Ahead of the trend - innovative high-tech transport robotics for the industry of the future: In July 2021, the transport robotics specialist from Rosengarten near Hamburg, Germany, completely rebranded its company. This now highlights the expertise of the high-tech company more strongly than before: uncompromising quality, unique product design and the claim to offer every company an optimal and absolutely reliable solution. "Over the past 40 years, we have developed from a small engineering office for process automation to the leading manufacturers for high-tech transport robotics. This is exactly what we are now proudly showing with our new brand identity and name," says CEO Andreas Böttner.
ek robotics stands for an infinite variety of solutions and is represented by the new logo, the Infinity sign and claim "Infinite Colors of transport". With the new brand identity, the company underpins its commitment to innovation, solution diversity, quality and a unique, high-quality design. "Our claim is to make the benefits of intelligent transport robotics available to every company in the world," affirms Andreas Böttner. The product and service portfolio includes endless solutions for every challenge, every industry and every transport good - in a wide range of environmental conditions, both indoor and outdoor. "All our products and solutions are designed for long and sustainably reliable use and will still function after ten, twenty, thirty years. Not least thanks to our ek service expert team, we ensure the highest system availability and investment security for our customers."
Maximum flexibility, dynamic and individually scalable
The automated guided vehicles from ek robotics offer solutions with the greatest possible flexibility. In production and distribution companies, the demand for short throughput times, low inventories and fast reaction times to changing conditions has existed for many years. ek robotics is continuously developing new ideas and recognizes trends early on in order to be able to meet the needs of customers in the best possible way. One of these developments is the FAST MOVE platform series: fully autonomous and ultra-flat transport robots meet the challenges and demands of Industry 4.0. The vehicles are maximally mobile, individually scalable and transport a wide variety of loads. They are characterized by a highly compact format: For example, the innovative transport robot can be only 240 mm flat, 700 mm narrow and 1,600 mm short, but can be customized in its dimensions, load handling devices and payload. The LI-ION batteries ensure a maintenance-free, inter-chargeable energy concept and enable continuous use of the transport robots - 24/7, 365 days a year.
The flexibility offered by the FAST MOVE is particularly convincing: The vehicles in this series do not require any maneuvering space. Their innovative, stepless and low-maintenance drive concept makes any movement in the area possible. Two safety scanners ensure all-round protection, so that the FAST MOVE vehicles can also be used safely in environments with passenger traffic. With payloads of up to 1,000 kg, the vehicles travel up to 2 m per second. The equipment, dimensions and performance data of the transport robot can be modularly adapted to any task, e.g. as a platform or with lifting tables, conveyor technology and, if required, robot arms.
The special reliability allows the transport robots to be integrated into intelligent, networked material flow solutions for automated production, making them ideal for transport processes in the flexible production of Industry 4.0. Accordingly, the FAST MOVE is already taking on a wide variety of applications in the supply and disposal of assembly lines in the automotive industry, as well as in clean rooms in the pharmaceutical industry in chemical factories or in the health and care sector. In principle, the FAST MOVE can be used in all industries.
FAST MOVE in practice
The FAST MOVE HUB 30 is only 240 mm high, but has all the essential features of a classic transport robot. With the ek hybrid navigation system, the FTF navigates over the contours of its environment and is also equipped with personal protection scanners and reflectors for maximum safety. The ultra-flat, omnidirectional mobile platforms are used, for example, in production areas in the pharmaceutical industry.
The FAST MOVE HUB 140 is particularly suitable for transporting large load carriers by means of trolleys. ek robotics' customers use it, for example, in the area of supply and disposal of assembly lines, such as in the production of household machines, where it lifts the transport racks so high with its integrated lifting table that the safety scanners can create a 360° safety field around the transport robot.
The application of a customer from the plastics manufacturing industry impressively demonstrates the advantage of individual scalability: The omnidirectional transport platform FAST MOVE Roller Conveyor 50 can be designed up to a length of two meters. Several conveyors are individually controlled on the FAST MOVE and are thus able to bring individual small load carriers for the production of plastic injection molded parts to their destination precisely and in the correct sequence. The technology has proven to be 100% more efficient than any swarm intelligence.
Autonomous robots for smart factories
The most modern navigation systems available on the market are used to control the FAST MOVE. ek robotics relies on an intensive needs analysis as the key to success to make the right choice. "Based on the transport task and the general conditions, we select the most suitable navigation type for the application," explains Ronald Kretschmer, Director Marketing & Sales at ek robotics. "A well-founded and target-oriented needs analysis can only be carried out by companies that have extensive experience in implementing this type of warehouse logistics. Here we can build on the experience of well over 1,000 successfully delivered AGV systems and more than 10,000 AGVs (automated guided vehicles) in over four decades."
With the FAST MOVE and their other, innovative series and individual solutions, ek robotics makes a central contribution to the industry of the future. "Industry 4.0 requires intelligent, networked and flexible material flow solutions for the automated mass production of individualized products and the precise transportation of all transport goods," Andreas Böttner affirms. Autonomous mobile robots will be the predominant means of transport in smart factories - because they offer the necessary flexibility in material flow today and in the future.