Robotic Energy Recovery Boosts Sustainable Manufacturing

September 27, 2023

With the Australian manufacturing industry facing mounting pressure from the government to prioritise sustainability and environmental awareness, here’s a cutting-edge technical solution designed to align with these imperatives. This innovation extends to installations across the country through Robotic Automation, the exclusive supplier of Yaskawa MOTOMAN Robots in Australia.

Yaskawa Robots

Yaskawa’s pioneering solution revolves around the efficient utilisation of robot braking energy. This feature comes standard and does not require additional hardware. Notably, larger MOTOMAN robots, boasting payloads of 35 kg or more, in conjunction with the latest YRC1000 robot controller, possess the capability to convert kinetic energy generated during downward and sideways motions directly into the in-house power supply system. This transformative process significantly reduces the energy demands of the robots and is referred to as energy recovery.

MOTOMAN robots achieve even greater efficiency gains through their sleek and compact design, characterised by minimal moved masses. Furthermore, they swiftly apply brakes during motion pauses, effectively deactivating active position control when not in use. This intelligent operational concept, including automatic robot shutdowns during planned breaks, contributes substantially to energy conservation.

In the context of their diverse tasks, such as handling, palletising, or machine tending, industrial robots engage in numerous downward and sideways motions. During these operations, the servomotors dissipate energy and can potentially generate surplus current. Older robots or models from other manufacturers will convert this energy into wasteful heat via electrical resistors, ultimately releasing it unused into the environment.

Yaskawa’s solution represents a paradigm shift by channelling this electrical energy back into the user’s in-house power supply system, thus recycling it without requiring supplementary hardware. All MOTOMAN robots with a payload capacity of approximately 35 kg or higher, in tandem with the current YRC1000 robot controller, possess the capacity to directly convert kinetic energy from downward and sideways motions into 400 VAC with 50 Hz, feeding it back into the in-house power supply system. This functionality extends to external axes of the robot as well. Depending on the specific motion profile, this results in a substantial reduction in the robot’s energy consumption.

The magnitude of these savings hinges on the nature of the task and the unique motion profile of the robot, with potential reductions ranging from 8% to 25%. These energy savings have a direct positive impact on the CO2 balance, aligning seamlessly with the need for sustainable manufacturing in the Australian manufacturing industry.

YASKAWA Electric's Life Cycle approach

RA proudly stands as the exclusive supplier of Yaskawa MOTOMAN robots in Australia. Yaskawa’s commitment to energy-efficient, energy recoverable solutions as part of their global corporate strategy is a reflection of their alignment with sustainable development goals. The innovative MOTOMAN robots and regenerative solutions offered by Yaskawa not only exemplify their dedication to sustainability but also represent a significant step towards energy-efficient automation solutions that benefit industries and the environment alike.

Yaskawa Robot plants