Mechanical Engineering students embarked on a quest for their honours project to decrease risk to powerline maintenance workers.
The result, created by students Katherine Carlos, Nickita Chen, Fida Hussain, Wenzheng Liu and Sheryl Mourin, is a robotic, remote-controlled hybrid system that detangles kite strings from high transmission powerlines in Indonesia – flying to reach lines that are 30-60 metres off the ground.
With kite fighting a popular pastime in Indonesia – a sport where you try to cut the line of your competitors kite using your own kite – it sees up to 93% of reported blackouts in parts of Indonesia caused by kites getting caught in transmission lines. Removing the kites from high voltage transmission lines takes time, labour and is hazardous for maintenance workers.
With the Indonesian national power utility, PLN, identifying the problem and the Telkom University in Indonesia sponsoring the project, the High Voltage Transmission Line Maintenance Robot project saw the team work on a real-life problem during their honours year.
“Working together towards a real project to be implemented in Indonesia with a team situated in Telcom University, Indonesia, has been engaging and stimulating as we were able to explore new ways to improve the quality of life for people through innovation,” the team said.
“Although maintenance robots surrounding power lines in general is not a novel concept, the technology is constantly improving and has been an incredibly exciting dynamic project to work on!”
What are we excited about?
The robot is essentially a hybrid, integrating both mechanical and electronic components. It features a quadcopter as well as the main traversal and kite thread removal system.
“The hybrid aspect of the design means it can be deployed via remote control up to a maximum height of 80 metres, easily reaching 30-60 metres up to transmission lines, so line workers don’t need to deploy the system manually onto the conductors and removing them from hazardous conditions,” the team said.
Where can you see more?
The team will be showcasing their hybrid system robot at Ingenuity – an interactive showcase of university student projects exploring real-life applications of architecture, engineering, computer and mathematical sciences. Check them out at the Adelaide Convention Centre on 26 October under the Transforming Technologies theme.