At a special invitation-only event near Düsseldorf, Germany, visitors witnessed the latest innovative robotics solutions for materials handling in action. Designed to offer customers affordable automation for repetitive tasks, the recently-announced robotics portfolio from Yale Europe Materials Handling was put through its paces at ‘This is Yale’ in front of dealers, customers, prospects, and members of the press.
This is Yale® featured a full roster of zones that showcased tailored Yale solutions for a variety of industries. Among the simulations and live demonstrations that took place, the application of Yale robotic solutions was a key talking point with the new robotic trucks featuring in the Automotive and Supply Chain Solutions zones.
“Having the opportunity to present our robotics solutions at This is Yale has been an exciting moment for everyone involved,” said Ron Farr, Warehouse Solutions Manager for Yale. “As the Industry 4.0 trend continues, our robotics range can open the door to more flexible, affordable solutions that don’t require the installation of a physical infrastructure to support navigation which can be time consuming, costly to install, and disruptive to the operation.”
Automation in the Automotive zone
Staged as an automotive supermarket, visitors to the Automotive zone saw the new Yale robotic tow tractor take part in a dynamic demonstration highlighting its ability to support lineside production and logistics ‘milk run’ loops. Capable of towing several trailers at a time, the robotic tow tractor can deliver new kits to line operators while collecting empty containers simultaneously, ensuring production lines are fed ‘just-in-time’ and ‘just-in-sequence’ and helping businesses boost productivity.
Yale industry experts presented the industry-leading Balyo geoguidance navigation technology at the heart of the solution, explaining how it sets Yale robotic trucks aside from traditional automated guided vehicles.
“After the initial mapping, the Yale MO50-70T robotic tow tractors can operate autonomously, there’s no need to bury wires in the floor or mount reflectors on the wall. Once it’s received its instruction, the robotic tow tractor can self-locate and navigate to its first destination. It can carry components needed to feed the production line and deliver them to the correct line-side point,” said Tracy Brooks, Industry Solutions Group Manager at Yale.
Visitors discovered the ease of the truck’s dual mode capability, as it was returned to manual mode at the touch of the tiller to carry out a task outside its programmed parameters, before being returned to robotic mode to continue its assigned jobs.
Both dealers and customers were impressed by the the advanced obstacle-detection system, controlling the tow tractor’s speed to slow down and stop for obstructions. The tow tractor is capable of anticipating and reacting to its immediate environment in real-time, enabling it to obey traffic rules, such as stopping at junctions with stop signs.
MC15 stars in Supply Chain Solution zone
Exploring a pallet’s journey from container to customer, the Yale MC15 robotic counterbalance stacker driven by Balyo technology played a key role in the Supply Chain Solutions zone. Visitors were shown the ease of industry-leading Balyo geoguidance navigation, where the truck uses the same sensors to map the facility that it uses to navigate it, and discovered how the technology enables the robotic truck to be up and running without the need for dedicated navigation infrastructure.
Part of the Yale MC10-15 robotics range, the robotic counterbalance stacker is capable of both horizontal transport and vertical lifting, making it ideally suited to warehouse applications. The truck’s ability to lift and lower loads means it can autonomously deposit and retrieve pallets from racking with ease. Suitable for a wide variety of repetitive jobs including transferring pallets to conveyor lines, loading and unloading in cross-docking applications and stacking loads in elevated spaces, the truck can help free up the existing workforce for higher-value tasks.
With no dedicated infrastructure required, visitors learnt how the robotic counterbalance stackers operate autonomously without the need for any wires, magnets or reflectors. This reduces the cost of installation and virtually eliminates ongoing structural maintenance.
“There was a great deal of interest from our guests in our robotics solutions at This is Yale,” concludes Ron. “The automated trucks can integrate with a wide variety of materials handling applications, particularly for customers looking to enhance productivity in their supply chain and logistics milk runs. We hope our customers and prospects enjoyed seeing the robotic trucks up close and at work, and now have a greater understanding of how automation can bring value and meet their logistics needs.”