The robotics company Magazine wins commercial vehicle manufacturer MAN as a customer for a pilot project with the SOTO robot.
The SOTO mobile robot automates the supply of material between the warehouse and the assembly line, handling and transporting small load carriers (KLT) completely autonomously.
The pilot operation started at the Nuremberg site in the production of truck engines and offers both parties the opportunity to gain experience with the robot for future live operation.
MAN and Magazino have had a close development partnership in recent years. Among other things, the hardware and software as well as the environmental requirements for live operation in an industrial plant have been defined.
The pilot project is now planned to last approximately one year and lays the foundation for the implementation of a full fleet of SOTO robots in 2023.
Dr. Ingo Essel, Plant Manager Nuremberg, says: “We want to set up our logistics effectively and efficiently for the future and use the potential of digitalization and automation in the process.
“With the help of SOTO, the entire delivery process can be fully automated, from depalletizing in the automated small parts warehouse to sourcing during assembly.
“In this way, we are pushing the topic of ‘advanced robotics’ and building an intelligent supply chain in the interaction of humans and robots.
“We are delighted to have found in Magazino a partner who can optimally meet our high automation requirements in factory logistics and deliver a flexible and scalable automation concept.”
Paul Seluga, project manager at Magazino for the pilot project with MAN, describes the target process as follows: “The SOTO robot retrieves the KLTs from the transfer rack of the automatic small parts warehouse and brings up to 18 KLTs simultaneously to the production line. .
“There, SOTO places the KLTs, which can weigh up to 20 kilograms, in common flow racks. At the rear of these racks, workers can easily access the various parts to be assembled. SOTO can also collect empty KLTs in the process and bring them to the central collection point. »
Common VDA KLT formats up to a size of 600 mm x 400 mm x 280 mm are used in the Nuremberg plant. The robot’s adaptive gripper automatically adapts to the corresponding KLT size and moves flexibly to the different chutes of the transfer racks.
Machine-readable codes on the racks as well as barcode labels on the containers help the robot identify them. In the future, the robot will get material transport requests from the warehouse management system.
While assembly lines in the manufacturing industry are already highly automated and optimized, restocking is still mostly done manually.
Previous solutions such as tug trains or simple automated guided vehicles (AGVs) cannot fully automate the process, as manual labor is required to load and unload KLTs into the racks.
SOTO combines these elementary logistics processes in a single, fully autonomous solution: picking up different KLTs in a warehouse, autonomously transporting several KLTs throughout production and depositing KLTs in racks near the line. of production .
The collection of voids as well as the rotation of small load carriers from 90° to 180° are also part of its characteristics.
The automation and combination of all these process steps clearly distinguishes SOTO in the market and, for the first time, enables true end-to-end automation of material procurement.