All the experience the ServisControl company has gained over 15 years in industrial automation has been reflected in the development of customized, project based, autonomous vehicles (AGVs). The company began to focus intensively on this development in 2019, and today RoboSherpa vehicles have been successfully implemented for the first customers.
The latest technology, its development and testing are happening at the same time as the production of custom AGVs, afterwards these technologies are used and integrated in autonomous vehicles, whether it is different types of chassis, steering, lifting options, load variability or a combination of several navigation systems, which can be switched as needed.
Autonomous Customized Vehicles RoboSherpa
„We want to adapt our vehicles to the production environment and conditions of our customers so that they do not have to adapt the conditions and spaces to our vehicles.“
Our company is constantly working on the development and implementation of new trends and components while testing new drive systems for standard and omnidirectional movement. These autonomous vehicles are unique, as we focus mainly on applications in the production environment. There we can use all the gained experience from a wide range of automation and robotics projects. Production facilities often differ and require the specific product handling between lines by an operator. For the transportation itself they use different types of pallets, boxes, bins or trolleys. Just at that moment, our autonomous vehicles are being used, which offers an alternative to product handling within production facilities as well as completely unique technologies, such as omnidirectional motion, which ensures product supply in very tight spaces, which leads to time, space and costs savings. This is a development from start to finish, every project part is custom-made, according to the wishes and requirements of the customer, all with an average return of investments within 1.5 years.
Default AGV Platform
The portfolio of autonomous guided vehicles that we have created is designed to meet the demanding requirements of various industries considering the highest safety requirements and serviceability. The standardized solution is prepared to be easilly upgrated based on customer technology, space, movement frequency of employees and other handling techniques. We are constantly working on improvement and development, so we are happy to engage in non-standard solutions and offer the application exactly as required by local conditions. The basic offer of modular autonomous vehicles is given primarily by the possibilities of minimum and maximum dimensions, the type of chassis, the method of navigation and the required level of safety.
|STANDARD AND OMNIDIRECTIONAL AGV|
|Lenght||1200 mm||2000 mm|
|Width||1100 mm||1100 mm|
|Height||215 mm||> 215 mm|
|Load Capacity||500 kg||1000 kg|
|Tractive Force||500 kg||1000 kg|
|Speed||Max 1,2 m/s|
At our AGVs, we always use the most appropriate navigation technology methods, based on the project‘s needs. There are spaces and conditions where the magnetic tape still has its place, especially for moving the parts between machines. But to transport the parts from the machine to the warehouse we fully use SLAM navigation, which uses LIDAR or a camera for self-location and navigation. We can also use a combination of different types of navigation for applications that require such special integration.
|ADVANTAGES OF INDIVIDUAL NAVIGATION|
|Suitable for tight valleys and places||Capable to avoid obstacles|
|Lower overal cost||Easy map/layout updates|
|Accurate positioning (± 1 mm)||Change of final destination|
|Reliable guidance||Automatical localization|
|Easy installation without infrastructure changes||Without additional installation at customer site|
EFFECTIVE WIRELESS CHARGING
Ensuring the smooth operation of autonomous vehicles allows us a way of efficient charging. To ensure the highest possible efficiency of using the LiFePo4 battery and its least wear, all our autonomous vehicles are equipped with wireless charging, the efficiency of which exceeds 90%. The charging system is intelligent and monitor the amount of charging current and the final battery voltage. Consumption and charging information are also passed to the PLC. When the battery is charged to the specified capacity, the charger is automatically disconnected.
LIFEPO4 OWN BATTERIES
In order to be able to offer AGVs in a variety of sizes, even on very low platforms, we have started manufacturing our own batteries. We are now able to offer LiFePo4 batteries not only for our vehicles, but also for your applications. We offer 24 V and 48 V batteries with a capacity of 40, 60 and 80 Ah with a minimum number of 4000 cycles.
TOUCHPANEL AND MULTIFUNCTIONAL BUTTONS
Each of our AGVs has at least 4.3 „touch TFT panel by default to display more detailed information about the current vehicle status. It contains a set of controls for orientation in the panel menu and the vehicle itself. It displays alarm messages, battery status and allows setting of some parameters. The panel is also extended by 5 multifunction buttons and their position and function can be adjusted as required.
MASTER is an essential part of the autonomous vehicle system. It gives orders to the AGV and vehicles inform back about their condition. The system is adapted to control a fleet of up to 10 vehicles at a time. It is also the main switchboard for connection to your technology, superior systems, remote connections and monitoring. The MASTER configuration itself may vary according to the requirements of the environment, technology, monitoring and remote control with the visualization. Everything is adapted and designed according to the needs and requirements of the customer.
