Reinventing intralogistics

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A comprehensive approach to automation requires networking – not just between the individual components. Because for something really ground-breaking to emerge, already the development must be aligned. This is the only way that the end product is more than the sum of its parts. For this purpose, ROEQ joined companies Ecosphere Automation, EFFIMAT, MIR (Mobile industrial Robots), Piab, robominds, Sick and Universal Robots (UR) to develop a new comprehensive concept for production assembly – SINA. This was launched at an event in Germany to the press and key customers.

See details of the event and reactions to what was shared here:

The production of complex products requires a large number of individual components that must be available continuously in the right amount at the workbench – whether fully automatically or manually operated. Storage space is often limited, and employees are needed in other areas.

Therefore, eight innovative companies combined all their strength, creativity, and passion to change the automation of intralogistics. They have created a unique, intelligent, and complete solution that not only changes the concept of intralogistic workflows, but also improves it.

The solution: SINA – Smart Kitting Solutions for INtralogistics Automation – a solution that automates the intralogistics and material handling from inbound to the finished, delivered kitted items at the individual production lines / work cells JIT (just in time). SINA is a fully automated system from the warehouse lifter to the workbench.

The set-up

In this set up, the central Automated buffer system, EffiMat®, is equipped with two UR10e cobot arms for kitting that ensures unparalleled picking speed which enable the solution to meet any production tact time. The Piab Mini Cobot Gripper (MCG) with MX suction cup combined with the AI-based robobrain.vision system ensures industry leading pick, hit rates and uptime. The finished kits can be buffered in the EffiMat® until needed at the production lines. Once it is needed, the finished kitted factory box is retrieved automatically simultaneously with the UR10e picking the next kits. The retrieval on the rear side of the EffiMat® to the Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR) from MiR, in the case of SINA systems of the model type MiR250 with a ROEQ TR 125 Top Roller and the award winning ROEQ Guard Com which ensures industry leading delivery speed and safety between the conveyor and robot without need of manual labor. 

The entire solution is created with safety at highest level with SICK sBot nanoScan 3, that ensures a flexible and safety environment around the SINA solution.  

The total concept developed by the manufacturers offer customers many benefits

Although various similar systems have been put together in the past by system integrators, the cooperation between manufacturers in this form is unique. Hereby, interfaces can be improved, and the products can be optimally aligned with one another. For the first time, an overall concept is presented, showing what is possible in intralogistics. With this, the cooperation partners want to encourage the intralogistics industry and demonstrate the opportunities in terms of automation and what the products of those involved can achieve.

Such a system has many advantages for the customer. The most important thing is that all components of the system are precisely matched with one another. Ensuring fully automated material handling for picking, while offering a great flexibility for the products to be picked by using AI based vision, it eliminates manual kitting and goods transportation between various workflows. At the same time the error rate is effectively reduced to zero and full tracking and tracing enabled. Thanks to the use of the automated buffer system, up to 75% of space requirements can be saved, releasing critical floor space for other activities. Up to 250 boxes can be dispensed per hour.  With its 24/7 running time, the assembly can take place around the clock, which is particularly interesting in three-shift operation or automated production by increasing working hours.

Different variants possible

Due to the arrangement with a mobile packing station at the front and a conveyor belt at the rear, the user has the option of providing the boxes into which the products are to be sorted in two ways.

Manual handling

In a setup in which the boxes are manually arranged at the packing station and later also manually placed on the AMR from MIR, the safety system sBOT nanoScan3 from SICK ensures that the speed of the cobot is reduced the closer the employee comes to the device and stops entirely the moment the boxes are placed or taken away. The sBOT nanoScan3 security system is the world’s first UR Cap configurable laser scanner for protective applications. Thanks to intelligent functions, security zones can be configured easily.

Fully automated handling

In case of fully automated handling, the UR-10e cobots pick the boxes in the tower and push the finished boxes backwards onto a conveyor belt. The UR-10e cobots are particularly versatile, collaborative industrial robots with a high payload of up to 12.5 kg and an enormous reach of up to 1,300 mm. Thanks to the high degree of flexibility and the multiple set-up options, they are well suited for machine tending and palletizing of goods.The crates are automatically pushed from the conveyor belt onto the AMR from MIR using the ROEQ TR 125 Manual 250 top roller conveyor. The ROEQ Guard Com system can recognize and precisely control the loading station via its WLAN-independent optical measuring system. Position sensors ensure that the roller conveyor does not miss a box or that it only boards the mobile robot if it is correctly positioned in front of the stationary conveyor system. Cargo sensors at the front and rear of the top roller ensure that the packages are securely positioned. Built in barriers protect fingers from being caught in the rollers during operation.

Autonomous delivery of crates to workbenches

The compact Autonomous Mobile Robot MIR250 transports the goods safely, efficiently, and autonomously to their destination by avoiding obstacles such as people. It has a long battery life, efficient safety and navigation features and impresses with its robust and maintenance-friendly design. 

Efficiency thanks to the optimal gripper, intelligent vision system and flexible warehouse lifter

The newly developed MX suction cup from Piab makes it possible to pick up a wide variety of objects. Because this new suction cup is a real all-rounder and was developed by Piab in such a way that it is perfect for holding all products, regardless of what material the product is made of or what surface finish it has. Such a system would not have been possible without this all-rounder, affectionately referred to by robominds as the “supernupsy”. The MCG gripper from Piab, to which the MX suction cup is attached, is a featherweight among cobot grippers at just 270 grams and can lift many times its weight. It is only 28 millimeters high and contains Piab’s powerful vacuum technology, a COAX® vacuum ejector.

The AI-based vision system robobrain.vision recognizes objects without prior training and thus ensures the necessary flexibility when handling objects from a wide variety of products. The complete solution used consists of hardware and software, including the robobrain® industrial PC, a camera and the robobrain.vision software. The AI-based robobrain® takes over the control of the cobots, vision system and gripper, and thus ensures smooth workflow and communication between the different components. The system can be supplemented by various AI-Skills – in the case of SINA, one example is the vacuum picking skill to control the Piab MCG vacuum gripper.

EFFIMAT has perfected the kitting of items in plastic boxes according to the goods-to-man principle for its warehouse lifter and developed an unbeatable, flexible system. The intelligent and patented box mover technology enables the EffiMat® to handle standard boxes dynamically and to work both vertically and horizontally. This leads to a kitting performance that is at least three times higher than that of conventional vertical warehouse lifters. The kitting system can output up to five different standard boxes with different product numbers or articles in each work cycle.

Incoming goods can also be automated

Incoming goods can also be automated via the conveyor belt at the rear of the warehouse lifter and the cobots. Instead of having to refill the goods manually, they are placed on the conveyor. The boxes are unpacked at the goods reception and the contents of the boxes are entered into the WMS system to ensure traceability and an overview of the goods. The EffiMat® has an automatic feed in which the boxes are placed. The buffer system then simply places the boxes in the right place in the work cell.The vision system from robominds sets standards, not only in the recognition and position determination of the products to be kitted for the exact control of the cobot and gripper. The associated software also takes on the function of connectiong all individual components with one another.

Start of a new partnership for the benefit of the customer

For the eight manufacturers, this close type of cooperation means the beginning of a new partnership and the development of a system that provides customers with a smoothly running process. The resulting synergies ensure a high level of efficiency and effectiveness of the solution and the optimal alignment of the best products in the industry. Hence, the customer can be sure that the products will work together in the best possible way and that further developments will also be considered in this system and come into effect.

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