Connected Manufacturing with Robotics - A Whitepaper for Enhanced Productivity

Mobile robot for autonomous transportation

Transportation between individual facilities is a monotonous task for which personnel is often hard to find. Nevertheless, it is essential in the industry and usually takes place without interruption and including night shifts. Our mobile robots take over this activity around the clock and perform the assigned tasks with the highest precision.

Mobile robots are increasingly being used in industry for transportation. They must comply with numerous regulations and operate extremely precisely. The goods transported between different types of facilities are just as diverse as the requirements of customers. In this report, we will show you the use of a mobile robot using a concrete example from the medical industry. It involves racks filled with pipettes that need to be transported back and forth between two facilities. Our construction, a combination of cobot, transfer device, and mobile robot, stands between these two facilities.

Step 1: The cobot grabs the racks

The continuously repeating process begins with the use of the cobot. Its robot arm has a reach of 1.6 meters, can carry a payload of 10 kilograms, is 360 degrees rotatable, and is equipped with a gripper developed by us. The suction cups on this gripper use vacuum technology to pick up the racks filled with pipettes from the first facility, the robot arm swings over to the second facility, and the gripper places the racks there. The second facility removes the pipettes from the racks, after which the gripper picks up the empty racks and places them on the transfer device.

If someone touches the robot arm, it immediately goes into a safe position for security reasons. Additionally, it has no sharp edges to minimize the risk of injury.

Step 2: The transfer station transfers racks

The conveyor belts on the transfer station now transport the empty racks to the mobile robot.

Step 3: Mobile robot takes over transportation

Now the mobile robot is called upon. It must transport the empty racks back to the first facility so they can be refilled with pipettes. To do this, it drives around the facility, unloads the empty racks at the back of the facility, and then drives back empty to the transfer device to load the next racks.

How does the mobile robot work?

The autonomous mobile robot receives a signal from the facilities when the racks are ready to be picked up. It is also equipped with sensors that help it recognize obstacles on its transport path and flexibly avoid them. If someone stands in its way, it immediately stops. Therefore, it is sufficient if the mobile robot knows its destination, and it calculates the optimal path itself. In addition, exclusion zones can be programmed to keep it away from certain areas.

For locomotion, the mobile robot has two driving wheels in the center, supplemented by four supporting wheels. The robot can rotate 360 degrees on these two driving wheels in place, making it extremely agile and able to move easily even in production halls with narrow space conditions.

Depending on the model, the mobile robot can carry up to 1.5 tons. Its battery must be recharged every 10 hours. Therefore, customers have two robots: while one is in use, the other charges at the charging station. The two robots switch independently.

If necessary and if the legislation of the respective industry does not require re-verification, the customer can also adjust the mobile robot's travel routes and speed themselves.

With the expertise of Robotec Solutions for the ideal solution

We use our many years of expertise in robot automation to develop individual solutions, test the interaction of facilities and robots, and perfectly tailor everything to the customer's needs.

The result is a mobile robot that carries out the desired transportation with maximum efficiency and highest precision. It takes on monotonous tasks or those that cannot be performed by humans due to a shortage of skilled workers. At the same time, the mastermind - the main computer - records the entire product flow, which is particularly required in the medical industry and would be a very time-consuming and hardly manageable task for humans. Since a fixed construction between the plants would also block unnecessary paths, the use of a mobile robot is ideal. This solution also offers maximum flexibility in the event of plant shifts or a move.

See the interaction of robots at our Tech Day

Meanwhile, in addition to the approximately 800 installed industrial robots, numerous mobile robots are also in use, which have been equipped by Robotec Solutions as required and linked to existing stand-alone devices. More are on order. You can see one of them live at our TechDay on 31.05.23. Best secure your spot now and register online. We look forward to seeing you there. See you soon!

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