The autonomous vehicles are built on standard industrial components, which ensure the availability and full compatibility of the part for many years. We try to use identical parts for individual models and therefore ensure all spare parts in our warehouse with the possible delivery to you within 24 hours. Most of the integrated components providing AGV motion control, safety and logic are made from Rockwell Automation, a company that is considered between top leaders in the field of industrial automation.
Custom Extension for Every Application
Specialization in single-purpose machines and conveyor systems has provided us with extensive experience, which we are now able to further implement in all AGV models and thus offer comprehensive solutions for various industries. We design all AGV extension variants based on your requirements, whether it is a conveyor system, a robot or a special system.
SPECIAL SYSTEMS AS AN UNIQUE SUPERSTRUCTURE AGV
Special superstructure systems are adapted to atypical ones transport and handling requirements. They can be clamps systems in combination with mechanical guidance, controlled linear displacements or other custom-designed equipment, which is mounted on the main platform of the autonomous truck.
INDUSTRIAL AND COLLABORATIVE ROBOT IN CONNECTION WITH AGV
The deployment of industrial robots into AGVs opens up further possibilities matching requirements of today‘s Industry 4.0. The industrial robots we integrate into our AGVs can operate with multiple workstations and perform various operations. The autonomous vehicle recognizes the individual stations and passes the information to the robot, which executes the required program in standard or collaborative mode. We select an adequate robot for the given application that’s going to be integrated into the appropriate type of AGV with all common functions.
- High flexibility in production conditions and product handling
- Execution of machine operator functions
- Visual inspection of products and performing operations
PALLET CONVEYORS AS PART OF AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES
For example, the low platform height allows the pallet conveyor to be integrated for direct connection and pallet handling with the conveyors. In the case of different conveyor height level, the installation of a pallet station with the required lift and a load capacity of up to 1000 kg suitable.
- Pallet transport with dimensions 1200 x 800 mm a 1200 x 1000 mm
- Lower initial costs against common pallet AGV
- Omnidirectional with the axis of rotation in middle of the vehicle
Our autonomous vehicles provide increased safety, using not only laser scanners, but also integrated safety sensors in the bumpers, and some models have also lidars or sonars detecting other obstacles in their vicinity. For our AGVs is an CE certificate a sureness, but they also possess TÜV certification.
The main function while the AGV is operating in automatic autonomous mode is to monitor the surrounding area and especially the direction of the expected destination. This is ensured by laser safety scanners installed for each custom model according to the current environment and automatically switches according to actual AGV location. Two warning zones and one safety zone for stopping the AGV are adjusted. The vehicles are equipped with two or four such safety scanners, depending on the type of application, to eliminate the possibility of blind spots as much as possible. Scanners are rated in safety category SIL 2-SIL CL2 / PL d-Cat.3 and are in accordance with all ČSN standards.
The bumpers of the vehicle prevent any injuries, damage to the property or further collisions. These are mechanical bumpers directly connected to the safety circuits and connected to the safety processor, which ensures stopping of the autonomous vehicle with guaranteed time delays. These bumpers complement the emergency stop, which performs the same function. The control of correct and reliable stop functions is complemented by the speed control system, which is mechanically connected to the wheel drives and also connected to the safety circuit of the processor.
The modularity of the trucks offers easy addition of safety lasers, their quick replacement or removal, for example due to a change in the transported parts. The vehicles also have an integrated sound and light signalization corresponding to the current state of the AGV.
An RGB LED light strip located at the corners of the AGV is used to signalize the various AGV modes. It lights up or flashes to indicate the current status of the AGV. Each mode has assigned a priority so that it is possible to visually recognize the status of the vehicle in every possible situation
By default, the sound signalization is also assigned to different modes and changes dynamically for each AGV status. Individual sound notifications in MP3 format can be pre-selected for each user according to their own preferences.
Additon Services and Other Accessory Options for AGV Remote Monitoring
Part of the whole project is safe and reliable monitoring, which supports the continuous operation of autonomous vehicles. This 24/7 monitoring provides us with fault prediction, service management and fast real-time troubleshooting of unexpected conditions. You can see the structure of data architecture between operational technology and information technology in the picture below.
We offer the remote monitoring service in order to have a comprehensive and complex overview of our autonomous vehicles, their condition, errors, operating hours and battery condition. This information can predict scheduled or emergency maintenance and technical support.
