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AI and Position-Sensing Drive Robotics Expansion

By Scott Jenkins, Chemical Engineering magazine |

Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and improved technologies for providing robots with positional awareness have driven an expansion of robotics use in a variety of application areas across the chemical process industries (CPI) Robots have been fixtures on discrete-product manufacturing assembly lines for some time, but they have not seen the same level of penetration into chemical manufacturing. In part, this is because the nature of chemical manufacturing and the complexity and diversity of chemical processes have not lent themselves to the incorporation of robots to the same degree as discrete manufacturing. Now, however, recent developments in a range of different fields, such as artificial intelligence (AI), image analysis and others, have expanded the possible applications for which robots can be deployed. Several new robotics applications can have a significant impact on operations in the CPI. Many of the emerging applications for robots at chemical process facilities involve functions known to be dangerous, difficult or time-consuming for humans to carry out. These include using robots for asset inspections, warehousing, plant security, chemical and materials R&D, picking and sorting operations, among others. The…
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