As the manufacturing industry shifts from mass production to mid-volume and mid-variety, the use of flexible manufacturing systems is on the rise. These systems demand not only machine flexibility but also flexible material handling, storage, and retrieval systems. Components of Mobile Robots, being the most versatile material movement system, have garnered well-deserved attention over time. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the technical aspects of a mobile robotic system, let's delve deeper into its constituent parts and key components of mobile robots.
Components of Mobile Robots
As observed earlier, the navigation system and the control systems are at the heart of the robot elements, , serving as the guiding force for these vehicles. Other essential components of mobile robots include the safety system, traffic management system, battery charging system, and hardware components like the mobile robot's body and payload.
Broadly we can divide the robot components of the mobile robot into two parts: Software and Hardware.
The critical software components that run the mobile robot are:
The navigation system, one of the most critical components of mobile robots, guides the path of autonomous vehicles. It can be either a closed path or an open path. Closed path systems are used for automated guided vehicles, where a predetermined path is established using physical objects like wired navigation technology or a guided tape system.
Mobile robots, on the other hand, operate on an open-path system, utilising advanced systems like laser sensor navigation or LiDAR-based natural navigation. These systems dynamically determine the best path based on real-time environmental changes, offering more flexibility. The choice of navigation system depends on operational requirements and the operating environment.
The control system is one of the vital components of mobile robots, serving as the central hub that integrates with other robots, WMS/WCS, and the user interface. It facilitates job initiation, optimises movement, and manages payload handling. In advanced navigation systems, like natural or laser-based navigation, it also stores the warehouse map and guides the robot.
The safety system consists of a set of sensors and bumpers integrated into the mobile robot's architecture. These sensors handle localization and collision avoidance. They offer a two-level safety system, one for slowing down the robot upon detecting an obstacle and another for stopping the robot to prevent collisions. These sensors ensure precise positioning of the mobile robot within the surrounding environment.
Fleet Management System
The fleet management system is one of the crucial components of mobile robots, as it organises and manages AGV movements within designated areas, ensuring collision-free operations. It also plays a pivotal role in seamlessly integrating AGVs with various external equipment, including forklifts, conveyors, shuttles, and other components.
The critical hardware components that run the mobile robot are:
Energy supply to mobile robots encompasses vehicle guidance control, electrical, electronic and sensory systems, mechanical moving components, and load transfer equipment. Various methods are used, including traction batteries (lead or NiCd batteries), non-contacting energy transfer, and hybrid systems. The choice depends on factors like cost, battery lifetime, charging time, operation type, and power density.
Payload refers to the maximum weight a mobile robot can carry, determined by its mechanical structure and motor specifications. It can be scaled up as needed to accommodate external materials handling equipment such as forks, conveyors, lift decks, or tow trucks.
On the hardware side, the safety components of mobile robots incorporate different alert mechanisms such as buzzer sounds, optical warning lights, and acoustic warning signals, including blinkers to indicate changes in direction, akin to automobiles but with acoustic support.
These individual components of mobile robots come together to form a complete system that facilitates flexible material movement without the need for fixed conveyor networks or floor/ceiling-embedded paths. To gain a deeper understanding of how these systems surpass their older counterparts, stay tuned for more insights.
Redefining Warehouse Automation with Addverb
As manufacturing and logistics fields adapt to the changing landscape, mobile robots have become indispensable for efficient operations. In this era of technological innovation, Addverb stands as a pioneering force. Their Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) exemplify the future of warehouse automation.
With a focus on cutting-edge technology and comprehensive components of mobile robots, Addverb is revolutionising how warehouses function. These AMRs offer unparalleled flexibility and productivity, paving the way for a smarter, more adaptable, and highly efficient future.
To learn more about the evolution of mobile robots, you can click here.