YLOG, a startup company in Austria, uses an intelligent and very environmentally friendly logistics system that is winning an increasing number of customers. The technology makes use of individual, freely moving Autonomous Intelligent Vehicles (AiVs) that detect each other, observe right-of-way rules, recognize one-way routes, and complete their tasks fully autonomously without intervention from or coordination by a central computer.
Other areas where robots have a big advantage over traditional systems are the price-performance ratio and energy consumption. Existing systems, even the modern ones, usually implement storage and retrieval systems that move back and forth alongside the shelf to deposit and remove goods. YLOG offers the first solution that combines the container logistics of a small parts warehouse with a transport system that uses vehicles that can move around freely. This warehouse type is used in 95 percent of all warehouses worldwide.
YLOG builds shuttles in different sizes, with swiveling wheels that are suitable both for warehouse logistics and transport logistics. Thanks to the onboard navigation system, the AiVs can compute a simple task and find their way through the shelves. Attention to detail characterizes the development of the intelligent logistics system; for example, the transport vehicles are recharged with current during operation.
This is made possible by the fact that the approximately 50-kilogram shuttles do not need much space to maneuver. The transport vehicles have a rating of only about 100W, so supercapacitors are used instead of rechargeable batteries. The capacitors can be charged in a matter of seconds, but they cannot store as much electricity as rechargeable batteries. Thanks to this low power consumption, 200 robots can be operated with the same amount of energy required by a single conventional storage and retrieval system, which uses approximately 20,000W.
The decisive element of the logistics system is the control system. Although a centralized unit informs the robot which containers are to be fetched or deposited, and where, the robots steer themselves based on the programmed traffic rules. As a result, as many as 500 transport vehicles can travel around in a single warehouse.
Motors and gearheads by maxon motor perform various tasks in the autonomous vehicles. Of the 11 axes on an AiV, nine are driven by maxon motors. The motors are responsible for controlling the wheels, as well as the movements for picking up and putting down the containers. Different customer- specific motor versions with gearheads are used. Each shuttle is equipped with nine motors. For example, four maxon EC max 30 motors are used as steering motors for the robotic vehicles. The swiveling wheels of the vehicles are moved to the correct position by the drive. In combination with the drives, maxon planetary gearheads are used (ceramic version). By using ceramic components in gearheads, the wear characteristics of critical components can be significantly improved. The advantages are a longer life span, higher continuous and short-term torques, and higher input speeds.
YLOG needed motors in different sizes, combined with the appropriate transmission ratios, and maxon was able to supply products for all their requirements. To date, YLOG has already equipped nine warehouses with their transport system. The largest is currently being installed in a glass factory in Germany. In that facility, more than 52 AiVs are on the move — a total of 468 maxon motors that transport several thousand warehouse parts from one location to another every day.
This article was contributed by maxon precision motors, Fall River, MA. For more information, Click Here.