12. July 2017
The future has already begun. The term “Industry 4.0” not only refers to a lot of reports, but new technologies are now finding their way into almost all areas of the value chain. This also applies to logistics. ITG recently started a pilot project at the Schwaig location together with the sports brand PUMA, the startup Magazino as technology partner and the software manufacturer Gigaton. Since May 2017, a picking robot has been in use in the logistics centre operated by ITG for PUMA Retail Stores.
Schwaig, July 12, 2017 — The pilot project was initiated by PUMA after the robot manufacturer, the Munich-based startup Magazinino, had been discovered during a visit to a fair. The startup’s vision is to create “the world’s first self-thinking and self-trading warehouse”. Until the high ambitions become reality, the devices have to be tested in practice in order to advance the development with the knowledge gained. ITG was open to the project right from the start. Since the end of July 2016, a joint project team of the participating companies has been responsible for implementation.
TORU enables piece-accurate access to the single, individual object and not just to standardized load carriers such as trays or crates. The adaptive gripper can grip various rectangular objects — from a small paperback to a shoe box to a heavy encyclopaedia. The robot can then temporarily store the gripped object on its shelf and take it directly to the shipping station.
TORU improves while picking
The hardware with conveyor technology relies on proven elements. What is new about this system is the software that networks technology and sensors. TORU is a perception-controlled robot — thanks to cameras, computer vision, numerous sensors and the use of artificial intelligence, the robot can perceive and interpret its environment and make decisions based on it. This enables not only the permanent adaptation to the storage topology and the use of the robot in working areas together with humans, but also the independent learning ability of the system.
The “new colleague” named TORU now supports the ITG employees. The cooperation between man and machine is ensured by numerous sensors on the robot. These sensors permanently detect the environment. As soon as someone comes too close to TORU, he reduces his speed and finally stops his movements. The system has been approved by the employers’ liability insurance association and technical test centres to ensure occupational safety.
Cooperation man — machine
A major advantage is that the robot can be used independently of working time models, for example in a late or night shift. TORU can even do without hall lighting, because it illuminates its working environment itself with built-in spotlights. The agile design of the system is particularly innovative and a real advantage of this concept: the robot can be moved to other areas without any additional effort and gets to know them by itself. This flexibility provides great added value, which convinced PUMA and ITG.
The aim of the pilot project is on the one hand to test the robot in a practical environment. Questions about the behavior in the working environment with humans, stability and constancy in daily use as well as readiness of the technology under real conditions are to be answered. On the other hand, the partners involved want to understand how powerful robots can be. Various scenarios will be presented in order to gain insights into the ideal environment for technology.
After linking the robot technology with the external warehouse management system LogoS from Gigaton, first positive tests and a training period, live operation of TORU is expected to start in September. By then, the colleagues will certainly have come up with their own name for their new colleague.
Magazino develops and builds perception-controlled, mobile robots. As the largest Advanced Robotics team in Europe, we revolutionize the world of intralogistics together with our customers.
Here you can download the press release: