FORT Robotics Inc. today announced the Nano Safety Controller, or NSC, an embeddable board that allows customers to build FORT wireless safety and communication technology directly into their machines without bolt-on hardware.
“Until now, customers who wanted our trusted command technology have had to use our bolt-on hardware. That’s not always ideal for every project,” said Nathan Bivans, chief technology officer at FORT. “With the NSC, we can provide a solution that’s smaller, more flexible, more integrated, and cost-effective for large numbers of machines.”
Philadelphia-based FORT Robotics said its mission is to unlock the full potential of mobile robots by accelerating development, reducing risk, and building trust in automation. The venture-funded startup said it serves hundreds of customers, including dozens of Fortune 500 enterprises in construction, agriculture, warehousing, manufacturing, and more.
Nano Safety Controller to ease management
FORT Robotics said its Nano Safety Controller can send and receive “trusted commands”—highly dependable messages sent via patented technology for safety and data integrity. These commands can include wireless emergency stopping, sprint or crawl, change in state, or other signals that a user deems critical.
With a board embedded in each autonomous mobile robot (AMR) or machine, users can send these messages to large numbers of machines simultaneously, which can help make large deployments safer and easier to manage, said the company.
Together with a FORT software agent, the device can communicate over virtually any network, including Wi-Fi and other IP networks. The company uses black channel principles to isolate and transmit critical safety data regardless of the network. Error detection, latency control, and other techniques are built in to ensure data integrity.
FORT said NSC is designed to help users comply with current functional safety standards, as well as prepare for new and emerging robot safety requirements. The product is designed to meet ISO 13849 and IEC 61508 SIL 2 standards.
“Safety is at the core of everything we do, and it’s hard to get this level of safety integrity over IP networks,” said Dave Sullivan, principal product manager at FORT. “We believe this is a game-changer.”
FORT exhibits at MODEX 2022
FORT Robotics announced at the MODEX trade show today that it is piloting the NSC with a company developing material handling robots. The company plans to make the product more widely available in the coming months.
While the Nano Safety Controller has many potential applications, Sullivan said he believes that AMRs in warehouses are a particularly good fit for the system.
“The AMR space is exploding, and we foresee a huge need to make sure those robots can be controlled easily and safely when needed,” he said. “Using a scalable and ready-to-deploy solution designed for functional safety can save a lot of time and headache for AMR developers – not to mention the importance of making sure that people who work with these machines are protected.”
FORT's leadership is available at Booth B1909 at MODEX 2022 this week in Atlanta. It will also present sessions on “Safety and Security for Mobile Robots.”