MAN starts pilot project with mobile robot SOTO

Automat­ing the mate­r­ial sup­ply in the motor factory

Press releases

17. May 2022


The robot­ics com­pany Mag­a­zino wins MAN as a cus­tomer for a pilot project with the SOTO robot. The mobile robot SOTO auto­mates the mate­r­ial sup­ply between the ware­house and the assem­bly line, by han­dling and trans­port­ing small load car­ri­ers (KLT) com­pletely autonomously. The pilot oper­a­tion started at the Nurem­berg site in the engine pro­duc­tion for trucks and offers both sides the oppor­tu­nity to gain expe­ri­ences with the robot for a future live operation.

MAN and Mag­a­zino have had a close devel­op­ment part­ner­ship in recent years. Among other things, Hard- and Software‑, as well as envi­ron­ment-require­ments for a live oper­a­tion in an Indus­trial Plant were defined. The pilot project is now sched­uled to run for around one year and lays the foun­da­tion for the imple­men­ta­tion of an entire fleet of SOTO robots in 2023.

Dr Ingo Essel, Plant Man­ager Nurem­berg, says: “We want to set up our logis­tics effi­ciently and effec­tively for the future and use the poten­tial of dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and automa­tion in the process. With the help of SOTO, the entire deliv­ery process can be fully auto­mated, from depal­letis­ing in the auto­mated small parts ware­house to pro­vi­sion­ing in assem­bly. This way, we are push­ing the topic of “advanced robot­ics” and build­ing a smart sup­ply chain in the inter­ac­tion of humans and robots. We are pleased to have found a part­ner in Mag­a­zino who can opti­mally serve our high demands for automa­tion in fac­tory logis­tics and pro­vide a flex­i­ble and scal­able automa­tion concept.”

Paul Sel­uga, Magazino’s Project Man­ager for the pilot project with MAN, describes the tar­get process as fol­lows: “The robot SOTO picks up the KLTs from the han­dover-rack of the auto­matic small parts ware­house and brings up to 18 KLTs simul­ta­ne­ously to the pro­duc­tion line. There, SOTO places the KLTs, which can weigh up to 20 kilo­grams, into com­mon flow racks. On the back of these racks, the work­ers can eas­ily access the indi­vid­ual parts for assem­bly. SOTO can also pick up empty KLTs in the process and bring them to the cen­tral col­lec­tion point.”

Com­mon VDA KLT for­mats up to a size of 600mm x 400mm x 280mm are used in the Nurem­berg plant. The robot’s adap­tive grip­per auto­mat­i­cally adjusts to the cor­re­spond­ing KLT size and flex­i­bly moves to the dif­fer­ent chutes of the trans­fer racks. Machine-read­able codes on the racks as well as bar­code labels on the con­tain­ers help the robot to iden­tify them. In future, the robot will obtain the mate­r­ial trans­port requests from the ware­house man­age­ment system.

While assem­bly lines in the man­u­fac­tur­ing indus­try are already highly auto­mated and opti­mized, the sup­ply of replen­ish­ments is still mainly done man­u­ally. Pre­vi­ous solu­tions such as tug­ger trains or sim­ple auto­mated guided vehi­cles (AGVs) can­not fully auto­mate the process, as man­ual labor is required for load­ing and unload­ing the KLTs into racks.

SOTO com­bines these ele­men­tary logis­ti­cal processes in a sin­gle, fully autonomous solu­tion: the pick-up of dif­fer­ent KLTs from a ware­house, the autonomous trans­port of sev­eral KLTs through the pro­duc­tion, and the put-down of KLTs into flow racks close to the pro­duc­tion line. The col­lec­tion of emp­ties as well as the rota­tion of small load car­ri­ers by 90° to 180° are also part of its fea­tures. The automa­tion and com­bi­na­tion of all these process steps clearly sets SOTO apart in the mar­ket and, for the first time, enables true end-to-end automa­tion in the mate­r­ial supply.

About Magazino

Mag­a­zino GmbH devel­ops and builds intel­li­gent, mobile robots that per­ceive their envi­ron­ment and make their own deci­sions. These autonomous robots work along­side peo­ple and make processes in e‑commerce, fash­ion and pro­duc­tion logis­tics more flex­i­ble and effi­cient than ever before. With over 100 employ­ees in Munich, Mag­a­zino is the largest Advanced Robot­ics team in Europe. Magazino’s investors include Junghein­rich AG, Kör­ber AG, Zalando SE and Fiege Logistik.

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