MegaBots and DSTI Team Up to Build Giant Fighting Robots

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - April 10, 2018 - MegaBots, Inc. is what childhood dreams and fantasies are made of. The thought of human-piloted, giant fighting robots may seem unthinkable to most, but for three engineers, Gui Cavalcanti, Matt Oehrlein and Andrew Stroup, their dreams were never too far out of reach.

"We started this project because we all grew up seeing the giant robots of science fiction, video games and movies. We wanted to make those dreams become reality," said MegaBots co-founder Matt Oehrlein.

During their journey of building Eagle Prime, the world's largest (16 ft. tall), heaviest (12-ton), most powerful (430 horsepower, V8 engine) and most expensive ($2.5M) sports combat robot in history, MegaBots turned to DSTI for its track record in developing fluid sealing solutions for challenging rotating applications.

MegaBots required a rotary union to safely transfer hydraulic fluid and electrical wires from the robot's tracked base through the rotating torso to the upper half of the robot.

With the first-ever duel against Japanese group Suidobashi Heavy Industry's robot named Kuratas fast approaching, DSTI suggested an existing off-the-shelf solution often used in construction and forestry equipment.

"We were able to provide a quick solution utilizing our HVH Series rotary unions which offers a heavy-duty, high-flow volume option equipped to power the robot's torso movements," said DSTI Sales Engineer Jeremy Weigel.

In October 2017 (three years into the making) MegaBots' Eagle Prime battled Kuratas in a fight to the [robot] death. After three rounds, Eagle Prime whipped out its massive chainsaw and dismembered Kuratas, putting an end to the carnage and becoming the world's first giant fighting robot champion.

Even with a win under their belt, the MegaBots team felt there was still room for improvement. "We designed Eagle Prime to be able to control the battlefield, so each arm could pick up a 2,500lb car or punch through gigantic obstacles, but we realized during the fight arm speed matters more than strength," said MegaBots co-founder Gui Cavalcanti.

To address this, MegaBots went back to the drawing board and designed a new, faster arm with more human-like movements. They also addressed another huge weak point and liability on Eagle Prime; the exposed hoses on the outside of the arms. "One of the biggest challenges of a robotic arm like ours is getting hoses through rotating joints," Cavalcanti said.

To solve this, DSTI manufactured a custom hydraulic rotary union that allows the hoses to be routed into the middle of the arm while providing 360 degrees of continuous shoulder rotation.

"DSTI rotary unions allow us to direct hoses down the middle of our upper arm which keeps them protected during battle," Oehrlein said.

"This project has been a huge success. We've been able to redesign our arms for armed high speed punching."

So, what does the future hold for giant fighting robots? The MegaBots brand continues to expand in a recent partnership with Freejam Games' Robocraft. The online video game allows players to build their own combat robots from scratch and take them out onto the battlefield.

The company also dreams of robot wars becoming an arena combat sport, but only time will tell if this large-scale vision will become a reality.

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