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Spot's New Inspection Tools

An overview of the features added to Boston Dynamics' Spot; perfect for industrial inspection

July 11, 2023

The integration of robotics in industrial inspections offers significant advantages for many industries. One notable benefit is the improved efficiency and precision achieved through robotic systems such as Spot, developed by Boston Dynamics. Spot's impressive mobility and sleek design enable it to navigate complex terrains, including hazardous or hard-to-reach areas. Equipped with sensors, cameras, and powerful onboard computing capabilities, Spot performs inspections and collects accurate and valuable data. This automation streamlines operations, reduces human error, enhances productivity, and fosters cost savings and safety in industrial environments.

Spot has already achieved significant success in various commercial industries, establishing itself as a groundbreaking robot. Recently, Boston Dynamics introduced an exciting new addition Spot: the full inspection kit. This comprehensive package combines advanced sensors, accessories, upgraded remote inspection software and enhanced autonomy payload (Spot EAP 2); to support Spot's new uses. The goal being, to enable quick deployment and ensure a rapid return on investment. In this article, we will explore the components included in the inspection kit and the different types of industrial inspection tasks that Spot can effectively perform.

Gauge Reading

Spot, in collaboration with Levatas Computer Vision, offers remarkable gauge reading capabilities that are perfect for facilities with analog gauges. By incorporating a gauge reading task into its inspection route, Spot can effectively monitor and analyze various gauges and provide valuable insights. The process involves setting high and low thresholds for safe readings, allowing Spot to identify and alert operators if the gauge readings fall outside the specified range.

Utilizing advanced computer vision technology, Spot's onboard cameras capture images of the gauges during inspections. The Levatas Computer Vision software then processes these images, extracting the relevant gauge readings with precision. This information is compared against the predetermined thresholds, and if any readings surpass the defined limits, Spot promptly generates alerts to notify operators of potential issues or deviations.

Furthermore, Spot's gauge reading capabilities extend beyond real-time alerts. The system also maintains a comprehensive database of collected data over time. This historical information provides valuable insights into gauge performance trends, facilitating proactive maintenance and allowing operators to make informed decisions regarding equipment reliability and safety.

By seamlessly integrating Levatas Computer Vision technology, Spot empowers inspection teams with efficient and accurate gauge monitoring capabilities. Its ability to set thresholds, generate alerts, and analyze data over time ensures enhanced safety, proactive maintenance, and optimized operational efficiency in various industries.

Thermal Inspection

The full inspection kit of Spot, equipped with a thermal infrared (IR) camera (Spot CAM+IR), opens up a world of possibilities for conducting thermal inspections. This powerful feature allows Spot to analyze the thermal signatures of various assets such as pumps, motors, and more. By leveraging the thermal IR camera, operators can easily detect potential issues and perform preventive maintenance. With Spot’s ability to withstand harsh and dangerous environments, quality thermal readings and monitoring can happen without endangering human inspectors.  

During a thermal inspection, Spot's thermal IR camera captures images that represent the heat emitted by the inspected assets. This enables the identification of temperature anomalies and the visualization of heat patterns. Operators have the flexibility to set high and low thresholds to establish safe temperature ranges for each asset being inspected. If any readings fall outside these predefined limits, Spot can immediately alert operators, enabling them to take prompt action to prevent potential failures or hazards.

Spot's thermal inspection capabilities go beyond threshold-based alerts. The system can also be configured to identify "hot spots" where a particular asset exhibits significantly higher temperatures compared to its surrounding environment. This feature allows operators to pinpoint potential problem areas and focus their attention on critical assets that may require immediate attention.

By combining Spot's mobility and agility with the thermal IR camera, industries can conduct efficient and comprehensive thermal inspections. The ability to set safety thresholds, receive alerts for abnormal temperature readings, and detect hot spots ensures proactive maintenance, reduces downtime, and enhances overall operational safety. Spot proves to be a valuable asset for industries seeking to leverage thermal inspection technology for asset monitoring and maintenance.

Acoustic Inspection

The full inspection kit of Spot includes an impressive addition: the Fluke SV600 Fixed Acoustic Imager. This powerful tool expands Spot's industrial inspection applications, specifically in detecting compressed air or gas leaks. Spot, when equipped with the Fluke SV600, surpasses current human handheld inspection methods, providing more efficient and accurate results.

The Fluke SV600 is a specialized acoustic imaging device designed for detecting leaks in industrial settings. It utilizes advanced technology to capture and visualize sound waves, enabling the identification of even the smallest leaks that might otherwise go unnoticed. When integrated with Spot, this tool becomes an invaluable asset for industrial inspections, particularly in environments where compressed air or gas leaks are a concern and ambient noise makes it difficult to locate issues.

Spot, equipped with the acoustic imager, walks through the inspection area, scanning for potential leaks. The imager detects the 'unique ultrasonic frequencies' emitted by leaking gases or compressed air, precisely pinpointing their sources. Compared to traditional human inspections, Spot's speed, agility, and ability to perform in loud environments, ensure more comprehensive coverage and increased efficiency.

The combination of Spot and the Fluke SV600 offers several advantages. It significantly reduces inspection time, enabling faster detection and resolution of leaks. Which can result in substantial cost savings for businesses. Secondly, it enhances safety by minimizing the need for human personnel to enter potentially hazardous areas. Additionally, the data captured by the Fluke SV600 can be stored and analyzed, allowing for ongoing monitoring, trend analysis, and proactive maintenance.

Final Thoughts

The integration of Spot in conjunction with these additions, can improve the way which industrial inspection processes are completed. It empowers businesses to identify and mitigate equipment issues, effectively ensuring optimal operational efficiency, reducing environmental impact, and increasing workplace safety.

Fremont Robotics can help asset managers put these new inspection technologies to work. Contact us to book a demo.

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