AutoGuide unveils MAX-N High Bay forklift, Mobile Autonomous Storage and Retrieval System
The MAX-N High Bay self sufficient cellular forklift. Source: AutoGuide

As warehouses and distribution facilities proceed so as to add automation, distributors have answered to call for with new choices that they declare will upload potency and versatility. AutoGuide Mobile Robots these days introduced the MAX-N High Bay self sufficient forklift and its Mobile Autonomous Storage and Retrieval System. The Chelmsford, Mass.-based corporate stated those merchandise will reinforce protection and productiveness with out requiring dear infrastructure or reconfiguring of present amenities.

“Previous systems lacked the intelligence to understand how to pick pallets for maximum efficiency and safety,” stated Rob Sullivan, president and CEO of AutoGuide. “We’ve been rethinking automated storage and retrieval with our advanced sensor suite and software architecture.”

“E-commerce is a $4.2 trillion business, and 4 in 5 consumers expect merchants to deliver items the next day,” he informed Collaborative Robotics Trends. “Warehouse challenges include 300% turnover, a 70% utilization rate, and low profit margins.”

AutoGuide MAX-N High Bay extends AMR succeed in

MAX-N High Bay can commute as much as four mph and will raise payloads weighing as much as 2,400 lb. as much as 36 toes. excessive, stated AutoGuide. The counterbalanced forklift is totally self sufficient, exceeds American National Standards Institute (ANSI) requirements, and will observe licensed paths to scale back chance to human employees.

The robotic makes use of lidar scanners and simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) to map amenities in order that magnetic tape isn’t required for navigation or impediment detection. It additionally has sensors to exactly select pallets, determine empty ones, and find a particular registration number plate quantity (LPN) in a stack of pallets, stated AutoGuide.

In addition, MAX-N High Bay works with AutoGuide’s SurePath Enterprise tool to obtain information from present order control and warehouse control techniques (WMS). SurePath can resolve the best routes for the self sufficient cellular robots (AMRs).

“We analyzed other companies that have high-bay AGVs [automated guided vehicles],” stated Sullivan. “They’re not making full use of sensing technology. We’re already fully autonomous, not only for driving, but also for picking and placing. Our systems can understand the entire payload and racking structure.”

MAX-N High Bay is constructed on AutoGuide’s patent-pending modular adapters, which permit the bottom AMR to be remodeled from a three-stage forklift to a pallet stacker or a tow tractor. “We spent a long time getting the base platform to work well,” Sullivan stated.

Mobile ASRS designed for speedy deployment

Conventional automatic garage and retrieval techniques (ASRS), which transfer totes of products to pickers, can take years to deploy, stated AutoGuide. Materials on the receiving dock are most often transported by operated by hand forklifts to a conveyor gadget, which strikes them into the ASRS infrastructure.

“There are more than 2,000 smaller warehouses in the U.S., and ASRS can cost $40 million to $80 million. That capital expenditure is out of reach for small and midsize enterprises,” Sullivan stated. “Our solution is to apply autonomous robot technology to ASRS.”

The corporate stated its Mobile Autonomous Storage and Retrieval System applies precision stock control to pallets and may also be rolled out in weeks fairly than months. AutoGuide stated its Mobile ASRS makes use of more than one cellular robots attached to stock control techniques to ship pieces.

Customers should not have to maintain massive cranes or customized pallets, and they are able to notice returns on funding (ROI) extra temporarily, claimed the corporate.

“Cranes are single points of failure, and traditional ASRSes are complex and inflexible. Inventory inaccuracies remain an issue,” stated Sullivan. “Our Mobile ASRS works within existing racking and pallet systems. Because it is not fixed equipment, it enables companies to start small with a couple of bays and grow as their needs change.”

The Mobile ASRS does no longer require devoted garage and retrieval zones, stated the corporate. The gadget can paintings with AutoGuide’s high-payload AMRs, together with the MAX-N Pallet Stacker, the MAX-N Tugger, and the brand new MAX-N High Bay forklift.

The Mobile ASRS additionally comprises SurePath Enterprise for optimum potency in putaway, selecting, and transport processes, mentioned the corporate.

“It’s the first fully autonomous ASRS on the market,” Sullivan stated. “While a crane system has to drop off at the end of an aisle, our AMRs can pick from both sides, and there’s not a lot of WIP [work-in-progress] buffer zones, so throughput is higher than with traditional manual operations or ASRS.”

AutoGuide assists in keeping tempo with MAX-N, Mobile ASRS innovation

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted provide chains, AutoGuide has saved busy, stated Sullivan.

“While automotive manufacturing stopped after MODEX [in March 2020], e-commerce continued,” he stated. “It has taken time for automotive and others to come back for capital acquisitions, but we never stopped with research and development in Chelmsford and testing in Lawrence, [Mass.]. We sent people home for two to three weeks, but we never stopped manufacturing in Lexington, Ky., or sending engineers to do installations.”

The corporate, which was once a 2020 RBR50 innovation award winner, was once obtained final yr by Teradyne Inc., which additionally owns collaborative robotic chief Universal Robots A/S (UR) and Mobile Industrial Robots ApS (MiR). How has that helped AutoGuide?

MAX-N High Bay
The MAX-N High Bay raise. Source: AutoGuide

“We’re still run as a standalone business, but we use Teradyne’s marketing and worked with its compliance team to make sure the tugger and pallet stacker are CE-compliant,” defined Sullivan. “Teradyne has also helped us get to MiR and UR customers, and we’ve worked with MiR’s team on sensors, software, and reporting.”

“Instead of a WMS, manual forklifts, and a traditional ASRS, with AutoGuide’s SurePath Enterprise, the MAX-N High Bay, conveyor, and tugger, you can stage in the dock with no tooling for fully autonomous storage and retrieval,” he stated. “I had a lot of experience from Brooks Automation and Symbotic, and this architecture was our plan all along. We’ve been working on the Mobile ASRS and High Bay for about a year.”

Testing and value level

“We’ve been extremely selective with beta customers, which have to be large companies,” Sullivan stated. “They have to have the right problem. Setup time, including integration with WMS, can take six months. Some start with a call-button system. We’re looking at ROI under two years, less if you look at the scarcity and especially the costs of high-bay operators.”

“Our price point is 60% to 70% lower than for traditional ASRS,” he added. “An existing pallet stacker can take a year and a half, and our modular design and software are useful for many different workflows.”