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Cooperation Perfects Autonomous Robotic Acoustic Inspection in Industrial Facilities

Boston Dynamics has named Fluke Process Instruments a Certified Technology Provider, recognizing the company’s contribution to mobile acoustic inspection technology. Fluke Process Instruments has enabled its SV600 Fixed Acoustic Imager for integration as a payload in Boston Dynamics’ agile mobile robot Spot. One main application for the smart combo is the detection of compressed air and gas leaks in industrial plants. Users have reported savings from reduced compressed air leaks in the range of tens of thousands of dollars per month.

The manufacturers have been cooperating on making mobile sound detection capabilities available since 2021, launching a working system the same year. Recently, the companies announced the full integration of the acoustic camera payload in the versatile robot system – users can now program and remotely control acoustic measurements and inspection routes via the Spot dashboard and thus locate, analyze and remedy problems faster.

This cooperation was prompted by Boston Dynamics customers who were looking to boost their service personnel’s capacities and asked the robotics company to make the sound measuring capabilities of the handheld Fluke ii900 Industrial Acoustic Imager available with Spot. The initial inquiry led to a speedy dedicated product development by the group member Fluke Process Instruments, which has meanwhile found many uses besides as a Spot payload.

The SV600 acoustic imager features 64 digital MEMS microphones, a camera and a processor. It is sensitive even above human hearing and can detect even small gas leaks in noisy industrial environments. Its functions include noise classification, frequency filtering and mapping dB values and sound intensity. Results are visualized using Fluke’s powerful SoundMap technology. Operators from various industries use the data to improve their plants’ energy efficiency and garner cost savings through reduced compressed air losses and more timely, cheaper repair.

Spot can take over from plant staff as an autonomous inspection unit, carrying out menial and repetitive tasks with utmost precision and allowing technicians to focus on repair and maintenance. The robot completes programmed tours of industrial facilities, taking measurements as often as necessary, transmitting the results remotely and instantly and alerting personnel to user-defined events. It finds its way up and down stairs and around obstacles.

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