JLG has formed a ‘developmental partnership with RE2 Robotics, to advance the integration of robotics with access equipment in order to deliver improved operator safety and productivity on job sites.
An example of this is the RE2 Sapien 6M robotic arm, in which RE2 Detect and RE2 Intellect software are being integrated into a JLG boom lift. The concept is part of a project awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a robotic solar farm construction system, involving the autonomous manipulation of photovoltaic solar panels. JLG is supplying engineering support during the technology development phase of the project. Joint work is being completed on the mechanical and control system interface between the robotic arm and the lift to enable it to lift and install solar panels on the construction of a solar farm.
Humans will supervise the system, which uses computer vision to autonomously unload and stack solar panels from the delivery truck and precisely place the panels onto a racking system. An onsite worker then follows to secure the panel. The RE2 Sapien intelligent robotic arm offers a high strength to weight ratio, precise control and human-like dexterity to place the burden of the heavy lifting on the robotic system. This system is expected to significantly improve productivity and reduce the amount of time required to construct a solar field.
JLG president Frank Nerenhausen said: “Robotic technologies have long been used in a variety of industries. The productivity imperative, along with the Covid-19 pandemic have accelerated the need for and adoption of robotic technologies beyond the factory floor. In fact, a large focal area in construction and industrial applications today is remote operation of equipment that keeps workers out of harm’s way.”
“While JLG has been leveraging and developing robotics in specific areas of our business for quite some time, our focus has shifted to developing and incorporating solutions that integrate with our lifts to help offset labour shortages and provide assistive technologies. The relationship with RE2 allows us to partner with an organisation which has the same drive for excellence as JLG, enabling us to accelerate the integration of robotics across our product line to move the access industry forward. Our work with RE2 Robotics is an excellent example of how we are driving progress with companies who are experts and leaders in their respective fields.”
RE2 chief executive Jorgen Pedersen added: “The future of work is here. Humans and robots are working more closely together, and the construction industry is no exception. Our developmental partnership with JLG will enable us to apply our proven robotic technology to specific applications, including those that require working at height and repetitive lifting such as solar field construction.”