Robotic range of forklifts
09 January 2019
Robotic trucks aim to bring cost effective flexibility to automated handling.
Automated materials handling equipment has historically been bespoke, complex and inevitably expensive, to both purchase and install.
The result is an inflexible solution that is unable to adapt to new or altered operating environments. Yale Europe Materials Handling has a new solution: a range of robotic trucks that require no infrastructure, offer the reliability and durability Yale is famous for and the support of its extensive service network.
As a result of over a decade of research and development into automated solutions, Yale launched its robotics portfolio: the MO25 low level order picker, the MO50-70T tow tractor, and the MC10-15 counterbalance truck featuring Balyo technology.
Designed to offer the familiarity and reliability of Yale while reducing operating costs and increasing efficiency, the Yale robotics solution is said to be suited for customers seeking affordable automation.
“For some customers, automation on a large scale isn’t viable for their operations, due to the changeable nature and variety of the tasks and requirements the application needs to cover,” says Ron Farr, warehouse solutions manager for Yale. “However, there are small, repetitive jobs which could be automated to free up the existing workforce for higher-value tasks. We’ve developed our robotics offering with this in mind, to provide customers with flexible, affordable automation.”
Industry-leading Balyo geoguidance navigation technology is at the heart of the solution, ensuring Yale robotic trucks stand out from traditional automated guided vehicles on offer. With no dedicated infrastructure required, the trucks can operate autonomously without the need for any wires, magnets or reflectors.
“The dual-mode design means Yale robotic trucks can still be used manually to complete non-automated tasks. Operators can regain control at the touch of a button.”
“After consulting with our clients, we recognised that a major hurdle to introducing robotics in warehouses and production lines is the installation of dedicated infrastructure. By collaborating with Balyo we’ve been able to produce a range of trucks that use existing structural features to generate their own map, enabling them to self-locate and navigate in real-time. There’s no need to bury wires in the floor or mount reflectors on walls, which reduces the cost of installation and virtually eliminates ongoing structural maintenance. The solution is fully connected to the customer environment and can be integrated into current processes quickly and easily,” explains Ron.
Based on the existing MO25, MO50-70T & MC10-15 manual trucks, Yale robotic trucks are suitable for a wide range of applications. The trucks can automate a variety of repetitive load transportation tasks from servicing production lines, transporting loads between stations, and conducting milk-run production loops to carrying empty pallets to a palletising machine.
Built-in advanced obstacle detection helps the trucks anticipate and react to their immediate environment, controlling truck speed and allowing for smooth, efficient movement. While the provision of both manual and automated modes ensures efficient operation alongside employees and manually operated trucks.
“The dual-mode design means Yale robotic trucks can still be used manually to complete non-automated tasks. Operators can regain control at the touch of a button. This eliminates the need for separate equipment and gives customers the flexibility to accommodate unexpected requirements,” explains Ron.
“We’ve carefully studied how we can make robotics as cost-effective and productive as possible for our customers. The Yale robotics solution is completely scalable from a single truck to a large fleet to ideally suit the application at hand. As the Industry 4.0 trend continues, our robotics range can open the door to automation to many who were unable to consider it in other iterations,” Ron concludes.