Robot protects the Amazon Rainforest... with help from Maxon
Robotics and the use of Maxon's DC motors have helped create a roving, solar powered eco-robot to monitor the Amazon's ecosystem. Named 'Chico Mendes' in honour of a rainforest activist killed in 1988, the new robot is powered by Maxon's DC motors and allows exploration and analysis in areas of rainforest which is under threat from increased excavation of oil and gas.
Designed and constructed in partnership by sociological research institute Piatam (Potential Impacts and Environmental Risks of the Petroleum and Gas Industry in the Amazon), the Brazilian state university and Petrobras, the robot monitors water and soil quality in the Amazon Basin. The first of its kind, the new robot minimises its own impact on the environment it protects by using solar power and energy efficient motors to travel unaided through the mud and swamps of the Amazon.
To ensure the environmental robot runs as efficiently as possible, the designers have incorporated eight of Maxon's high performance DC motors, delivering high performance in a tiny space, with minimal energy usage. Maxon's RE 40 and RE 35 motors power the wheels and adaptive suspension respectively, whilst two planetary gearheads provide the necessary torque. The motors use brushes made of precious metal to ensure constant, low contact resistance with the commutator, as well as low start-up voltages and minimal electrical interference, meaning 'Chico Mendes' will remain a highly efficient robot for years to come.
Maxon Motor UK senior engineer Paul Williams says: "Maxon is proud to be so intimately involved in this important environmental project. Remaining autonomous in such a remote, challenging location puts a real emphasis on efficiency and reliability, so our brushed motors are a perfect match."
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