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Wireless Communications Solution Lowers Material Handling Time and Errors

ROEQ’s replaces Wi-Fi-dependent third-party setups with a sensor-based system that automatically lifts loads delivered by an autonomous mobile robot (AMR) to the proper height for delivery to a stationary conveyor.

Posted: April 19, 2021

Significant engineering development and third-party hardware used to be required to manage the logic of moving material from a stationary conveyor station onto a autonomous mobile robot (AMR) and vice versa. ROEQ’s GuardCom completely wireless system is a small unit with sensor technology that wires directly into the conveyor station. It consumes minimal space, which means the barrier to automation is lower and the cost of ownership is less. 

Wi-Fi instability is a common workplace challenge. In material-handling applications with devices communicating through complicated setups passing data between autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), third-party receiving stations and conveyors, intermittent Wi-Fi can cause errors and downtime. The GuardCom solution from ROEQ (San Francisco, CA) enables Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) equipped with ROEQ’s top rollers to communicate directly with stationary conveyor stations to initiate transfer of goods between AMRs and conveyors.

GuardCom is compatible with all conveyor stations, replacing third-party wireless devices. The solution consists of two products: GuardCom installed on the conveyor station and GuardCom Connect installed on the AMR. Multiple GuardCom Connects can work with the same GuardCom and vice versa.

When the AMR reaches the conveyor, GuardCom signals to the conveyor station the robot is in place and ready to receive or deliver the packages. The same signal is simultaneously sent to the robot to tell it the conveyor is ready. Once material transfer is completed, both units receive a signal that it’s safe for the AMR to leave.

GuardCom connects to the conveyor system via cables. To prevent misplacement, a physical guard installed on the conveyor station goes up to keep keep material from rolling off and dropping to the floor when the AMR isn’t ready to receive. An alarm alerts the operator to remedy the situation, or the conveyor can be set to automatically roll backward.

ROEQ also releases adjustable-height top rollers for Mobile Industrial Robots’ models MiR250, MiR500 and MiR1000. The ROEQ TR500 Auto and TR1000 Auto top roller modules enable MiR’s largest robots – the MiR500 and MiR1000 (with 1,100- and 2,200-pound payloads, respectively) – to pick up and automatically lift and deliver loads to heights from 19.7 to 31.5 inches.

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