INNOVATIVE MOBILE ROBOTS RELY ON KAYDON BEARINGS FROM RA RODRIGUEZ
Q-Bot is using high-precision Kaydon thin-section bearings from R.A. Rodriguez (U.K.) Limited on the wheel hubs of intelligent mobile robots that spray insulation foam to the underside of suspended floors. With this advanced solution, Q-Bot improves the health of buildings, reduces energy usage and paves the way for a sustainable construction industry. In total, the company uses 10 Kaydon bearings per robot.
Established in 2013, the mission of Q-Bot is to transform the built environment by becoming the global leader in robotic and AI systems that apply materials in order to construct, maintain and upgrade buildings. To drive this ambition, Q-Bot has developed a robotic solution that can fit through a small opening and spray insulation in situ without having to deconstruct the house.
Of course, the reliability and performance of Q-Bot mobile robots is only as good as its component parts, which is why the company undertook comprehensive research before committing to a supplier of wheel hub bearings.
“The working environment for our mobile robots is usually dirty and confined,” explains Chris Hamblin, Senior Engineering Manager at Q-Bot, which has its headquarters in Wandsworth, London. “As a result, the robots must be robust and powerful, yet adopt the most compact form possible.”
Each robot, which measures just 400 mm wide by 550 mm long, features four wheels with 200 mm diameter tyres. Manoeuvrability is a key feature for installation success: the robot must navigate around obstacles and be sufficiently adaptable to reach the optimum spraying positions.
“The hub of each wheel is around 100 mm in diameter, which is where the Kaydon thin-section bearings from Rodriguez locate – two per wheel,” explains Chris. “We really like these bearings because they are robust yet offer a small/low profile. In addition, Rodriguez supplies us with the sealed versions, so we get extra protection from dirt, dust and other contaminants.”
Q-Bot has been taking advantage of Kaydon bearings for the past five years.
“I joined the company in 2016 and I didn’t think the existing wheels offered sufficient torque output,” says Chris. “Following a re-design I set about sourcing components that would help bring the new concept to life. A Google search led me to R.A. Rodriguez, who duly provided samples of Kaydon thin-section bearings that proved ideal for our wheel hubs. The bearings are not only compact and lightweight, but their 4-point contact ball design means they can take both radial and axial loads.”
Says Chris: “We also use other sizes of Kaydon bearings in the robot’s spinning laser turret and its cylindrical spray platform. The bearing for the latter helps provide two degrees of freedom – yaw and pitch. So, with two bearings per wheel, we in fact use 10 Kaydon bearings per mobile robot.”
Ultimately, Q-Bot’s technology reduces risks for workers and brings much-needed quality, accountability and informed, data-based decision-making to building management. The company has completed thousands of installations to date and has many patents in place globally to protect its innovative processes.
Such is the company’s level of technical excellence that in 2020 Q-Bot secured a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category. This prestigious award builds on several previous accolades, including an Ashden Award for Sustainable Buildings and a CIBSE Building Performance Award in the Product and Innovation category.