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Project Reference: ITP/054/21LP
Project Title: Thermal Management Technologies for Robots Work at Sub-zero Temperature
Hosting Institution: LSCM R&D Centre (LSCM)
Abstract: In cold-chain logistic, the working environment may go down to -20C which make it
difficult for human workers. Special low temperature grade machinery are needed to
operate at such low temperature condition. AMR and AGV are widely used in nowadays
warehouse. It can increase efficiency by its automatic sorting capability and can also
work 24hrs per day. Special low temperature grade AMR and AGV is not common in
current market (Annex 5) and the aim of this project is to develop some thermal
management technologies which is essential to enabling AMR and AGV to run at subzero
temperature environment.
A warm electronics box (WEB)(Annex 1) will be developed in this project. The purpose of
WEB is to keep the main controller of the robot at a suitable operating temperature,
preventing humidity and condensation. Aerogel material will be applied to the WEB as an
insulator. Thermal electric cooler (TEC) will be used to control WEB temperature and gold
foil will be deployed to prevent radiation of heat by reflecting heat inside the WEB. For
components such as battery and motor which are outside the WEB, smart blanket (Annex
2) will be developed in order to keep temperature warm (Annex 3). Heat filament and
reflective foil will be integrated to aerogel composite material and an embedded controller
is used to control the temperature of the blanket. Temperature data will be sent to the
robotic operating system (ROS) for monitoring and control. To further enhance thermal
management, the WEB temperature and motor temperature can be raised by a special
control method through a special software. A ROS node (kind of software package) will
be developed to monitor the WEB temperature. If the temperature is too low, it can be
raised by increasing the CPU workload besides using the TEC. This can warm up the
circuit from inside instead of the external TEC. Another ROS node will monitor the motor temperature and inject controlled current to the motor coil in order to raise the core
A sample robot platform will be built to show the effectiveness of the developed
technologies and performs a site trial in a cold warehouse.
Project Coordinator: Dr Ka Lun FAN
Approved Funding Amount: HK$ 2.61M
Project Period: 1 Mar 2022 - 31 May 2023
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