07. July 2023

Are you investing in robots? Only in autonomous ones!

Are you investing in robots? Only in autonomous ones!

The difference between autonomous and other robots is abysmal. It is mainly about their navigation, movement in space and equipment that provides greater safety for people and technology moving around the warehouse. Today, autonomous robots are also on the market for pallet transport. Their safety features and power savings are unsurpassed.

Autonomous Mobile Robots or AMRs, as their name suggests, are fully autonomous and independent in their movement. This means they don’t need to have a fixed route. If an obstacle or other unusual situation arises in the area, they can go around it on their own and reach their destination by a different route.

Saves mileage and kilometres driven

The important thing is to figure out where to deploy the robots so that it makes sense. AMRs can handle the classic transport of boxes or racks from A to B, from a certain zone to a roller track, or from one roller track to another. The longer the route over which the robot transports the goods, the faster the return on investment.

Robots can also handle multipicking, where they ride between multiple people. Humans move more safely in just one zone of the warehouse and pick several orders at once flawlessly. This works because the robots have built-in touchscreens and various barcode readers. They can pull orders from the system and show the warehouse worker what items to place in which box. This saves mileage and mileage.

How is it possible that it moves without navigational features?

When the robot first arrives at the warehouse, it scans the entire warehouse or the zone it is to move in. It creates a map to guide itself. The zones that the robot is not allowed to enter can be further modified in the map.

The Robot Operating System (ROS) ensures free and safe movement around the warehouse together with other machinery or people. Robots are able to react to different situations.

The robot’s safety is provided by its equipment. It has a 2D laser scanner that maps the area and detects obstacles. It has two 3D cameras to avoid them in case there are other obstacles above or below the robot. It recognizes very small objects from 1.5 cm but also tall ones to make sure it can fit in the passage. It also has sensors that will stop it if there is another obstacle, such as someone’s foot, where it is placing the load.

Scans the area with 360° coverage. This gives it a big advantage over robots that carry their cargo behind them and create blind spots where they can’t see.

AMR predicts the movement of objects it sees

2D laser scanner and 3D cameras are not enough. Thanks to Voxel technology, the robot predicts the movement of objects it detects in its field of view. It perceives from where, where and at what speed the object is moving. It therefore chooses the best route to avoid the obstacle and continue its work.

The route is not determined by any parent software. Based on all its sensors, the robot determines the route entirely on its own, and if it is faster, it takes a different route each time.

Even pallet transport can be autonomous and much more economical

Today, a pallet with a load of 1,300 kg no longer needs to be transported by a 2.5 t forklift truck. A 700 kg robot can do the job. It uses electricity mainly to transport the load, not itself. This change will save tens of thousands of crowns in electricity consumption.

Of course, they don’t have to transport only pallets. They can also transport containers that have a pallet base. Whether from receiving to stacking, from stacking to shipping or empty pallets from A to B. The load can be lifted to a height of 1.2 m or removed from this height, for example from roller tracks. These do not need to be adjusted as the robot does not have a scissor lift. Nothing restricts it.

It can also handle very tight placement of the load between other pallets or remove a pallet placed crookedly. The pallet is loaded with a slope of up to 10° or 10 cm on each side. A great advantage is that it can turn in a very small space or manoeuvre sideways thanks to its parallel movement.

 

1 hour charging = 8 hours of work

Costs of recruitment, training and induction, salary, social and health insurance, holiday, sick leave, downtime or absenteeism. Everything goes away with robots. They always come to work and can be employed in multiple positions. In the morning he takes the goods from the reception, in the afternoon he goes to dispatch and at night he prepares the goods for the next day.

The biggest robots for transporting the heaviest loads work for 8 hours straight on a single charge. If they don’t have another job lined up, they charge continuously. Battery life is around 4-6 years. Basic servicing of robots should be carried out twice a year.

Multi-shift operation significantly reduces the return on investment, but they are also suitable for single-shift operation. Other robots are no obstacle either. The supplied fleet management manages and synchronises the work of different types of robots, even from different manufacturers, as long as they support the VDA 5050 standard.

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Robot manufacturers Knapp and Zebra Technologies trust Sluno. It is therefore their key certified partner for the implementation, operator training and servicing of robots in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

“We usually start our cooperation with clients who are interested in robotics with a Proof of Concept, or a loan of a robot for a test run. We want our customers to use the robot to the maximum and to get the shortest possible return on investment. That’s why we start with a process analysis. We suggest which robot is the most suitable, what it could transport and where. We start a test run and deploy the robot directly into the client’s warehouse for 2-3 weeks. We then evaluate the operation and present the results.” says Radim Tvardek, Head of Robotics at Sluno.

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