Automated loading for mobile robots

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Odense, Denmark – ROEQ is unveiling its TR500 Top Roller that automates load and unload operations of the MiR500, an autonomous mobile robot from Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR).

“A mobile robot without a conveyor or top module is like a robot arm without a gripper,” says Peder Grejsen, technical sales manager for ROEQ.

“Production throughput can be greatly improved when mobile robots are outfitted with intelligent top modules that self-load and unload.”

The TR500 accommodates U.S. pallets and can be delivered with a fully automated lifter for pick-up and delivery of goods in heights ranging from 23.6 inches (600mm) to 29.5 inches (750mm). The Top Roller integrates with MiR’s user interface so that when the robot is called to deliver or pick up goods, the conveyor communicates with the pick-up and delivery stations and will automatically activate the loading or unloading upon arrival.

“By targeting the loading and unloading of mobile robots, we are addressing that missing link in the automated logistics cycle that today is handled either by fork or pallet lifters or manually by employees,” says Grejsen.

“Adding the conveyor capability strengthens the employees’ work environment by taking over ergonomically unfavorable tasks or by reducing truck traffic and noise.

Representing ROEQ in the mid-Atlantic region is the Knotts Company, where sales manager Mark Howe sees a huge potential in outfitting MiR500s with conveyor functions. “Being able to handle 500 kg payload on mobile conveyors opens doors into new types of customers,” he says, mentioning material handling industries and distribution centres.

“We can now also focus on customers that handle large bulk material that needs transport between warehouse and manufacturing floors. We’re already seeing a significant demand for ROEQ’s smaller top modules and we expect the TR500 to be equally well received.”

The TR500 also eliminates the need for dedicated pallet stands adds Cale Harbour, vice-president of product marketing at Advanced Control Solutions, ROEQ’s distribution partner in the Southeastern U.S.

“For customers with space restraints, this can make a big difference,” he says. “In our region we see this product as a perfect fit for automotive and carpet manufacturing industries with many internal logistics tasks that can now be automated. It’s a new emerging technology that has really taken off in the last year and a half.”