Some Jobs Better Done by a Robot

Having the right people on staff is crucial to the success of every organization. And, Svante (formerly Inventys Thermal Technologies) is fortunate to have gathered a world-class team of strategists, scientists, engineers, technicians, specialists, project developers, and entrepreneurs.

When it came to hiring for one position, however, the company had to look beyond the usual suspects. This role required a person with some unique attributes.

  • Extreme attention to detail
  • Able to single-handedly manipulate large fragile objects
  • Superior vision
  • Absolute accuracy
  • Willingness to work long hours
  • Ability to complete repetitive tasks without diminished performance

The key responsibility of this role is to build the proprietary adsorbent structures that are at the heart of Svante’s carbon capture system. The adsorbent structures are made of layers upon layers of adsorbent sheets. To create these structures, a special adhesive is applied and then individual adsorbent sheets, or laminates, are stacked precisely one on top of the other.

The sheets, which are about 2 feet by 4.25 feet (610mm x 1300mm), are thin and flexible. Handling them is challenging. And, the exact positioning of one on top of the other is critical to maximizing the efficient performance of the materials.

Further analysis revealed the best person for the job wasn’t even a person.

“It wasn’t feasible to scale up our manufacturing process with manual labor,” said Vice President of Manufacturing Operations Daryl Musselman. “The robot uses optical detection system and computer algorithms to ensure repeatable precision stacking.”

Watching the robot work is one of the highlights for visitors that tour the Svante facility in Burnaby. The optical detection system gives the impression that the robot is actually “eyeballing” the surface.  Watch our video and you can see for yourself.

About Svante 

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“It is empowering to know, given my Alberta heritage, our technology can change the climate impacts of the Alberta oil sands regions and generate significant additional economic benefits.”

Brett Henkel

Co-Founder and Vice President Strategic Accounts & Government Affairs

Brett Henkel’s unabashed optimism tempered by his mechanical engineering background and gas separation experience combine to bring a rare perspective to his position on Svante’s executive team.

Transferring the company’s breakthrough CO2 capture technology to customers’ sites will rely heavily on Brett’s strengths for identifying and understanding the technical and business details and relating those details to partners’ teams, approving agencies, and stakeholders.

As co-founder, he was instrumental in creating the process and the hardware used to prove the technology’s effectiveness as well as mobilizing external support throughout the path to becoming a successful innovation. These experiences strengthened his knowledge of business development and program management priorities.

Prior to launching Svante, Mr. Henkel was the program manager for QuestAir Technologies’ compact hydrogen production system with its partner, ExxonMobil. He is credited with designing the world’s first solenoid-driven rapid pressure swing adsorption test station.

Brett received his Bachelor of Science in Physics, with distinction, and a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Victoria.

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