Aimed at OEMs looking to add mobility to their autonomous or collaborative robots, NSK has developed an innovative direct-drive wheel unit specifically designed for use in quiet environments, such as hospitals, hotels, offices and libraries. Robots fitted with the new wheel unit can efficiently carry and move loads up to 100kg without disturbing people.
With digital trends such as AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning) beginning to show genuine promise in real world applications, efforts are ramping up to develop mobile robots and humanoid robot hardware that can perform useful tasks in close proximity to people.
The major obstacle with systems like conventional AGVs (autonomous guided vehicles) used in factories and warehouses, is the noise they make. In contrast, the NSK direct-drive wheel unit is much quieter, facilitating use in public spaces and non-manufacturing environments.
Settings such as service sector businesses and public facilities require robots that operate quietly to avoid impeding conversations and disturbing people from their tasks.
The quiet nature of NSK´s wheel unit can be attributed to its gearless structure (direct-drive motor), which leverages the technology behind the company´s Megatorque Motor to eliminate the operating noise generated by typical gearboxes.