Sensor-Equipped AMRs for Conveyor Transfer

New GuardCom sensor technology from ROEQ allows for instant communication between the company’s top-roller conveyors, located on top of mobile robots, with stationery robots, without the use of Wi-Fi.

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In a press virtual conference on Sept. 29, ROEQ launched its GuardCom seamless communication solution that enables Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMR) from Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) equipped with ROEQ’s top rollers—or, conveyors on top of robots—to communicate directly with a stationary conveyor station to initiate the transfer of goods between mobile robots and conveyors. The solution consists of two products: GuardCom, installed on the stationary conveyor station, and GuardCom Connect, installed on the autonomous mobile robot.  

Multiple GuardCom Connects can work with the same GuardCom and vice versa. GuardCom is compatible with all stationary conveyor stations, replacing third-party wireless devices. 

Once the mobile robot has arrived at the conveyor, GuardCom signals to the stationary conveyor station that the robot is in place and ready to receive or deliver the packages. The same signal is simultaneously sent to the robot letting it know that the stationary conveyor is ready. Once the transfer task is completed, both units receive a signal that it is safe for the robot to leave. 

The GuardCom is integrated into the stationary system via only a handful of cabled connections. The handshake process between the GuardCom and the mobile robot is completely wireless and according to ROEQ is based on proven and robust sensor technologies. To further prevent misplaced or dangling packages, GuardCom includes a physical guard installed on the conveyor station that goes up to prevent packages from rolling off and dropping to the floor when the autonomous mobile robot is not ready to receive. An alarm alerts the operator to come on-site to remedy the situation, or for the conveyor to roll backwards automatically.

Hartfiel Automation, a U.S. distributor of ROEQ products sees the GuardCom system as a shift in the way robots are deployed. “In the past, significant engineering development and third-party hardware was required to manage the logic of moving material from a stationary conveyor onto a mobile robot, which added substantial cost and time to deployments,” said Scott Albrecht, VP of Advanced Control Technologies at Hartfiel Automation, during the conference. “With the ROEQ GuardCom system, these challenges are minimized or eliminated resulting in lower risk, lower cost, and faster deployment for these users.”

New top-roller modules also launched

At the conference, ROEQ also introduced the new ROEQ TR500 Auto and TR1000 Auto top-roller modules with automatic lifting mechanisms, enabling MiR’s largest robots, the MiR500 and MiR1000 (with 1100- and 2200-lb payloads respectively) to pick up and deliver goods at varying heights in the factories without human intervention, which allows them to automatically adjust in a height range of 19.7 to 31.5 in. (stroke is 9.8 in.) from floor to rollers.  

ROEQ’s expanded product portfolio now also includes the TR125 Manual 250 and TR125 Auto 250 top rollers compatible with MiR’s most recent robot release, the MiR250. 

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