Smart Lynx trolley simplifies the movement of goods
Co-Automation’s product portfolio has a new arrival: the smart Lynx trolley. The company has received numerous enquiries about a robot that a few customers are lucky enough to be test running. The robot fits in well with Co-Automation’s supply of high technology and smart automation. Co-Automation is currently the only company in Finland offering Lynx and its integration into factory systems.
Lynx is a self-navigating autonomous indoor vehicle, or AIV, which carries goods from one place to another. Unlike traditional autonomously guided vehicles, or AGVs, Lynx requires no navigational beacons or mirrors in the building; instead, it navigates using its own sensors. Commissioning is simple: the robot is driven manually inside the area where it will function. It makes a map of the area using a laser scanner, after which it can choose the route to its destination itself. If there is an obstacle along the route, the robot is able to choose an alternative path. Its laser scanner allows Lynx to navigate around any obstacles in its way, including people. It is also possible to record spoken phrases, which will allow the robot to, for example, ask a person in front of it to step aside.
Target destinations are determined in the map created by the robot, and Lynx will navigate between these. Functions can be specified in each destination, such as I/O control, with which Lynx communicates, for example, with an automated production line or opens a door. The map can also be equipped with limits specifying where the robot is not allowed to go and speeds for different areas, such as a slower pace for narrow passages.
Lynx does not require any changes to the factory’s infrastructure or layout and nothing needs to be affixed to the floor. This is why the robot can be taught new areas quickly and simply, by the customer themselves. As Lynx is small it does not take up a great deal of space on the floor. Lynx’s battery easily lasts a whole shift and it finds its way to a charger automatically when battery levels fall below a set limit.
Lynx is able to carry up to 60 kg in an application-specific receptacle or conveyor in Euro boxes, for example, or it can move a roller cage with wheels, containing a load of up to 120 kg.
“Co-Automation integrates the robot into the customer’s production environment and systems. Lynx is especially well-suited for carrying goods in an automated environment and can also be quickly trained to work on a manual production line, where it will free employees to perform more productive work instead of transporting materials," Co-Automation’s Technical Manager, Jani Mäki, explains.
The robot works well outside the factory too. Lynx has been successfully employed, for example in hospitals, to carry medication. When Lynx is combined with Co-Automation's own robots, they can use Lynx to restock.
ABB, one of Co-Automation’s customers, recently tested the Lynx. Mikko Jukkanen, a production development expert at ABB, says he was extremely satisfied with the results.
“We tested Lynx’s commissioning time and safety on a component production line. Commissioning only took 20 minutes, while we taught the robot the route between a couple of cells. We tried to make it run into things, but it knew how to swerve. Lynx made it much easier to transfer materials from the warehouse to the production lines and it also carried completed products to the warehouse. The test was successful and we can see plenty of potential for its use. For example, we could use the robot to perform simple transfers, which are currently executed with a forklift truck.”
Nokia Networks has also tested Lynx and wants to have it for a longer trial run. To see a video of Lynx click here.
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The photograph shows Mikko Jukkanen.