Robot and self-driving vehicle pair up

by MM&D Online Staff

Dayton, Ohio—Yaskawa and Clearpath have partnered to develop a mobile machine tending and material movement solution for shop floor environments.

A Motoman MH12 robot equipped with end-of-arm tool and vision system will be mounted on Clearpath’s OTTO 1500 self-driving vehicle. This project is currently under development and supported under the advanced research division of Clearpath.

“Our partnership with Clearpath will provide industry with a robust, tightly integrated solution for moving robots to the work in a very flexible and dynamic way,” said Roger Christian, divisional leader, new product development at Yaskawa Motoman. “This autonomous modular solution provides users an alternative to arranging the work to a fixed robot station.”

The MH12 robot features a 12 kg payload capacity, hollow wrist for reliable EOAT cable management and a 1,440 mm horizontal reach. Its versatile design provides higher speed, longer reach and increased payload over current mobile manipulator products offered by competitors.

The OTTO 1500 offers a payload capacity of 3,300 lbs. and is built with industrial grade components to withstand the rigors of industrial environments. It is designed to increase throughput, reduce operating costs and remain flexible with the changing needs of material flow processes.

“We’re really excited to partner with Yaskawa to develop the future of mobile manipulation and collaborative robots,” said Matt Rendall, chief executive officer at Clearpath. “Combining our self-driving industrial vehicles with Yaskawa’s robot arms will enable a new category of automation for machine tending.”

The solution will provide natural feature navigation, so there is no need to add fiducials or reflectors to the operating environment. Its modular and scalable design allows for a single system deployment that can grow in parallel to our customers’ increased business requirements. The system is reconfigurable to accommodate changing operational preferences and/or changing facility infrastructure. It is also easily redeployable between various processes due to increase or decrease in production volume.