German intralogistics specialist STILL has launched at Logimat in Stuttgart an autonomous order picking solution - iGo neo CX 20 - that looks set to catch the attention of UK warehouse managers.
Through its innovative in-house development of the iGo neo CX 20, STILL says it has become the first industrial truck manufacturer to introduce robotics into intralogistics on a series production basis.
Its intuitive, series production order picking solution brings an unprecedented level of safety, security, productivity and efficiency into the intralogistics process. The iGo neo CX 20 interacts like a team member and follows its operator during order-picking at every turn. Thus the operator can focus entirely on order-picking, and can work unimpeded and error-free.
Field tests have shown that the autonomous helper ensures a time saving of up to 30% (versus traditional order picking using a standard truck) with significantly higher picking performance, because it eliminates the time-consuming getting on and off the truck.
The iGo neo CX 20 is based on STILL’s CX 20 low-level order picker with a 2000kg load capacity, already tried and tested in many applications. STILL’s engineers used intelligent robotics technology to breathe cognitive abilities into this order-picking truck. The result is an autonomous system optimally tailored to the requirements of order-picking tasks, e.g. in retail, spare parts or online selling.
The intelligent truck adjusts to the operator’s work rhythm. It always lets them go ahead – but keeps a proper safety distance to allow the operator to move freely around the truck. As an intelligent aisle user, the industrial truck acts autonomously in the warehouse and lines up in the current material flow regardless of local circumstances.
It obeys the rules of the aisle at intersections, obstacles and towards other trucks, thus ensuring a safe working environment between autonomous and conventional trucks to be achieved for the first time.
This interactive teamwork of man and machine is made possible by the integrated Motion Tracking System (MTS), whose sensor-assisted visual field enables the truck to react to its environment constantly in 360° mode. It ensures that the truck can recognise the operator’s intentions based on their movements and can interact with them.
By using its laser-assisted environment recognition system, the STILL iGo neo CX 20 can sense the entire warehouse topology and can recognise the operator and other people as well as racks, pallets, shelves or any other obstacles.
At the same time the Personnel Safety System (PSS) built into the truck’s well protected, lower front panel guarantees comprehensive protection for both the environment and people in the truck’s surroundings.
The integral laser scanner’s 180° panoramic detection capability guarantees anticipatory driving and thus early recognition and intelligent assessment of obstacles, together with well-adapted, smooth driving. This prevents damage to goods on the forks due to abrupt emergency braking.
The scanners record the surrounding situation 84,000 times a second, and the computer interprets and evaluates the current warehouse topology in real time. The truck has access to a type of short-term memory, through which it recognises the obstacles it has already passed. At the same time it distinguishes between stationary and moving obstacles.
The truck masters the step from classical automation to autonomous travel control without any pre-setting or external remote control. The operator can bring the truck into its initial position at the starting point at the press of a button, and the iGo neo CX 20 is already prepared for operation.
If there is a need for longer journeys or driving around curves, the operator can simply step on the truck’s foot plate or press the button and drive away. On arriving at the next aisle, they can then re-select automatic operation by stepping off the foot plate or pressing the button, and the truck will again follow its operator autonomously.
The machine uses its sensor-assisted visual field to navigate in the warehouse aisle with a freely selectable separation distance – and at least 50cm away from the racking.
Regardless of whether the respective warehouse management system issues each job order to the operator through a terminal or via “Pick by Voice”, the iGo neo CX 20 with its narrow outline of only 800mm will become a flexible, autonomous transportation escort in any intralogistics environment.
Thanks to “Automation on Demand”, the operator can decide, at any time, whether they want to use the truck manually or autonomously to improve their picking performance. This makes the iGo neo CX 20 the ideal assistance system for the most efficient order-picking. Whether order-picking takes place on the right, left or on both sides - it makes no difference.
The Optical Signal Unit (OSU) mounted on the truck indicates the current operating mode by a kind of visible heartbeat. Due to this highly obvious, non-verbal user interface, the iGo neo CX 20 can be used across all languages, cultures and age boundaries without any time-consuming prior training.
STILL’s iGo neo CX 20 turns the operator and order-picker into intuitive partners in line with the requirements of Intralogistics 4.0. Although the truck is currently powered by a standard battery, the use of lithium ion technology is also possible. The STILL iGo neo CX 20 will be available from July 2016 onwards.