Robotics Team Expands Epilog's Portfolio of Logistics Solutions
07. 02. 2019
The universal AGV platform will enable the implementation of the most demanding intralogistics applications in environments with a multitude of diverse products and transport vehicles, where space is scarce and cooperation with humans is necessary.
In the market today, we are witnessing a radical transformation of classical production-logistics systems into smart factories where static configuration of specific dedicated devices and processes is giving way to flexible configuration.
Workplaces as we know them are changing into flexible spaces of dynamic cooperation between people, robots, materials, products and production equipment. The role of conveyor belts and forklifts in intralogistics processes is being taken over by mobile robots –autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) – in combination with robotic grippers. Only by embracing these changes and adapting to new modes of work will it be possible to keep pace with market requirements and rapidly change the product range offered, while at the same time adapting every product to the customer's demands at the price of a serial product.
Focus: Development of Electronic Equipment and Software for AGVs
It was while developing high-tech automation with AGVs that Epilog recognised an opportunity and, about 18 months ago, embarked on the path of developing a universal AGV platform. This platform will enable us to implement the most demanding intralogistics applications, even in environments that are not covered by major providers of such solutions; for instance, in environments with many diverse products, numerous transport vehicles and a lack of space, environments where coexistence and cooperation with humans is required, where there are not enough formal rules, and where change is a constant. We will develop a complete AGV as a prototype, focusing on its electronic equipment and software. The latter will enable stable localisation of vehicles; autonomous navigation; identification and learning of patterns, objects and scenes on the basis of advanced methods of artificial intelligence; cloud connectivity and dynamic interaction with other players; and coordination of the entire vehicle fleet – FMS. As all of this is part and parcel of logistics process optimisation, in developing the platform we are making use of and combining the power and expertise of existing Epilog products – Atlas WMS and MFS modules – closely integrating them with FMS to offer our users a new experience.
A team that is capable of participating in the most demanding projects in the global market
In addition to innovative products, the market above all seeks strong, specialised development teams that are able to resolve complex high-tech problems in a short time, as intralogistics is still typically a narrower bottleneck than production itself. This provides an incentive for us to continually upgrade our expertise and increase our team in the robotics department, which, on the basis of the universal AGV platform, will be able to participate in the global market in the most demanding, complex projects of smart factories. We believe that excellent results are achieved through cooperation, and we are therefore forging bonds with the European scientific community and strong players in the field of mechatronics.
With the placement of new vehicles we can achieve system scalability. The only limiting factor in the flexibility of small robotised systems is software. The latter can lead to a new paradigm of highly reusable and flexible systems.