With the Automate and ProMat shows coming up next month, we’re seeing a lot of companies making announcements about new products that they’re going to show off at the show, so we’re seeing more news around cobots, manufacturing systems and supply chain/warehouse systems than we normally do. In this week’s robotic components roundup, we’ll focus on these announcements.
Vecna launches new Pallet Jack
For example, Vecna today announced its fifth generation of autonomous pallet handling – the new Pallet Jack is “the first self-driving vehicle to include autonomous pallet identification, lifting, and pickup,” the company said.
In addition, enhanced software is able to deliver “faster, smoother pickups across a broader variety of pallets and goods, including pallets with bottom boards and partial pallets,” the company added. The software is an additional extension of the company’s Autonomy Stack, which gives independence in vehicles through dynamic obstacle avoidance, topological reasoning, local decision making, high-confidence navigation, and self-learning capabilities.
“The improved Pallet Jack is the newest product in our plan to advance warehouse automation,” said Daniel Theobald, CIO of Vecna Robotics. “This is another step on our roadmap to fully automate pallet handling, to include vertical operations and unloading as we expand our industry-leading capabilities and commitment to providing customers sustained long-term solutions to all their material handling needs.”
Vecna will showcase the new Pallet Jack, its Pivot.al software, as well as other self-driving vehicles at ProMat 2019.
ROEQ’s top roller for conveyors
Denmark startup ROEQ this week launched its TR500 Top Roller, which can automatically load and unload operations of the MiR500 autonomous mobile robot from Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR).
“A mobile robot without a conveyor or top module is like a robot arm without a gripper,” said Peder Grejsen, technical sales manager for ROEQ. “Production throughput can be greatly improved when mobile robots are outfitted with intelligent top modules that self-load and unload.”
The company said the TR500 can accommodate U.S. pallets, and deliver with fully automated lifter functionality for pickup and delivery of goods in heights ranging from 23.6 inches to 29.5 inches. It integrates with MiR’s own user interface – when the robot is called to deliver or pick up goods, the conveyor communicates with the pickup and delivery stations, and then automatically activates the loading or unloading upon arrival.
“By targeting the loading and unloading of mobile robots, we are addressing that missing link in the automated logistics cycle that today is handled either by fork or pallet lifters or manually by employees,” said Grejsen. “Adding the conveyor capability strengthens the employees’ work environment by taking over ergonomically unfavorable tasks or by reducing truck traffic and noise.”
The company will showcase the TR500 and other equipment at the Automate 2019 show in Chicago.
Sensata single, multi-turn hall effect sensors
Sensata Technologies today announced availability of tis ACW4 Single Turn and TCW4 Multi Turn Absolute Hall Effect Sensors, which feature an over-molded, two-part modular construction to give engineers design flexibility.
The over-molded housing completely encapsulates the electronics and seals the cable entry from exposure to the elements, making the IP67-rated sensor ideal for robotic, industrial, manufacturing, and material-handling applications where dusty or wet conditions are common, the company said. The electronics are encased in a thermoplastic polyamide shell, while the separate activating magnet is external to the sensor assembly. This results in a compact package of only 50mm in diameter by a maximum 24-mm thickness, giving designers the ability to incorporate them into new and existing systems.
“The design of the ACW4 and TCW4 models reflects the evolution of Hall effect sensing technology in making packages more compact, environmentally resistant and easy to install,” said Scott Orlosky, product manager for position sensors at Sensata Technologies. “Since the thermoplastic is molded at low pressure, it can be economically produced in lower volume and has no seals or seams to leak.”
More details on the sensors are available here.
Maxon launches new EtherCAT motion controllers
Maxon precision motor recently completed its EPOS4 series, “offering a reliable and extremely versatile platform of high-performance motion controllers,” the company said. The new gear can be used in several applications, including industrial automation, apparatus engineering, and robotics. The platform now includes two new Compact EtherCAT models (EPOS4 24/1.5 and EPOS4 50/5 Compact EtherCAT).
The positioning controllers are modular with different designs (module, compact or encased), and can be integrated into a wide variety of applications, the company said. Automatic controller settings make them ideal for easy control of both brushless and brushed DC motors, it added.
The company is also upgrading the features of its entire platform by enabling dual loop control, which simultaneously controls motor and load feedback for optimum performance within the system. The company’s EPOS Studio software “ensures the minimum possible setup times with its automatic Regulation Tuning feature.”
More details on the new controllers are available here.