Robots help ABQ Sunport cleaning crews disinfect faster

The Albuquerque Sunport is really stepping up its cleaning protocols.

“When COVID-19 started, I think a lot of things started coming to the forefront. How often are we sanitizing tables and handrails and those types of things?” said Stephanie Kitts, Albuquerque Sunport spokesperson.

The Sunport now has an autonomous robot named Breezy One that disinfects. The Sunport got it from Build with Robotics and Fetch Robotics, to help keep areas extra clean.

“We learned about the amazing things they’re doing. They also had a partnership with Electric Playhouse,” Kitts said.

According to Build with Robots, it can safely and effectively decontaminate spaces over 100 thousand square feet in less than two hours.

“They can tell the robot which part of the airport to disinfect, they push the button and Breezy goes and does that part of the job while crews do something else,” said Kimberly Corbitt, Build With Robots Chief Commercial Officer.

And it uses a patented, environmentally safe disinfectant, that was originally developed at Sandia National Labs.

The Sunport says Breezy One will be rolling around every night, to add another layer of protection and to keep travelers and workers safe.

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Local company creates sanitizing robots

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A local company has built a sanitizing robot that’s being used right here in Albuquerque. The robot is called “Breezy One” and it can cover a lot of ground, fast.

“Breezy can go in quickly and efficiently, disinfect a hundred thousand square feet in an hour and a half… while the janitorial staff is off doing something else that’s part of their work. We’re in a time of such uncertainty with so much fear and being able to do something that not only reassures staff that they are working in a safe environment but makes that facility safe for the public,” said Kimberly Corbitt with Build with Robots.

Build with Robots created the Breezy One because of the COVID pandemic. The company teamed up with “Fetch Robotics” of the silicon valley and says it’s specifically designed for large spaces like airports and factories.

The Albuquerque International Sunport currently has four breezy ones cruising around cleaning the facility. The robot has been used before at the Electric Playhouse. It’s been at the Sunport for about a week.

“The disinfecting procedure begins each night after the last flight departs… Breezy One has the terminals digitally mapped out so they are programmed to sanitize the entire space in a very efficient hands-free and safe manner. And the disinfecting space can be re-entered in as little as two hours, with no harmful residue to employees or passengers,” said Jonathan Small a spokesperson for the Sunport.

The sanitizing spray being used by the robots was made at Sandia labs. The company is in talks with other airports to use them there as well. News 13 reached out to APS and we are told the district is aware of products like these but they will consider cost when purchasing cleaning equipment.

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March of the COVID-fighting robots

An army of disinfecting robots has been enlisted in the fight against the coronavirus, as companies seek fast, safe and effective ways of cleaning and sanitizing workplaces and other public spaces.

One of the latest entrants is from Fetch Robotics, a cloud robotics and on-demand automation firm. The company partnered with Build with Robots (BWR), a developer of industrial robots, and the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, to release the Breezy One, a disinfecting autonomous mobile robot.

The companies announced the robot’s debut on June 18.

What is unique about the Breezy One, according to Kimberly Corbitt, Build with Robots’ head of customer engagement, is that it is specially designed for large spaces, such as airports, factories and warehouses.

“It safely and effectively disinfects 100,000 square feet in an hour and a half,” Corbitt told FreightWaves. For comparison, she said, it would take a team of people an entire shift to disinfect a facility of that size.

After the robot has finished cleaning, employees can reenter the space in about two hours, “confident that allergens, bacteria and viruses have been taken out of the air and surface,” Corbitt said.

The Breezy One uses a patented, EPA-registered, government-developed and -tested disinfecting chemical originally developed to kill harmful biological agents. It eliminates around 99.9999% of viruses and bacteria, according to the companies.

A good fit for warehouse and fulfillment

Put into service last month, the Breezy One was developed with the city of Albuquerque’s Aviation Department, where it sanitizes the city’s airport facilities every night. But the team has its eye on other large spaces, which require significantly more manpower and labor costs to sanitize, and which often expose employees to cleaning chemicals that can be harmful in their own right.

