Sweat Could Keep Soft Robots Cool

It’s easier to spot the differences between men and machines than commonalities; there are some surprising similarities, however. For example, electrical signals control movement in both robots and humans. People and machines both have cooling systems to keep from overheating. If your servos get too hot, your system shuts down; the same thing happens when you overexert yourself in high temperatures. While machines typically rely on things like fans, blowers, and heat sinks to keep cool, researchers are experimenting with heat dissipation for soft robots that resembles the way that humans keep cool: sweating.

Why reinvent the wheel?

Researchers at Cornell University were looking to solve a problem — how do you keep soft robots from overheating? Many of the materials used in soft robotics are susceptible to high temperatures, so heat dissipation is a must. However, the methods and devices that we use to keep our machines cool aren’t soft or flexible.

Instead of trying to develop a completely new technology or cooling system, the researchers did what many roboticists do; they let millions of years of evolution provide the answers.

Sweating is a surprisingly efficient cooling method. According to study co-author Thomas Wallin, sweating can provide around 2.5 kilowatts of cooling capacity over the course of an hour.

Read more about this study from Cornell University.

Are you sweating over your servos?

Indramat servomotors and drives can’t rely on sweat to keep cool. In fact, you want to keep moisture away from your Indramat drives at all costs.  Your system — whether it relies on surface cooling, liquid cooling, or natural convection — must be properly installed and maintained in order to prevent Indramat heat errors. Blockage, pollution, incorrect installation, and defective machinery can cause your machinery to overheat.

Maybe your cabinet stopped cooling a few months ago, your system just generated a heat error code, or you’re worried that your servos are running on fumes. Call 479-422-0390 for assistance with troubleshooting Indramat heat error codes, Indramat repair, or preventive maintenance and inspection for your Indramat motion control system.