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Project Database
Project Reference: ITP/019/17LP
Project Title: Smart Lifter/Transporter For Object Handling In Confined Space
Hosting Institution: LSCM R&D Centre (LSCM)
Abstract: Many lifters and transporters (e.g. forklifts and overhang cranes/hoists) are common tools to assist human workers to lift and transport heavy objects/items from one place to another in warehouses. Forklifts are designed to lift & move pallets. Overhang cranes are able to lift heavier payload, but it must be mounted to wall structures. They are generally bulky, cumbersome and costly. Many warehouses in Hong Kong (or in Pearl River Delta Region) are relatively small & compact. Forklifts or hoists may not be used in these warehouses.

This project aims to research and develop a smart lifter/transporter for safe object handling tasks leverage shortage of human labours. R&D tasks of adaptation and hybridization of proposed deliverable(s) for conventional warehouses will be carried out. Additional sensors e.g. depth sensors and force sensors will be added to enhance operation efficiency. Adjustable force controller will be generated to provide additional grasping or frictional force for object manipulation/handling. A novel magnetorheological fluid (MR fluid) brake is researched & developed to ensure the lifter is safe even when the electric power is cut off suddenly. A new and modular end-effector (and its controller) will be designed and developed for handling various object sizes or multiple objects.

The proposed smart lifting/transporting device is designed and developed to cater/adopt conventional warehouses in Hong Kong. It aims to carry out delegated and fine-manipulative (or last cm) and safe tasks. In addition, it can simply turn into a stratified (or personalized) lifter for elderly care applications. It would generate significant economical and social benefits to local industries and societies.
Project Coordinator: Dr Ka Lun FAN
Approved Funding Amount: HK$6.63M
Project Period: 31 Mar 2017-30 Mar 2019
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