Latest developments in robotics and AGVs
LogiMAT 2020 in Stuttgart
The ongoing wave of automation and technical innovations is leading to greater demand in the intralogistics industry for automated guided vehicles (AGVs), collaborative robots (“cobots”), and picking robots. LogiMAT 2020 is offering visitors a one-stop shop to experience the latest developments in robotics—now, for the first time, in a separate exhibition area in Hall 2. Rounding of the program is a specialized AGV forum with additional presentations by experts.
Artificial intelligence, learning machines, thinking robots: Science fiction is becoming reality. Service robots are taking on more and more responsibilities, from mowing the lawn and cleaning the house to running warehouses and carrying out inspections. Given the rapid pace of development in the underlying technologies of software, imaging, sensors, and automation, it is quite likely that today’s youth will see the debut of thinking robots in their lifetimes.
Almost every week brings an announcement of new breakthroughs in stationary articulated robots, cobots, driverless transport shuttles, exoskeletons, picking robots, and AGVs. This is fueling sales even as the cost of investing in such technology falls. The latest World Robotics Report from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) estimates that more than 2.4 million industrial robots are already deployed in factories around the world. IFR predicts that the number of new installations will rise 12 percent annually on average from 2020 to 2022, corresponding to 584,000 new robots in 2022.
More than one in four robots sold in 2018 (110,700 units) fell under the category of logistics systems, which includes AGVs, picking robots, and mobile grippers. By contrast, the market for cobots—robots that work collaboratively alongside humans—is still relatively small, according to IFR, with a share of only 3.24 percent despite very strong media attention. A niche existence, but with a robust year-on-year growth rate of 23 percent.
“In recognition of the growing importance of AGVs and cobots in intralogistics, we decided for the first time to set aside a dedicated exhibition area for the mobile transport and picking robots at LogiMAT 2020, in Hall 2,” explains LogiMAT Exhibition Director Michael Ruchty from Munich-based organizer EUROEXPO Messe- und Kongress-GmbH. “We strive to be an event that’s easy on the feet, so we wanted to offer visiting professionals from around the world a concentrated overview of the latest developments in robotics. Attendees can obtain first-hand information from the exhibitors about their latest products, technologies, and innovations.”
One-stop shop for robotics in Hall 2
It’s becoming increasingly common for companies to rely on material flows without any permanently installed conveyor technology for intralogistical transports and production supply. AGVs, cobots, and innovative new picking robots are their first choice. Such devices offer an attractive option for starting out, not least for their flexibility and scalability with regard to future technological innovations in the area of decentralized intelligence, swarm technology, and the ability to reach into boxes. “In some markets, over half of customers exploring process automation are already asking about AGVs,” emphasizes Hans-Joachim Finger, Managing Director for Sales and Purchasing at HUBTEX Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG (Hall 10, Booth D05).
The AGV exhibition area in Hall 2 offers the opportunity to explore countless innovations at the equipment level and in such accompanying technologies as track guidance, navigation, cameras, and software systems. Among those presenting new AGVs are dpm Daum + Partner Maschinenbau GmbH (Booths A05 and A02), Grenzebach Maschinenbau GmbH (Booth D05), DS Automotion GmbH (Booth D02), Norcan GmbH (Booth D41), serva transport systems GmbH (Booth D11), Mobile Industrial Robots GmbH from Denmark (Booth D25), and E&K Automation GmbH (Booths B05 and C07).
dpm Daum + Partner is coming to Stuttgart with the “Vision E” AGV, designed for use in automotive production with payloads up to three tons. Grenzebach is presenting not only its traditional L600, a mainstay goods-to-person solution in e-commerce, but also the L1200S AGV with enhanced drive range monitoring. The new system detects larger objects and automatically adjusts the detection to the speed and load of the AGV. DS Automotion from Austria will be on site in the adjacent booth with several track-guided and freely navigating AGVs. Visitors can experience the automated high-lift forklift “Amadeus” in action, with a ToF camera for 3D object protection, along with the undercarriage vehicle “Oscar Omni,” whose chassis is equipped with four steered wheels.
