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Mag­a­zino launches pilot project at ZF with the robot SOTO

Automa­tion of mate­r­ial sup­ply with the SOTO robot

Press releases

2. February 2022

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The Ger­many-based robot­ics com­pany Mag­a­zino wins tech­nol­ogy group ZF as a cus­tomer for a pilot project with the SOTO robot. The mobile robot SOTO auto­mates mate­r­ial sup­ply between the ware­house and the assem­bly line and trans­ports small load car­ri­ers (KLT) com­pletely autonomously. The pilot project started at the Friedrichshafen site in the trans­mis­sion assem­bly for com­mer­cial vehi­cles and offers both sides the oppor­tu­nity to gain expe­ri­ence with the robot for live operation.

ZF and Mag­a­zino have already had a close devel­op­ment part­ner­ship in recent years. Among other things, the pro­to­type of the robot and the grip­ping mech­a­nism for dif­fer­ent small load car­ri­ers, also known as KLT, were tested. The pilot project started in Sep­tem­ber 2021 and is designed to run for about one year. Dur­ing this period, a pre-series model of the robot will be used in sev­eral pres­ence phases in the pro­duc­tion envi­ron­ment in Friedrichshafen.

Dr. Her­mann Becker, Head of Pro­duc­tion at ZF in Friedrichshafen, says, ZF sees mobile robots such as SOTO as an ele­men­tary ele­ment for fully automat­ing logis­tics processes in pro­duc­tion, sup­port­ing employ­ees and reduc­ing costs. The goals of the pilot project are: both sides gain expe­ri­ence for later live oper­a­tion, ZF can con­tribute its own require­ments to the devel­op­ment, Mag­a­zino can fur­ther opti­mize the robot and make its processes more robust.”

Markus Ruder, the respon­si­ble project man­ager at Mag­a­zino, describes the tar­get process as fol­lows, “The SOTO robot takes over the trans­port of an aver­age of more than 10 KLT with mate­r­ial from the auto­mated ware­house to the assem­bly line. There, the robot trans­fers the KLT to flow racks. At the same time, the robot also han­dles the return trans­port of emp­ties. The VDA KLT can weigh up to 20 kilo­grams and have a foot­print of up to 600 x 400 mil­lime­ters. Cam­eras and sen­sors allow safe oper­a­tion along­side humans — the cam­eras are also used to iden­tify the cor­rect pick-up and deliv­ery shelves via Data Matrix Codes.”

It is the first time the VDA 5050 inter­face will be imple­mented on a robot sys­tem from Mag­a­zino. The cross-indus­try inter­face pri­mar­ily helps with higher-level traf­fic con­trol on the fac­tory floor. The SOTO robot will even­tu­ally oper­ate in a very busy work envi­ron­ment. Numer­ous other traf­fic par­tic­i­pants such as fork­lifts, indus­trial trucks, AGVs and tug­ger trains share the traf­fic routes with SOTO — so it is always impor­tant to keep an overview.

While assem­bly lines in the man­u­fac­tur­ing indus­try are highly auto­mated today, the sup­ply of replen­ish­ments still takes place pre­dom­i­nantly man­u­ally. Pre­vi­ous solu­tions such as tug­ger trains or sim­ple auto­mated guided vehi­cles (AGVs) do not fully auto­mate the process, as man­ual labor is required again in each case dur­ing load­ing or unloading.

The SOTO robot com­bines these ele­men­tary process steps in a sin­gle, fully autonomous solu­tion: pick­ing up KLT of dif­fer­ent sizes, autonomously trans­port­ing sev­eral KLT from source to sink, and deliv­er­ing them to flow racks at dif­fer­ent heights. Pick­ing up emp­ties and rotat­ing KLT 90° to 180° are also among the capa­bil­i­ties. The com­bi­na­tion of these capa­bil­i­ties clearly sets the SOTO robot apart from the mar­ket envi­ron­ment, and for the first time, enables true end-to-end automa­tion in 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 110 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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