Manufacturing AUTOMATION

COVID-19 Updates News Robotics
NGen and industry invest $10M in manufacture of disinfection robots


July 8, 2020
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen) is co-investing $5 million in projects leading to the development and production in Canada of automated hands-free disinfection technologies to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

NGen is the industry-led organization facilitating Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster.

Five projects have been selected for funding under NGen’s Disinfection Robot Challenge. With matching contributions from industry, total value of these projects will exceed $10 million.

In April, NGen challenged companies to develop innovative robotic solutions that would reduce the number of health care–associated infections to protect the safety of both patients and health-care workers, or that would disinfect private spaces and facilities so that businesses could bring employees back to work in a safe and sanitized environment.

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In order to qualify for funding, projects were expected to have a fast turnaround, demonstrating an impact on COVID-19 within six months. NGen received 34 expressions of interest and 19 proposals from companies across Canada.

“Canada has an opportunity to be a world leader in developing and producing large-scale disinfecting solutions based on our outstanding advanced manufacturing capabilities,” says Jayson Myers, CEO, NGen.

“Disinfection robots have been deployed successfully in other countries and are showing promising results in terms of reducing the spread of COVID-19 as well as other infectious diseases. Scaling up these capabilities in Canada will spark an entirely new ecosystem around advanced robotic disinfection, creating new business opportunities, jobs and knowledge, and above all anchoring more manufacturing here at home.”

The five projects that were selected for funding a panel of independent experts are led by:

A&K Robotics, Vancouver, BC

With its partner, Sanctuary AI, A&K Robotics will develop and rapidly bring to market Amrud, a self-driving robot capable of autonomously disinfecting large areas of floor spaces and high-touch surfaces.

Matthew Anderson, CEO of A&K Robotics, says, “Amrud will assist frontline workers (medical and other) in the fight against COVID-19, make our workplaces and schools sufficiently safe to allow workers and students to return safely back to their jobs and studies, and help prevent other pandemics from breaking out in the future.”

AIS (Advanced Intelligence Systems), Burnaby, BC

AIS will produce a robot that will map large-scale environments such as hospitals, navigate to interest points, and perform hands-free UV disinfection without requiring human intervention.

“We strongly believe this project will be instrumental in supporting hospitals, elderly homes and health-care workers to manage resources more effectively during and in the post-COVID-19 pandemic. AIS plans to incorporate more of its robotics modules in the future to cater its disinfection, surveillance and detection capabilities to restaurants, offices, warehouses and manufacturing plants,” says Afshin Doust, CEO, AIS.

CrossWing, Aurora, ON

CrossWing will manufacture Cleanbot UV and Cleanbot MIST, two next-generation robots that overcome serious limitations of first-generation disinfecting systems.

Cleanbot UV will allow for the targeted delivery of UV light to where it is critically needed. Cleanbot MIST will deliver a precisely measured spray dose to all common pathogen hotspots.

“CrossWing has been able to leverage our expertise in robotics and automated systems to deliver a fully autonomous solution to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and other pathogens,” says Stephen Sutherland, CEO of CrossWing.

GlobalDWS, Toronto, ON

GlobalDWS will develop GlobalDWS’ Disinfection Service Robot (DSR). DSR is a fully autonomous, voice-enabled service robotic platform with advanced cognitive capabilities.

The solution is equipped with an intelligent COVID-19 assistant, disinfectant sprayer and UV-C light functionality to provide a comprehensive disinfection solution for essential businesses and public workplaces.

“The DSR combines a two-barrier disinfection solution to ensure all high-touch and high-risk areas receive adequate and consistent doses of disinfectants through an intelligent robotic platform. This innovative solution will support the lifelong paradigm shift our communities need as we transition to the new future of private and public place sanitization,” says Rami Wehbe, co-founder and CTO of GlobalDWS.

Prescientx, Cambridge, ON

Prescientx will develop and deploy a fleet of self-driving mobile robotic vehicles integrated with an UltraViolet (UV) light disinfection system to quickly and continuously sanitize essential workplaces, protecting workers against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

The solution will combine Prescientx’s patent-pending targeted CoolDose UVC technology with Clearpath Robotics’s OTTO autonomous mobile robot platform.

“The first wave of mobile UV light-emitting vehicles will be deployed immediately in controlled-access health-care settings,” says Barry Hunt, president and CEO of Prescientx.

“A second wave of vehicles is targeted for essential workplaces and manufacturing environments to sanitize medical and food supply chains, decontaminate busy warehouse operations and disinfect assembly lines between shifts. OTTO robots are already being used in these settings to move materials.”