Industrial Applications of Mobile Robots

193th August 2019

Warehouse Automation

The onset of Industrial Revolution augmented the usage of mobile robots across different industrial functions, however the latest developments and the pace of business operations made it almost a mandate for many companies to adopt these bots into their everyday operations. Mobile robots, descendants of driverless vehicles that were taken birth in the grocery warehouse of Mac Barret found their place not only within the four walls of industrial warehouse but across different applications like military, security, healthcare, domestic, surveillance and entertainment industries.

Despite their ubiquitous presence across the spectrum, we will discuss the most popular industrial applications & the associated structures here.

Intra-Logistics - Warehouse Logistics

Shelf Units – Semi automated installation (manual intervention) – To transport semi-finished or finished goods between productions, between production and warehouse and/or in warehouse logistics. This is especially useful for automobile or electronics industries where the manufacturing of main products involves assembly of thousands of spare parts.

Conveyor band/belts- This is one of the popular applications of mobile robotics with conveyor top module attached to it. It is used majorly to transport material between fixed conveyor band/belts- it could be between a robotic depalletization unit to shelving unit, or from a palletizing unit to dispatch unit or between production lines or from production line to delivery. These are usually fully automated solutions.

Robotic Arm – A mobile robot mounted with a bin picking robot, popularly used for automatic picking solutions. This solution ensures high picking accuracy and is used for picking fast moving goods with small order size and high volumes. This solution coupled with pick to light makes it a popular Paper Industry

Paper roll handling was one of the important jobs to be performed given the sensitivity of the material. It’s quite common that conventional manual handling of the paper rolls lead to damage of the outer layers of the roll, and that is as much as up to 10cm of the diameter of the roll!
This leads to the adoption of automated guided vehicles for material handling & transportation of paper rolls and pallets of sheeted paper as early as 1970s. With the evolution of Mobile robots & the flexibility they have numerous applications.
In paper industry, vertical paper roll warehousing and horizontal delivery of paper rolls to printing machines is vey typical. To facilitate this, mobile robots are integrated with down ender system.
Hospitals: Another interesting area of application of mobile robotics is Hospitals, where they are used for carrying surgical/medical supplies, linens, medicines, needle trays, and other generic items. Their ability to interact with one another, collision avoidance capabilities with other mobile robots, humans, obstacles like doors, walls... etc make them very flexible to use in multi-specialty hospitals where nurses and other helping staff do walk for kilometres everyday carrying the essential items.

Electronics Industry Electronics industry is characterised by highest quality and product design. It also consists of several serial components of high quality. During the manufacturing & shipping, it is of paramount importance that these spare parts need to be dealt with extreme cleanliness and orderliness. The weights to be transported are usually of standard boxes of size 600mm*400mm. Majorly, in these production sites flexibility is key– both the layout and the processes often change over the course of ongoing optimization. Mobile robots with their reliability and flexibility of operation, exactly fit into the demands of this industry, and have been playing a vital role in material transportation since quite sometime & the trend is only uprising.

Food & Beverage Industry Globally, this industry is booming at a sky rocketing growth rate with numerous players, multiple SKUs and extending every nook & corner. This continuous growth of the sector leads to a great utilization of available space plus the very nature of the products demand quick supply chain operations. Especially beverage industry is subjected to enormous price pressure worldwide. Hence there is an acute need for operational cost savings and even the very marginal price differences can define the fate of the business. This is how automation and mobile robots came into the picture. Popularly piggyback model of mobile robot can be used to perform pallets transportation. These mobile robots are equipped with conveyors to manage pallet pick up and drop off laterally onto stationary conveyor equipment. These robots do offer high amount of operational flexibility.

Way forward
Currently mobile robots are in heavy or unusual payload applications, however flexibility being at the core of their functionality, they are fast penetrating into new industries with each passing day. Mobile robots will soon become the harbingers for realization of ‘Lean Manufacturing’ that connects islands of automation across different business functions. Dynamo, an indigenously developed mobile robot from Addverb can handle multiple payloads from 50Kg to 1500Kg. Based on Natural navigation and advanced control systems this is one of the best in industry.

Read on to know more about it here: https://www.addverb.in/AGV-For-Warehouses-Factories-Mobile-Robotics-Solution.html

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