ULC Robotics and Con Edison are developing a robot capable of racking medium voltage circuit breakers within electric distribution substations. Close proximity to breakers during the racking in and racking out process can expose workers to arc flash. Additionally, manual handling of heavy circuit breakers can also lead to soft tissue injuries. Through remote-controlled driving and autonomous operations, the Breaker Racking Robot will carry out end-to-end breaker racking and storage to improve worker safety.
The Circuit Breaker Racking Robot is currently developed to handle circuit breakers (1200A, 3000A, and Ground and Test Device), but can be expanded in the future to address additional types of breakers.
01. Camera Sub-System
The robot is equipped with cameras for navigation, breaker identification, monitoring the racking indicator, and alignment with the cabinet. Navigational cameras minimize blind spots and provide the operator with situational awareness.
02. Obstacle Detection and Collision Avoidance
Equipped with two 2D LiDAR units, the robot can detect obstacles during navigation. If an obstacle is near, the robot will automatically pause operations and the operator is notified through the warning system.
03. Drive System
Mecanum wheels on the robot provide omnidirectional navigation making it easier to move in constrained environments within power stations and provide precise alignment for autonomous operations.
04. Autonomous Breaker Alignment
The Breaker Racking Robot uses Laser Profilers to detect features of breakers and cabinets and autonomously align itself from up to several feet away.
05. Wireless Control Station
The robot is controlled using a control station and wireless sub-system. The graphical user interface (GUI) provides situational awareness data, real time camera views and push button control.
06. Versatile and Expandable System
Future development of the robot will enable this solution to handle a wider variety of breaker models and improve autonomous operations.
The Breaker Racking Robot, a collaborative development project between ULC Robotics and Con Edison, will enable the operator to remove and install a circuit breaker remotely from the operator workstation. Racking in and out the circuit breaker and Ground and Test (G&T) device will be automated, thus alleviating risks to workers’ health and safety.
01. Autonomous Alignment
The Breaker Racking Robot utilizes 2D laser scanning and omnidirectional navigation to align itself to the breaker within the cabinet.
02. Breaker Racking Out
The breaker is racked out, lifted off the ground and secured on the frame of the robot.
03. Breaker Storage
The robot transports the breaker to a designated storage location and picks up a Ground and Test Device.
04. Breaker Racking In
The Breaker Racking Robot autonomously aligns itself to the breaker cabinet and remotely racks the breaker or Ground and Test Device.
Con Edison of New York provides electric service to approximately 3.5 million customers and gas service to approximately 1.1 million customers in New York City and Westchester County. The company also provides steam service in parts of Manhattan.
ULC Robotics is a leading robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) solutions provider and developer for the energy industry, transforming the way that vital infrastructure is maintained and operated. As the key project partner, ULC’s team of mechanical and electrical engineers, sensor scientists, technicians and project managers are responsible for designing and developing the field demonstrable prototype of the Cable Splicing Machine.
Connect with our team to learn more about the Breaker Racking Robot or get involved in future developments of this technology.Contact Us
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