Service robots are extremely gifted; they can detect and interpret their surroundings, have the ability to learn and are easy to teach. Flexible and autonomous, they are suitable for high-quality, individual services, including in a supporting function with people. AUTOMATICA, held in Munich from June 3 to 6, will present a separate exhibition area for the topic of professional service robotics for the first time.
Intelligent Robots for Intralogistics
Internal plant logistic processes from goods receipt to warehouse, production, assembly or picking and all the way to goods issue: the autonomous and “intelligent” transport system of the Austrian company Servus Intralogistics GmbH combines all areas in an optimum process flow. “Servus transports cardboard boxes, other boxes and workpiece carriers. The ARC (Autonomous Robotic Carrier) always gets to the target independently in the fastest way without GPS and route plan. Regardless of whether trips from A to B, picking up and discharging bulk material or precise aligning of workpieces in assembly, the robot adapts flexible and easily to capacity fluctuations,” Christian Beer, Managing Director of Servus Intralogistics, explained. “With a speed up to 3 m/s and a usable weight up to 50 kilograms, Servus saves up to 90 percent of energy compared to conventional conveyor systems.”
||Servus is presenting the world’s first autonomous and intelligent transport robot system with ARC3 (Autonomous Robotic Carrier) for intralogistics, small load carrier warehouses, picking and assembly automation without a central control system.
Photo: Servus Intralogistic
The Allrounder for Driverless Transport Systems
Driverless Transport Systems, also called autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs), can reduce costs and increase profits in production, logistics, warehouses and distribution environments. This is demonstrated by the UNITR B/8261 from MT Robot AG. The versatile AGV supplies workstations with material, distributes mail, takes on ad-hoc orders and is available around the clock thanks to its charging strategy. “It only needs one learning trip to remember the deployment environment,” Managing Director and idea initiator Andreas Drost explained. “The user enters the route via a graphic interface. He can also note danger areas, transfer positions, doors and elevators without any programming skills.” The AGV calculates the optimum route, detects obstacles and stops situation-dependent. Communication with the user is possible via touchscreen at any time.
Service Robotics for Inspection and Maintenance
The British company OC Robotics in Bristol has specialized in robots with several arms, which move like a snake. They are ideal safety inspectors for areas that people cannot access, explore cramped and dangerous rooms with their “snake arms”, take videos and avoid obstacles cleverly. The robot snakes are produced customized, regardless of whether for canal inspection, aerospace assembly, medicine or safety applications. Their head is equipped with various tools such as cameras, special gripping arms or lasers for metal and concrete cutting. High performance in compact design is a great challenge, which is the reason why only high-performance, brushless 32 mm maxon DC motors with 60 watt unit rating and planetary gears in ceramic are used.
||Regardless of whether airplane assembly, nuclear power plant or inspection of canals, the robot multiple snake arms equipped with maxon motors can access the most remote corners, which people cannot access, and solve problems there.
Robo-Mate – Exoskeleton Reduces Bodily Injuries
Production steps are sometimes so complex that service robots cannot handle them. However, when people risk bodily injury, as in vehicle recycling, the Robo-Mate exoskeleton can provide help. Under coordination of the Institute for Mechatronic Systems at ZHAW Winterthur, a supportive structure attached to the upper body has been created in the EU project Robo-Mate, which relieves the bodily load on workers and increases the efficiency and safety of manual production workflows decisively. Researchers at the Fraunhofer IPA are currently testing the exoskeleton in a virtual factory environment. The project has a good future, since approx. 44 million people in the EU suffer from work-related skeleton diseases, which creates costs of more than 240 billion euros annually.
||In the EU project robot-mate, scientists from all of Europe are designing an exoskeleton, an intelligent supporting structure attached to the upper body of people, which relieves the load during especially demanding work and structures manual production workflows to be decisively more efficient and safer.
Rosy Times for Smart (Robot) Heads
Service robotics is on the rise. World Robotics 2013 estimates, that approx. 94,800 new service robots will be installed for professional use with a value of 17.1 billion US dollars in 2013 – 2016. “Industry and service robots will share essential technologies and profit from each other,” Martin Hägele from Fraunhofer IPA predicts. “Safe human-robot cooperation, intuitive teaching of tasks, more far-reaching use of sensors – especially machine vision – are binding elements.” The future challenge for service robots is physical interaction with people, objects and processes; they have to act safely, robustly and with increasing autonomy in the real world. This means that they need flexible, universally usable grippers and algorithms for clever manipulation, planning algorithms for collision-free movement in a dynamic environment as well as sensor technology and perception, which not only sees but also understands the world around us.
AUTOMATICA Highlight – Professional Service Robotics
AUTOMATICA is going to exhibit the newest innovations from professional service robotics in Hall A4. The focus will be on marketable service robots and components, among others, from medicine, logistics, inspection and maintenance.
The AUTOMATICA Forum in Hall B5 is dedicating a separate series of talks to the topic.
NEW: Service Robotics Demonstration Area and Show at AUTOMATICA.
More information about the new exhibition area Professional Service Robotics.
Watch the service robotics film of AUTOMATICA here.
MT Robot autonomous guided vehicles¿
Additional information about AUTOMATICA.