Siemens Energy

MIRAI Use Case

MIRAI Case Study

Siemens Energy, a leading energy technology company, intends to automate a process step in the refurbishment​ of a gas turbine vane. After four years of use (during operating hours), the vanes are reshaped and surface treated. Along the surface of the vanes are hundreds of tiny drillings, each roughly two millimeters wide. The drillings were used for air cooling during the vane’s previous use — when temperatures in the turbine get so hot that the vanes would melt without measures like air cooling and coatings. In the refurbishment process, the drillings must be filled in before surface treatment. This involves inserting a thin needle into every individual drilling and dispensing soldering paste​. The dispensing task brings three main challenges:

  • The drilling positions on the vane deviate because of temperature deformation of the vane during prior use.
  • The soldering-paste dispensation is cumbersome, with hundreds of drillings to be filled. It takes hours for a human to fill them all.
  • The vanes themselves come in different versions and different states of wear.

Siemens Energy is a trademark licensed by Siemens AG.

The Solution

MIRAI is a vision-based robot control system from Micropsi Industries that, using artificial intelligence, enables robots to deal with complexity in production that would be otherwise impossible or extremely difficult to get around with hand-engineered solutions, prohibitively expensive as well. MIRAI attaches to and augments industrial robots. Once fitted with MIRAI, a robot can perceive its workspace and correct its movement where needed as it performs a task. MIRAI can be easily and quickly trained or retrained for myriad tasks by those with no background in engineering or artificial intelligence.

Compared with other available automation solutions, MIRAI makes it possible for:

  • Industrial robots to deal with all the variance that crops up in production.
  • Workers to use machine vision out of the box. They can set up the system and train a skill in only a few hours.
  • Workers without expert knowledge in robotics programming or artificial intelligence to train robots.

When deployed for a task, the MIRAI system kicks in for a complex step or steps in the application process.

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The Solution Setup

Thanks to the MIRAI robot control system, Siemens Energy is now able to automate the process step in the refurbishment​ of gas turbine vanes. An industrial robot equipped with MIRAI can insert the dispensing needle into the drillings of the turbine vane, overcoming:

  • Variance in the drilling position,
  • Variance in the shape of the vane,
  • Variance in the condition of the vane.

During the overall automation task, the MIRAI system kicks in for the complex parts. MIRAI handles the movement of the needle from one drilling to the next drilling along the vane's edge as well as the precise insertion of the needle into the drillings. For its part, the robot’s native controller handles the dispensation of the soldering paste and other predetermined parts of task. Training the MIRAI-powered robot took only a few days and was done by Siemens-Energy engineers.

The needle dispenses paste into drillings, each about 2mm wide.

The vanes are found inside the Siemens Energy gas turbine.

General MIRAI-Robot Setup

A MIRAI controller
B Robot
C Force-torque sensor
D Gripper
E Camera
F Ring light

Return on Investment

The return on investment for this solution (MIRAI plus a collaborative robot) is less than one year. This particular scenario assumes a standard robot cell, a two-shift operation, and a cost of €43,200 for each factory worker.

Book a Demo

Would you like to schedule a free MIRAI demo? Want to learn more about the system and what it can do for your operation? Talk to one of our automation experts.

Contact us