Founded in 2014, Fetch Robotics already has a large presence in the warehousing space, Melonee Wise, Fetch CEO, told FreightWaves. “For customers who already have robots, this is going to be a quick and easy add.”

The base of Breezy One is the same generic autonomous mobile robot the company deploys for point-to-point delivery in the warehouse, Wise explained. “Then we marry that with a purpose-built robot for disinfections.”

Since BWR built Breezy One on Fetch Robotics’ cloud software platform, customers can remotely change the robot’s paths, schedules and frequencies as needs change.

Unlike some of the other solutions on the market, the Breezy does not use UV light to kill coronavirus microbes. A growing body of research suggests that UV light can kill the novel coronavirus, and the solution is currently in use as a disinfectant. Amazon, for one, has built a UV-light emitting robot to kill the virus in its Whole Food stores.

While UV light can be effective for smaller spaces with flat surfaces such as surgical units, the Breezy One team believes that is not the best fit for large spaces like warehouses that “don’t have perfectly flat surfaces,” Corbitt said, but are “more textured, like cardboard.”

Warehouses have a lot of corners and edges, “and for that you need an effective and safe chemical that can take things out of the air and can cover those surfaces in a way that UV can never reach,” Corbitt said.

Allaying fears about robots displacing workers, the team said the Breezy One does not replace janitorial staff but instead integrates into their workflows. Disinfecting is dangerous and difficult work, Corbitt noted, requiring workers to suit up with personal protective equipment, carry disinfectant on their backs, and then spray and be exposed to large volumes of chemicals.

“It’s hot, uncomfortable, physically painful and really boring,” she said.

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Fetch Robotics partners with Build With Robots + Albuquerque airport to launch autonomous disinfecting robot

Designed to protect Albuquerque Sunport airport employees and passengers from both harmful pathogens and cleaning agents, Breezy One can quickly, safely and effectively decontaminate spaces over 100,000 square feet in 1.5 hours with a patented, environmentally safe disinfectant.

Breezy One was co-developed with the City of Albuquerque’s Aviation Department, where it autonomously sanitizes the Sunport’s facilities every night in the ongoing fight against Covid-19.

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, many organizations have implemented routine sanitization procedures to eliminate traces of the novel coronavirus from public spaces.

Disinfection is a time intensive task for spaces of any size, as every surface – from visible ones like door handles to less-visible areas like the undersides of seats and tables – has to be sanitized in order to fully eliminate the virus.

These challenges are multiplied for large scale facilities, which require significantly more manpower and labor costs to sanitize, and which often expose employees to cleaning chemicals which can be harmful in their own right.

The Breezy One autonomous mobile robot is the first solution to offer efficient, hands-free, and safe sanitization specifically designed for large scale facilities. Breezy One can disinfect a 100,000 square-foot facility in 1.5 hours eliminating 99.9999% of viruses and bacteria.

The disinfected space can be re-entered in as little as two hours with no harmful residue or risk to employees or passengers.

Co-developed with the City of Albuquerque’s Aviation Department and built in the United States, Breezy One launched earlier this month and has been shown to effectively and safely sanitize the entire airport.

The Build with Robots team is able to remotely change the robot’s paths, schedules and frequencies as needs change, thanks to Fetch Robotics’ cloud software and base robot.

Nyika Allen, director of aviation for the City of Albuquerque, says: “We are pleased to add Breezy One to our team to help keep the entire Sunport community safe. Our custodial staff is one of the best in the nation, and this is a welcomed addition to not only help with our new cleaning and sanitization procedures, but to keep them safe in the process.

“This is one of several measures we’ve put in place to welcome travelers back to the Sunport in a Covid-19 world. We want travelers to know that when they’re ready, we’re ready for them.”

The Sunport is using Breezy One to conduct nightly sanitizing runs to ensure the airport is as clean and safe as possible for passengers and employees each day.

