GE´s Gentle Giant Robots: Helping Create Cleaner Power for Humans

March 16, 2017

Robots come in many shapes, sizes and iterations. And though most of us envision the gleaming cyborgs or giant armored machines gleaned from decades of science fiction, at GE, robots are helping one of its Distributed Power manufacturing facilities become safer, more cost effective and efficient.

Making its debut in Jenbach, Austria, a different kind of robot is now working alongside its human brethren. A giant robot named Goliath is helping GE staff manufacture some of the most efficient, cleanest, high tech gas engines in the world, faster and safer than ever before. With a power range of 100 kW to 10 MW, they can run on a variety of fuels, including natural gas, biogas, coal seam gases and associated petroleum gases.

The Jenbacher* gas engines produced with Goliath are used in dozens of applications, like hospitals, power plants, greenhouses, residencies and even other factories to produce power, heat and cooling. They are particularly popular for renewable and waste-to-energy, industrial power generation—or any place that faces challenging conditions, difficult fuel gases, or benefits from power that needs to be produced at or near the point of use, anytime and on or off the grid.

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GE´s FANUC M2000 900l, i.e. Goliath, may be named after the biblical giant because of size, but it’s is certainly not a fighter. A six-axis industrial robot with a massive reach of just over 15 feet, Goliath was introduced to help gently lift and place tremendously heavy cylinder heads and connecting rods (up to 926 pounds) perfectly during the milling process. And because the colossal behemoth can serve parts for up to three milling machines, plant employees no longer need to touch the parts for handling activities. This allows just one employee to operate an entire portion of the assembly process.

Manufactured in Japan, with programming designed and created by GE internal experts in Austria, Goliath uses sensors to help its operator monitor performance and gather data for continuous improvement. “These advanced analytics not only help improve the factory’s work, but help us to advance the speed of production for the entire facility,” says Martin Mühlbacher, Global Supply Chain site and production leader at GE Power’s Distributed Power business in Jenbach, Austria, “As one of GE´s seven Brilliant Factory showcases our Global Supply Chain team strive to combine lean manufacturing and enhanced productivity with analytics to improve outcomes. Goliath is a big example of that.”

So, next time you’re regaled with tales about futuristic, fantastical robotic technology, remember Goliath and the many other GE giant robots working happily and efficiently to bring electricity to thousands of humans and helping to power everyone with cleaner, greener energy.

*Indicates a trademark of the General Electric Company

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