Achieving maximum flexibility and efficiency, producing batch sizes of one and optimizing costs are what's expected from the factory of the future. Perfectly implemented lean principles and methods based on Industry 4.0 create the basis for modular and efficient production, right down to batch sizes of just one unit, if required. The key to success lies in a fully networked value creation chain with intelligent collaboration between humans and technology, automated assistance and cutting-edge, future-proof concepts for material flow and logistics. Fluctuating requirements call for constantly self-adapting logistics processes. This is made possible by modular, superbly designed process modules that are networked by cellular transportation systems in transportation and warehouse logistics.
The mobile systems designed by SEW-EURODRIVE combine the benefits of stationary conveyor technology that ensure process, system and staff safety with maximum flexibility and scalability. Besides performing purely transportation tasks, extended functions and interfaces enable these systems to assist people with logistics and production processes in the form of intelligent workbenches or collaborative robots, for example. Mobile assembly assistants can be deployed flexibly as mobile, intelligent workbenches. The ability to adjust the working / handover height improves ergonomics. A swarm of mobile logistics assistants navigates freely, delivering materials throughout the room, and can spontaneously form mobile autonomous conveyor lines whenever required. Hybrid systems offer the choice between two full-featured operating modes – mobile logistics or assembly assistance. The assembly mode provides a reliable means of working with a mobile assistant, while the logistics mode is used for transportation between individual factory modules, with variable safety zones related to speed. Mobile handling assistants can be used by different gripping units in a wide range of ways – for automated machine loading and unloading in production, or to relieve employees of unloading or assembly/joining tasks. A self-driving, standardized transportation capsule that can move packaged goods on its own is currently under construction. The capsule can perform transportation tasks both inside and outside the plant as part of an end-to-end logistics chain.
The extensive modular product and technology system from SEW-EURODRIVE also helps create mobile systems. This enables transportation vehicles and assistance systems to be precisely configured for each customer's specific application. Combining ultramodern navigation, tracking and communication processes (such as light communication or the laser SLAM process) with mobile assistance systems ensures a smooth production flow at factories.
- LightLAN- / LED-based optical data transmission: Stationary light modules on the ceiling or floor generate communication sections. Light communication takes place between vehicles equipped with light modules and the stationary units. The vehicles also communicate with one another via light modules, which are designed to display information about the vehicles and their status (traveling, braking, turning, etc.).
- Navigation and tracking via SLAM (= Simultaneous Localization and Mapping): Thanks to safety laser scanners, the laser beams emitted by the vehicle are reflected by surrounding objects, enabling the mobile logistics assistant to determine its distance from these objects. The navigation system in the assistant uses this data to create a map of its surroundings. The vehicle can locate itself on this map using the laser's measurements and odometry (estimated position and orientation using the propulsion system). The system is also capable of positioning itself relative to the other objects. This enables free navigation in the factory without any need for additional reference points.
As an automation partner and system supplier, SEW-EURODRIVE also provides a broad basis of infrastructure systems and software solutions – all adapted to suit the specific processes and interfaces.