The largest commercial airport in New Mexico, the Sunport currently has four Breezy Ones deployed for facility-wide disinfection.

Thanks to Breezy One, the Sunport is able to protect custodial staff from tactile exposure to Covid-19 germs and harsh chemicals while also allowing them to focus on providing service and value across the airport rather than spending time on extra sanitization procedures.

Kimberly Corbitt, Build With Robots chief commercial officer, says: “At Build With Robots, our mission is to bring safe, effective and scalable sanitization solutions to the places that will have the biggest impact on both visitor and employee safety.

“As the world’s most effective autonomous disinfection robot, we are excited the Breezy One can be deployed to partners like the Sunport where it will keep visitors safe, while also protecting hard-working employees.”

Throughout the design of the Breezy One, a key concern was selecting a disinfectant strong enough to eliminate harmful viruses and bacteria at scale while being safe for employees and passengers to re-enter in a timely manner.

Most disinfecting robots either do not have the high rate of elimination of harmful pathogens or require up to 24 hours before entry back into the disinfected space.

Tim Keller, Albuquerque Mayor, says: “Airports are a heavily trafficked facility, and the Sunport is New Mexico’s largest commercial airport. We have a duty to keep travelers and employees of the Sunport safe and healthy.

“Breezy One and the disinfectant developed right here in Albuquerque are two critical pieces to aid in that very important task.”

Breezy One’s disinfectant was originally developed by Sandia National Laboratories for mitigation and decontamination of chemical and biological agents and is one of the strongest and most vetted disinfection agents commercially available.

The EPA-registered disinfectant has been tested by nine government agencies and over 10 independent laboratories, is effective against viruses (including the novel coronavirus), bacteria and spores, and meets nationwide hospital requirements for pathogen disinfection.

Melonee Wise, CEO of Fetch Robotics, says: “Now, more than ever, the top priority for any facility is to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers.

“Through our work with the Build with Robots team, we were able to move from product conception to commercial deployment in only three months, a timeline that reflects the urgency of the challenge and the world class team responsible for the robot itself.”

 

Click here to the original article in Robotics and Automation news.

NM Entrepreneurs Club Podcast

NM Entrepreneurs Club Podcast

Chris Ziomek, founder of Build With Robots, joins the NM Entrepreneurs Club for the inaugural episode of their podcast series. Learn more about the future of robotics, the founding story behind Build With Robots, and the company’s ambitious goals. The NM Entrepreneurs Club podcast series features innovative, dynamic personalities and industry leaders from our great state. From high technology to master coffee roasters, this podcast shares the best of the Land of Enchantment! Listen here.

Robot Adopters vs. Non-Adopters

Robot Adopters vs. Non-Adopters

A comprehensive study based upon data from Spain shows a stark contrast between firms that adopt robot technology and those that do not. Spain has one of the highest robot density levels per worker in Europe. The data come from the Encuesta Sobre Estrategias Empresariales (ESEE), an annual survey of around 1,900 Spanish manufacturing firms with very detailed information about firms’ manufacturing processes, including the use of robots and other advanced technologies, costs, prices, employment, and so forth.

The graph of Robot Adopters vs. Non-Adopters, which is constructed from the ESEE dataset, provides a clear indication that the adoption of robots greatly influences the labor market. It shows that firms that adopted robots between 1990 and 1998 (‘Robot Adopters’) increased the number of jobs by more than 50% between 1998 and 2016, while firms that did not adopt robots (‘Non-Adopters’) reduced the number of jobs by more than 20% over the same period.

