With the rise of collaborative robotics in SMEs as well as in big companies and the simultaneous spread of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) and mobile robots employed in logistics and warehouses, new possibilities have been put in front of entrepreneurs who want to automatize their own companies’ production processes, materials handling and storage.
The combination of cobots and AGV represents, in fact, a strong synergy for the industry of the future and smart manufacturing.
As evidence of this, today, it is almost impossible to miss this duo exhibited in automation fairs. Moreover, while such platforms have been usually set up by robotics integrators in the past, assembling together components from different brands (e.g. EVO), more and more robots producers are catering for this increasing interest developing their own solutions.
Among them, we can find:
- Bosch APAS
- Staubli Helmo
- Kuka KMR and flexFELLOW
- Aubo JR2
- F&P Lio
- Siasun HCR20 and HSCR5
- Techman Mobile Series
The reason for the increasing interest in such solutions is quite understandable.
The “dirty job” is performed by the collaborative manipulator mounted on the top of the platform while the platform itself is free to move. This turns out to be extremely useful for carrying the workpieces from one location to another immediately after the manipulation and up to the final positioning in shelves, considerably saving average time. Moreover, letting the robot move around to the piece allows to easily perform tasks on wide objects or to execute several different operations on the same part. Everything can be carried out totally safely in a human-populated highly dynamic environment, thanks to the intrinsic safety of cobots and the obstacles avoidance systems installed on AGVs.
The production line becomes, therefore, more flexible and truly collaborative, leaving to human operators only high value-added, not repetitive and less strenuous tasks.
Not less importantly, the quick adaptation capability of “mobile cobots” with respect to new requirements plays a fundamental role in long time process optimization and costs containing, even for small volumes.
What do you think of this duo? Can you imagine the factory of the future being crowded with AGV carrying around cobots in a totally automated way?