Improving Distribution Center Sustainability: HASEL Actuators in Accumulation Conveyors

Updated: Jan 31

Warehouses and distribution centers operate around the clock processing immense volumes of goods. The energy costs to support these operations are huge in both monetary and environmental terms. Due to the constant operation and scale, even small efficiency improvements can significantly reduce operating costs and carbon emissions.


As warehouses and distribution centers seek more sustainable operations, traditional pneumatic (air-powered) systems are under scrutiny. Large-scale pneumatic systems are inefficient, loud, leaky, troublesome, and very difficult to optimize. This results in enormous electricity usage and an opportunity for massive cost savings and sustainability improvements.


Large compressed air systems are some of the most environmentally and economically expensive power systems in a plant, with efficiencies as low as 10-15% (U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Tips - Compressed Air, August 2004). In comparison, electrical systems can be as high as 80% (British Fluid Power Association: New developments and new trends in pneumatics, FLUCOME key-note lecture 2000).


Pneumatic power is a century-old technology, and its limitations struggle to meet the expectations of 21st-century warehouses. Worker safety is paramount, yet the large compressors that supply entire distribution centers emit dangerously high levels of noise. Air lines are notoriously leaky, wasting energy and requiring overdesigned compressors. Additionally, air systems offer minimal connectivity options, meaning that separate sensors are required for diagnostics, or maintenance teams have to search large sections of conveyors to find and resolve problems.


These challenges, coupled with sustainability improvements and operating costs reductions, are motivating many fulfillment centers to convert to electrical systems. While many pneumatic components have a direct replacement electric component, accumulation conveyor actuators have historically been limited to pneumatics. However, new HASEL electric actuators from Artimus Robotics offer an electric alternative to pneumatic accumulation conveyor actuators. HASEL actuators operate silently and have integrated intelligence supporting connected communication with Warehouse Management Systems. These actuators are inexpensive as scale, offer quick changeout (minimum downtime), and have analog control.


The following video demonstrates the new HASEL actuators as smart electric alternatives for accumulation conveyor actuators. Please contact Artimus Robotics at info@artimusrobotics.com to learn more.



About Artimus Robotics

Artimus Robotics designs and manufactures soft electric actuators. The technology was inspired by nature (muscles) and spun out of the University of Colorado. HASEL (Hydraulically Amplified Self-healing ELectrostatic) actuator technology operates when electrostatic forces are applied to a flexible polymer pouch and dielectric liquid to drive shape change in a soft structure. These principles can be applied to achieve a contracting motion, expanding motion, or other complex deformations. For more information, please visit Artimus Robotics or contact info@artimusrobotics.com.


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