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The idea of putting cobots on mobile platforms came from the need to make industrial processes more efficient. In particular, the automotive industry, which requires the transport of materials over long distances, needs flexible, automated solutions. Traditional tugger trains used to transport materials can cover long distances, but they lack the ability to handle materials autonomously. This leads to inefficient processes because loading and unloading must be done manually.

Intralogistics integration

The integration of cobots on mobile platforms into intralogistics brings many benefits. One of the main benefits is the automation of processes that were previously performed manually. This includes loading and unloading shelves, transporting materials within a warehouse or production facility, and flexibly adapting to changing requirements. A key goal in developing this technology was to significantly reduce cycle time, or the time it takes a system to complete a cycle. According to Altmannsberger, 4am Robotics was able to reduce the cycle time from the original 60 seconds to less than 30 seconds.

Application challenges

There are challenges to integrating cobots on mobile platforms. One of the biggest hurdles is the speed and accuracy with which these systems must operate. In intralogistics, many different parts often need to be handled quickly and accurately. This requires advanced gripping systems that are flexible enough to grip a variety of objects, yet fast enough to ensure the required productivity.

Another important consideration is safety. Cobots must be able to work safely alongside humans without putting them at risk. This requires sophisticated sensors and safety mechanisms that continuously monitor the environment and react immediately if necessary. 4am Robotics has made significant progress in this area, developing systems that are both safe and efficient.

Use cases

There are many applications for cobots on mobile platforms. In the automotive industry, for example, they can be used to transport parts between different production stations. This includes moving large parts as well as smaller components. The flexibility of cobots means that they can be quickly adapted to different tasks, increasing the efficiency of production processes.

Another application is machine loading. Here, cobots can be used to autonomously supply machines with materials, reducing the need for manual intervention and speeding up production. This automation not only reduces costs, but also improves product quality by minimizing human error.

Future developments

The development of cobots on mobile platforms is still in its infancy, but the potential is enormous. Future developments will focus on further increasing speed and precision, improving safety mechanisms, and facilitating integration into existing systems. Another key issue is system adaptability. Future cobots will be able to adapt autonomously to changing conditions, making them even more flexible and efficient. This requires advanced algorithms and artificial intelligence capable of analyzing and optimizing complex tasks in real time.