Automation Spotlight for Robotic Industrial Trucks
Pittsburgh, PA -- (SBWIRE) -- 05/30/2013 -- Currently, robotic industrial trucks have found a great niche in kitting applications, where users are taking this type of equipment, training it to run a route, and having it automatically transport kitted product to the manufacturing point.
Executive Editor, Anna Wells reports in the current issue of Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation (IMPO) the growth of advanced technology of robotic industrial trucks in the manufacturing sector. Wells writes, “Despite the modern feel of today’s robotic trucks, AGVs (automated guided vehicles) actually go all the way back to the 1950s.
According to John Hayes, National Account Manager for Seegrid, the leading provider of driverless Robotic Industrial Trucks, the basic intention behind this technology was as a labor savings device. Hayes noted, “The vehicles could now communicate their positions, we knew where they were, and we could tell them which route to choose via radio.”
Seegrid founder Dr. Hans Moravec is credited with the invention of the computer vision-based technology that is the foundation of the Seegrid vehicles of today. The basic premise behind the technology is that each vehicle is outfitted with a series of mounted cameras, which are able to view its surrounding, take pictures, patch together a full area view, and basically create a 3D environment.
Hayes explained, “Then it becomes completely virtual. You can then run that vehicle based on the map you created inside the vehicle. That’s the real technology story. You start with something as simple as wire, and get all the way to vision where the vehicle is seeing basically what you are seeing.”
“If roughly 50 percent of the time, labor is being completely wasted and you can take that labor off of that piece of equipment, and move it to a manufacturing position, what you find is you have growth within your business. Growth within your business means more people get hired. You can take these non-value-added jobs, automate them to make them more efficient, and then add that labor to the manufacturing of products. Then you actually have a very nice human interest story,” Hayes remarked.
IMPO offers a from-the-field perspective in keeping manufacturing facility managers, engineering personnel, and plant maintenance professionals up-to-date on new processes, technology, and product information that impacts every facet of production efficiency. With two daily e-mail newsletters and 10 annual print editions, IMPO is a leading voice in plant engineering, sustainability, and MRO. With coverage that ranges from on-site, best-practices articles to product updates to webinars and hourly postings for www.impomag.com, the property has been a pillar in the manufacturing community for over 70 years.
Founded in 2003, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Seegrid Corporation (http://www.seegrid.com) brings robotic vision-guided technology to the material handling industry. With more than thirty years of innovation and research by leading robotic scientists, engineers, programmers and logistics practitioners worldwide, Seegrid’s exclusive Robotic Industrial Trucks are revolutionizing the movement of materials in manufacturing and distribution environments. Seegrid’s technology transforms industrial vehicles into unmanned, automated pallet trucks and tow tractors that operate without the need for wire, tape, laser, magnet or other costly automated guided vehicle (AGV) guidance systems. Seegrid offers solutions that optimize workflow processes by increasing productivity and reducing costs, creating economic and operational advantages. Fast Company named Seegrid as one of the Top 50 World’s Most Innovative Company in 2013 and among the Top 10 World’s Most Innovative Robotics Company in 2013. Follow Seegrid Corporation on Twitter at @Seegrid.