Sample Collection, Processing & Analysis
Honeybee Robotics’ geotechnical work focuses on the entire sample acquisition and analysis chain. Sample preparation is at the heart of this process: a well-prepared sample is essential for accurate geotechnical analysis. Automated sample processing and sample preparation systems must be rugged enough to withstand vibration and harsh environments, but also low-power and lightweight for mobile applications.
Honeybee’s Mechanized Sample Handler (MeSH) is a prototype miniature centralized sample preparation station that could be mounted on a rover for a future mission to Mars. MeSH crushes small rock cores to powder, then sieves and distributes it in measured aliquots to one or more instrument inlet ports. This system provides a complete core-to-instrument processing solution. It features a fast, efficient, fully automated 8-axis mechatronic system.
Honeybee’s Grinding/Polishing Station (GRITS) is an autonomous three-station operation that can autonomously grind and polish, measure thickness, and measure surface finish to produce very thin samples of rock for geotechnical analysis. The autonomous system produces thin sections, on the order of 30 microns, with a surface roughness of 0.3 microns or better. These samples can then be analyzed by reflected light, polarized light, or other techniques to understand the geological composition of the rock.