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Advanced robots ease electric grid maintenance

chinadaily.com.cn Updated: 2022-01-13

Video by Rui Jia and Li Fei/For China Daily

New robots capable of maintaining the electrical grid when the power is on will see wider use throughout China, according to State Grid Tianjin Electric Power Co.

The robots, with artificial intelligence, have been used in 18 provinces and municipalities, including Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei for the last two years.

The industrial value of the robots soared to 700 million yuan ($110 million) after the company announced in 2019 that the devices were the first of their kind. In the past, power had to be shut down for maintenance procedures.

To date, the robots — under the Liming brand, named for the inventor, senior engineer Zhang Liming, a national role model — have been used in 10,000 maintenance projects to date.

Zhang said that because the environments in distribution networks vary, the AI-based robots are especially useful. They are able to carry out precise procedures thanks to their sensing and movement technologies and can avoid electromagnetic interference.

The technologies have helped the country close gaps with the world, State Grid Tianjin said.

Tianjin-based State Grid Ruijia, a joint venture of State Grid and other investors engaged in the mass production of the robots, received orders exceeding 1 billion yuan as of the end of 2021.

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