Tuesday 25th Feb 2020 - Robotics and Innovation

Schindler launches autonomous drilling robot for elevator shafts

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Elevator and escalator provider Schindler has launched a pilot project featuring an automated robot-assisted installation system that drills holes and installs anchor bolts in elevator shafts.

The Robotic Installation System for Elevators solution aims to improve quality and ease working conditions for elevator installers.

Christian Studer, head of new technologies at Schindler, said: “Drilling holes to install anchors in a concrete elevator shaft is a painstaking, repetitive and physically exhausting task.

“High accuracy and full concentration are essential to working safely and precisely.

“Hundreds of anchor bolt holes are required to install a lift in a high-rise. The shaft is noisy and dusty and the work taxing.”

Schindler launched the pilot project in collaboration with university of science and technology ETH Zurich and ABB Robotics.

The robot selected for the pilot is an ABB IRB 2600, which has a reach of 1.65m and a payload of 29kg.

The solution comprises an autonomous installation system that moves independently from floor to floor by means of an automated hoist.

The IRB 2600 is mounted on a platform, which a temporary hoist moves up and down in the elevator shaft

The installation system uses an algorithm to calculate tolerances and repositions the holes as necessary.

Before starting, the robot scans the shaft wall to determine if there is hidden rebar underneath or if the concrete surface is uneven.

Sensors check to ensure the hole has been drilled in the right place before the robot hammers in the anchor bolts and moves on to the next drilling location.

Although a camera is mounted on the platform to allow remote viewing and all data related to drilling the hole is documented, the system operates autonomously.

“This autonomous system allows us to bring digitalisation directly to the construction site,” said Studer.

“It is thanks to the latest sensor developments and artificial intelligence that we were able to implement this solution successfully.”