Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) provide flexibility in intralogistics

The dynamism of the "AGV of the year 2017" comes from our extra-low voltage servo drive

When the intralogistics specialists from TORWEGGE approached SEW EURODRIVE in May 2016 with their idea of "automating the handcart", we welcomed them with open arms. We were delighted to supply the innovative drive technology for this automated guided vehicle system (AGVS). Just one year later all the hard work came to fruition – with a well-deserved IFOY Award for TORsten, which now carries the title "AGV of the Year 2017".



Location: Bielefeld / Deutschland

Industry: Intralogistics

Application: Automated guided vehicles (AGVs)

AGV manual mode
  • Flexibility in intralogistics
  • AGVs that makes decisions independently
  • High dynamics
  • Energy savings
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  • CMP ELVCD decentralized extra-low voltage drive – Extra-Low Voltage Compact Drive
  • MultiMotion motion control platform
  • Lead crystal batteries
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  • Open control architecture provides flexible material flow technology
  • Autonomous AGVs
  • Few charging stops and high availability – as with electrically driven forklifts
  • Better scheduling and more efficient track design

Quote from Uwe Schildheuer, CEO of TORWEGGE

We have succeeded in combining an autonomous material flow system with an autonomous vehicle.


The project in detail

Hi, it's me...

AGV with drive components

Dynamic, agile, intelligent, forward-looking, full of stamina, flexible, independent and considerate – everything employers are usually looking for in new employees. If Torwegge has its way, one such employee will soon be ensuring a better production climate in large sections of intralogistics.

The new member of the operations team is called Torsten, and is an automated guided vehicle system that unquestioningly brings new products and tools to the workplaces of its human colleagues, or picks up pieces and takes them to other production cells. "Torsten enables us to interconnect production cells very flexibly," explains Dirk Jonat, Head of Project Management and Technology at Torwegge. He feels the advantages are clear. "We save our customers having to permanently install material flow technology and expensive conveyor lines."

In addition, Torsten is capable of acting independently of the overarching material flow if circumstances require. For example, it can travel in an elegant arc around any obstacles it suddenly finds in its path, while the speech module announces "I am going left." If this causes a long-term interruption to the procedure, another vehicle in the fleet can take over, and Torsten can begin the next task in the material flow plan. Managing Director Uwe Schildheuer provides an example: "If your satnav takes you into a street where someone is going to be working on a manhole cover for the next half hour, you don't sit there waiting, you look for an alternative route. A good satnav will do that for you and suggest a new route."

To ensure Torsten is able to plan independently and communicate with employees, it is equipped with a state-of-the-art speech module from Cognition Factory and an integrated navigation system specially tailored by RWTH Aachen University.

My flexibility comes from...

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However, the assistant would not get very far without the appropriate drive technology and power supply. Sophisticated servo drive technology – the CMP.. extra-low voltage drive – gives Torsten its dynamic speed and maneuverability. ELVCDs from the SEW modular system provide a high level of industrial standardization and are specifically designed for mobile materials handling technology. These are based on the tried-and-tested CMP50M series of servomotors.

The "MultiMotion and kinematic" program module, which contains the integrated and freely programmable motion and logic controller MOVI PLC®, is used for startup and configuration. This makes it possible to conveniently and precisely program coordinated motion sequences in these kinds of multi-axis applications.

The SEW power management system is also top class. SEW is one of the first drive technology companies to use innovative lead crystal batteries to supply power in mobile systems. Torsten can thus operate uninterrupted under full load for four hours. In standard logistics operations, this is equivalent to a full shift, at the end of which Torsten can relax in the charging station for four hours as it prepares for the next shift.

Brief recap

With its TORsten AGVS, Bielefeld-based intralogistics specialist TORWEGGE has developed a material flow solution that is capable of autonomously carrying out transportation orders. The new system is easily scalable, in a comparable way to fleet management. "Thanks to SEW EURODRIVE's open control architecture, the system is unaffected by the existing or intended material flow calculation," says Schildheuer. This means TORsten can also very easily be integrated into existing logistics centers or production lines as a new co-worker.

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