This service will make maintenance easier for the customer, because we know about defects in real time, we can solve them before affecting production, we can predict potential defects based on available values and plan effective preventive maintenance. The customer receives exclusive support for preventive maintenance and immediate contact with the manufacturer in case of problems.
Thanks to the fact that MASTER includes groov EPIC from Opto 22, we have the opportunity to secure data transmission to our monitoring centre using MQTT Broker. This is a reliable and secure data transmission from your Operational Technology (OT) via the groov EPIC device, which ensures network access, control, monitoring and system security. The Information Technology (IT) only provides data from the devices allowed to publish data, which are connected to an independent, separate groov EPIC network interface, which fully segments and isolates the operational technology (OT). One client is a Publisher and the other is a Subscriber. Data communication only takes place from OT to MQTT BROKER and it is the only place that communicates outside the network. Messages are filtered and sent to subscribers. Communication security is addressed by encrypting TLS / SSL messages, which uses certificates to confirm identity.
Thanks to the experiences and knowledge gained from the global AGV market and current trends, we are now able to assess the use of autonomous vehicles across the entire supply chain. For each project is possible to request an independent feasibility study, that will provide you with a complete analysis of the processes, risks, production environment and indicate the planned routes, infrastructure and discover the project obstacles that need to be removed in order to achieve the desired goal. The study will allow you to assess the necessary costs, benefits, risks, time frame and other primary elements for implementation before the project is started.
Visualization is another opportunity for you to increase the overview of the current location and status of your AGVs. It allows you to regularly back up all status reports and inspect the charging and discharging of the battery, the number of kilometres driven or the progress of the current program in real time. Furthermore, visualization offers a lot of other tools that will help you with monitoring itself and possible maintenance predictions. Remote control and several levels of access are also an option. The complete visualization can be accessed remotely not only on your computer, but also on your phone or tablet in a minimized view, thanks to the integrated Groov system. This system also allows us to offer a well-arranged and inexpensive ANDON system for large-scale display.
SERVICE AS A SERVICE
SaaS – in this case it is not a well-known abbreviation Software as a Service, but Service as a Service. The autonomous vehicles from ServisControl are delivered with a service agreement, which guarantees the customer regular maintenance during the warranty period, including automatic notifications for ordering the service. This will ensure trouble-free operation of the vehicles during the warranty period and the validity of the warranty for its entire duration.
The service agreement is automatically extended even in the post-warranty period, so that the customer does not forfeit any of the service support and trouble-free operation of autonomous vehicles even after years of operation. If the customer wishes to give up this benefit, it is enough to terminate the contract or not to extend it after the expiration of the warranty period.
For the duration of the service agreement and the warranty period, the customer performs and orders regular inspections and service, which correspond to the frequency and scope, as stated in the manual and service agreement. For the longest possible service life and the shortest downtime, it is essential to keep service efforts made from the beginning to ensure that the customers appreciate our support in using and managing this sophisticated vehicle and its equipment. The service agreement guarantees that for the entire period of AGV operation. The benefit of the service agreement is the guaranteed time in which the unexpected defects will be corrected, as the regular inspections of the premises or remote connection for the online service.
During AGV maintenance, all control and safety elements, electrical connections, batteries, mechanical connections and more are inspected. Remote monitoring provides you with all the latest software updates and remote management and inspections of the entire AGV. Service has always been the mainstay of our company, which is why we fully implemented this service 24/7 using a service agreement.
All AGVs have a QR code placed on the chassis, which allows you to view the manual and technical parameters. Allows you to enter a service or spare part request and fill out a maintenance and periodic inspection logs.
PAYMENT IS DONE ONCE YOUR AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE IS FUNCTIONAL BASED ON YOUR DEFINED REQUIREMENTS
We do everything to ensure that our customers are satisfied not only from a technical and service point of view, but also from terms and financial conditions point of view under which we deliver their vehicles. For this reason, we try to meet the demands of our customers with the complexity of financing.
Based on the feasibility study if the situation we encounter is a higher degree of uncertainty for the required solution, we offer to the customer the opportunity to provide payment after AGV is delivered, operational within the customer production technology and acceptance for the required application.
We coordinate and arrange all activities and terms so that we can satisfy customers who will contact us on a regular basis and enjoy the passion for autonomous vehicles with us. If you do not wish to take care of the vehicle and spend a one-time high original cost, we offer the option of renting the vehicle for 3-5 years, during which we guarantee its functionality and provide a complete service for the entire rental period.