This week at the Smart Factory & Factory Automation Exhibition, or SFAW 2022, in Seoul, South Korea, VisionNav Robotics showed off its new system for loading and unloading trucks. The company said the event marked the beginning of its global tour for the product.
As the beginning and end of intralogistics, truck operations at loading docks can be the most time-consuming part of the process, demanding higher efficiency, stated Vivian Han, sales director for Korea at VisionNav, in a press relase.
“Two key factors make the automation of truck loading and unloading difficult,” she said. “First, trucks vary in types and specifications, like a flat truck, a gull-wing container truck, and a cargo container truck. The width of the containers ranges from 4m [13 ft.] to 14m [48 ft.].”
“Second, materials of different shapes are loaded in various carriers, especially super-long boards or non-carrier goods,” she added.
VisionNav designs robots to be nimble
Founded in 2016, VIsionNav provides automated guided vehicles (AGVs), autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), and other automation for the logistics industry. The Shenzhen, China-based company has developed nine product series, including self-driving forklifts and tractors.
VisionNav said its innovations include the ability to store materials at 9.4m (30 ft.), travel up narrow aisles of up to 2m (6.5 ft.), and stack them in multiple layers. The company said it has sold more than 1,500 products globally, implemented over 350 projects, and worked with more than 50 Fortune 500 companies.
Autonomous lift trucks from VisionNav use sensing, control, positioning, and scheduling technology to perceive their environments and operate safely, said the company. It claimed that its system can automate the whole intralogistics process.
VisionNav said it integrated the Bright-Eye system into its unmanned truck loading and unloading system to achieve high performance levels for various industries.
“As a peripheral auxiliary system for [the] unmanned truck loading and unloading solution, [our] Bright-Eye system attracted much attention by the unique ability of cargo inventory, storage management, and safety warning,” Han said.
Stacking from Atlanta to Seoul
At the MODEX 2022 materials handling trade show last week, VisionNav Robotics introduced its industrial automated vehicles to the North American market. The company said it displayed a representative automated forklift to show how intelligent automation can help the logistics industry.
“Many companies talked to us about the shortage of forklift operators and the possibility of introducing automated forklift operations affected by the epidemic,” said Robert Tang, head of U.S. sales at VisionNav. “Our products have plenty of experience based on a large number of applications in complex scenarios and have unique advantages in terms of efficiency, flexibility, and storage capacity.”
In Atlanta, VisionNav demonstrated how its VNP15 counterbalanced automated forklift can stack multi-layer material frames. It also showed a scenario in which its SLIM-series forklifts could navigate in a dense, narrow-aisle environment.
Based on the VisionNav control algorithm and perception technology, VNP15 and SLIM series can adaptively fork pallets and material frames for horizontal and vertical operations, said the company. VisionNav added that it designed the frame-stacking system for storing irregular parts. It can currently deal with stacking materials in up to seven layers.
“We have also developed a variety of clamps to meet the material handling demand of customers in different industries, from simple pallets to bales, paper rolls, machinery, cables, and so on,” said Tang.
The SFAW 2022 event was held from April 6 to 8 in Coex Center, Seoul. “Korea has plenty of automation lines and high coverage of robots, especially in intralogistics,” noted Han. The Republic of Korea has the highest robot density, or number of robots per 10,000 human workers, in the world, at 932, according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR).
VisionNav has developed a local engineering team responsible for project delivery, she said. It has also established partnerships with local service providers. The company said the establishment of a branch in Korea will accelerate its global and localization speed.