This study provides striking conclusions regarding the implications of production automation and robot technology. The data strongly suggests that Robot Adopters expand their scale of operations and create jobs, while Non-Adopters experience negative output and employment effects in the face of tougher competition. Aggregate productivity gains are partly driven by substantial intra-industry reallocation of market share and resources. In other words, high-productivity Robot Adopters take market share and jobs from low-productivity Non-Adopters. Contrary to some misconceptions around robots, embracing automation will grow jobs and the economy.

machine tending CoBot

Opportunity in Automation

Read about the opportunity in automation — for businesses and workers — described by New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NM-MEP). Two years ago, NM-MEP teamed up with Build With Robots (BWR) to offer CoBot seminars and hands-on CoBot application demonstrations.Today, NM-MEP and BWR continue to work together to build New Mexico’s manufacturing sector, helping companies transition to advanced automation. Continue reading …

Kane Robotics launches in ABQ

Kane Robotics Selects Albuquerque for its New Headquarters

Kane Robotics Inc. announced that it has selected Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the company’s new headquarters. Kane will hire and train workers in Albuquerque to develop robotic systems that finish aerospace structures using technology developed in partnership with Build With Robots (BWR). Kane Robotics is a spinoff of Kane Aerospace, which is located in Chino, California. The company is planning to hire 20 new employees in the next two years to do design, manufacturing and testing.

Since 1958 Kane has provided manufacturing support to top-tier manufacturers in the aerospace and defense industry and was an early adopter of automated processes, said John Spruce, CEO of Kane Aerospace.

“We were looking for a way to further automate repetitive processes and BWR was able to offer us new technology that will reduce the time it takes our customers to finish products, increase productivity, and decrease waste,” Spruce said. “I’ve built and grown a company before in Albuquerque and I know it will be the ideal spot for Kane Robotics thanks to its technical workforce. I’ve used JTIP (Job Training Incentive Program) funds before, and I expect to do the same with Kane Robotics.”

Spruce was CEO of Mechtronic Solutions, Inc., an engineering and manufacturing firm, in Albuquerque that he sold in 2010. He acquired Kane in 2016 and has been growing that company’s customer base by adding automation to its aerospace services, which include tool refurbishing, fastener recovery, and light assembly.

Build With Robots is an Albuquerque company that develops industry-specific solutions using CoBots, or collaborative robots, that help humans work more efficiently. The company is located within the Central New Mexico Community College FUSE Makerspace in Downtown Albuquerque where it showcases automation and robotic solutions.

“Our robots use the latest-generation technology to enhance productivity. We’ll partner with Kane to produce robots that will do the dirty and dangerous tasks, freeing up the humans to be more productive,” said Chris Ziomek, CEO of BWR. “Our robots will do sanding, drilling and cutting that is dangerous, dirty and monotonous for people.”

Read more in the Albuquerque Business First and the Albuquerque Journal.

Five Key Skills for Industry 4.0

2018 Manufacturing Skills Gap Study

This 2018 study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute highlights the seismic shift that will occur over the next decade as the Fourth Industrial Revolution completes its transformation of the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing is experiencing an exponential change, as technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and Internet of Things (IoT) rapidly change the workplace. While some predicted that these new technologies would eliminate jobs, the Deloitte study shows the exact opposite—more jobs are actually being created.

These new manufacturing jobs highlight the increasing problem of a skills gap within the U.S. workforce. Today, in the early stage of digital transformation, there is already a mismatch between the available workers and the skills necessary to fill open jobs. Production workers do not need STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering, math) but rather the ability to program machines on the plant floor. Increasingly, employers are looking for extended computer skills that enable core production workers to program a CNC (computer numerical control) machine for a new job, or interact with CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing) and other engineering or manufacturing software. Manufacturing executives stated the top five skill sets required in the coming three years due to the influx of automation and advanced technologies are: technology/computer skills, digital skills, programming skills for robots/automation, working with tools and technology, and critical thinking skills.

At Build With Robots, we assist others to leverage advanced automation technologies. We provide access, training, expertise and business opportunities for organizations and individuals to apply disruptive automation including collaborative robots (CoBots).  We believe that People and Robots Working Together enhances productivity and workforce satisfaction. Our mission is to create the next generation of manufacturing jobs and workers.