Norcan from France is coming to LogiMAT with the latest member of its Sherpa® family of cobots, featuring fully autonomous navigation and targeting industries such as e-commerce that require a transport solution for dynamically shifting environments. serva transport systems GmbH presents the two latest models of its transport robots, the VIA drive-under AGV and the autonomous forklift ARI. ARI features an omnidirectional drive, which means that it requires significantly less space and maneuvering. ARI will be presented for the first time in a weatherproofed version for outdoor use featuring a special chassis and latest-generation laser scanner.
Mobile Industrial Robots is unveiling its new MiR1000 transport robot, whose name hints at its impressive capacity: The new model is designed for automated transports ranging from small components to heavy payloads up to 1,000 kg. E&K Automation is presenting its new fully automated Vario Move high-lift pallet truck for the first time at LogiMAT. The company seeks to establish a new standard for sustainability with its platform-based variable vehicle concept, maintenance-friendly design, and a lifecycle greatly exceeding that of mass-produced forklift trucks.
Wide range of robotics solutions in every exhibit hall
Many equipment and system manufacturers also develop their own cobots and transport shuttles, which can be seen at their booths in Halls 1, 3, and 5. And nearly all representatives of the forklift truck industry are also showing automation solutions at their booths in Halls 7, 9, and 10. Copal Handling Systems from the Netherlands (Hall 9, Booth D81) is presenting the C2 Container Unloader, an automated robotic solution for unloading shipping containers and trailers with loose cargo. Integrated laser sensors and cameras, scanning software and 3D vision technology, and a PullPlate gripper with vacuum-assisted lifting capacity of 100 kg offer ergonomic solutions for unloading and palletizing container contents. 6 River Systems (Hall 1, Booth K37) is presenting its cobot with new features for picking and sorting in an end-to-end fulfillment solution.
Solution developer BeeWaTec AG (Hall 1, Booth C06) is coming to Stuttgart with a new compact lifter for KLT boxes that interacts with the company’s own AGV. And in the field of exoskeletons, the medical technology company Ottobock SE & Co. KGaA (Hall 1, Booth A75) is presenting an overview of robotic aids in its Paexo product line for ergonomic activities that are easy on the body. Servus Intralogistics GmbH (Hall 1, Booth C34) is also presenting a world first in Stuttgart: The Servus-Lifter is a two-part transport robot that moves horizontally and can be extended vertically up to six meters.
Gebhardt Fördertechnik GmbH (Hall 5, Booth A71) and Knapp AG (Hall 3, Booth B05) are pointing the way forward in AGV and cobot technology with their exhibits. Gebhardt is presenting its OLS X shuttles, which are unique in combining shuttle and AGV technologies to move between the aisles in shuttle storage systems without the need for interchangeable bogies and rail guides. Knapp transcends traditional warehouse structures with its Evo+ system solution, combining the Evo shuttle system with the flexibility and swarm intelligence of Open Shuttle AGVs. The solution consists of shuttle robots that move on the floor of automatic small-parts storage warehouses and are not tied to shelf systems. They handle both storage and retrieval with the shelf system and deliver the containers to a picking station or to production.
Forum-FTS GmbH, the AGV industry association in Europe, will also be on hand in Hall 2, Booth A20 as a neutral point of contact for any and all questions relating to the integration of AGVs into the internal flow of materials and data. Experienced AGV planners are offering vendor-neutral consulting packages to answer all questions around integrated AGV planning—from an initial consultation and creation of a product requirements document to the evaluation of proposals and support in the sign-off process. “With this broad range of exhibitors and information offerings, LogiMAT is focusing on yet another key area of investment in the industry of tomorrow,” concludes Michael Ruchty. “Given the growing demand for exhibitor space in the AGV segment and the excitement in today’s market, it seems likely that this exhibition area will continue to define LogiMAT into the future. We will be watching with great interest how events unfold at the 18th International Trade Show for Intralogistics Solutions and Process Management.”