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Duct Cleaning- The Robotic Way

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HVAC duct cleaning has always remained a difficult function for the occupants and the service providers. The newage solution to this problem is the Duct cleaning robot, designed to improve the quality of cleaning ventilation ducts.

In the conventional method of inspection and cleaning, the technician/cleaner have to physically enter the duct, inspect the conditions and then take action. The air inside the duct is impure and the process laborious. Answer to this is the compact Duct Robot indigenously developed and being marketed in India by SK Robotics, a division of the Mumbai based SK group and its subsidiary company Robotic Consultancy Services. The company offers multi-disciplinary robot solutions for all non-industrial applications and for use by professional duct cleaners of HVAC and contractors. “When we started Robotics Consultancy, our objective was to offer personal services to all users. We were able to gather a large pool of talents from robotics intelligence area from across the world. Having worked in Robotics space myself for over five years while I was studying in the US helped too. We have put in four years of R& D to develop the product. With the Duct Robot, all one has to do is to pull down one of the duct vents to let the robot go inside. It can inspect up to thirty meters in length and if there is anything wrong, the cleaning equipment can be sent directly. We have had several installations in India recently in companies like Blue Star and Epsco.“ Said Mohit Motani, Founder and Director, Robotic Consultancy Services.

The Robotics System is integrated with a digital video reorder controlled by PS2 joystick for inspection purpose inside the duct and an air-whip system for duct cleaning. The high pressure air instigates the plastic whips which in turn dislodges the dust and foreign objects embedded onto the duct surface. The equipment comes in a light weight modular box for easy and safe transportation. The product was placed among the top 35 innovations of 2011 by Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Technology Review magazine.

An additional advantage with Duct Robot is that the frequency of inspection would increase with its usage as it eliminates the need for manual inspection. “If you want to inspect an office of 3000sqft, you will have to shut down the office for the entire day, pull down entire ducting system, inspect it, clean it and then install it resulting in loss of a working day. With this Robot, duct cleaning can be done even once a week without disrupting the workplace schedule. The sectors which can be benefitted most are Pharma and Healthcare,” added Mohit.

Another big application for this robot is the shipping industry. Whenever the ship is dry docking for maintenance, use of Robot drastically reduces the cleaning time. One can have close to twenty robots going into all the ducts at one go, cleaning the entire system and exiting within two-three hours time. On the other hand, manual cleaning would take three days. “Being locally developed with local technology, the cost of our robot is much less compare to the ones available in Europe.”

Robotics Consultancy Services offers turnkey solutions for installing the product and the availability of pan India service facilities give the clients the much needed support. Says Mohit, “The key here is to understand the customer’s requirements and translate the technical integration in most effective manner. We have the base platform; what we need to do is customize a little bit to meet our customers’ requirements. For example, if the duct robot needs to go inside the duct and spray antibacterial sprays to disinfect the duct in a hospital, we have a spray package that can be installed on this; you have many add-ons and variations of the robot.”

The company is soon coming up with the version 2.0 which is completely autonomous and a bit more dynamic in nature. It can be set on cruise control mode avoiding manual control using PS2 controller. “It will have forward and reverse options; you just press a button and it keeps going forward and inspect up to a length of 30 to 50 meters; should you find any problem, you video record it and the robot can be sent to the exact location that needs cleaning.”

The life of duct robot is seven years. In the first year, there is a completely free replacement warranty. “Even if you drop it from the height of 40ft, there is nothing that can possible go wrong with it. With different market applications you use this in a different way; in the HVAC industry, you will consider this as an asset, as it will last for seven years. People are still not very aware as to how important it is for the air to be pure. However, we do get calls from customers asking for duct inspection.”

The company’s other products include Robotic Surveillance System and Advertising and Marketing Robot which find wide application as a Mobile Service Guide at airports, shopping complexes, restaurants, hotels, corporate buildings and Advertisement Robot for event management companies.

 

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