free shipping of two days.

It takes only a creative mind to apply this in your specific industry.

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