Intelligent material flow for Logistics 4.0 thanks to the APAS inline assistant

Space-saving automation with free access to all machines: These are the current challenges facing intralogistics. To meet these requirements, manufacturers are looking for compact solutions that can accommodate many machines in the tightest of spaces while being easily accessible. With its collaborative robot with no safety fence, the APAS inline assistant, Bosch Rexroth offers an essential element for automated, integrated logistics solutions with product tracking. The integrated camera means parts are reliably recorded and gripped, thus guaranteeing the secure flow of goods.

The APAS inline assistant is a robot integrated into the assembly line, which operates without the need for a safety fence. Thanks to its unique contact-free safety technology, this robot, which has been available since January 2018, is predestined for human-robot collaboration (HRC): Production material is fed manually or automatically using shuttles. With its integrated camera, the robot arm can also detect parts that have not been perfectly fed in, grasp them correctly and place them on a conveyor belt or on a trolley with blister stacks. Bosch Rexroth thus makes continuous material flow possible and closes the gap between its new ActiveShuttle autonomous transport system and its versatile transfer systems. Thanks to its compact design, the robot arm takes up little space and is ideally suited to supplementing or extending existing systems, even if the logistics operations were not originally designed for automation.

Space-saving automation with a high level of safety

The robotic arm is integrated into manufacturing without a protective fence or enclosure and avoids collisions with its sensor skin at performance level d, category 3. Thanks to its large switching distance and the contact-free detection of people, the robot reaches a safe speed of 0.5 m/s. The optional far range monitoring feature, using a laser scanner for example, is mounted at a height of 90 cm to 1.10 m and reliably detects employees at a greater distance. This allows the operating speed of the robot to be increased up to 2.3 m/s. For logistics and production planners, who are now required to add robots to existing hall layouts and machine concepts, this means that the environment hardly needs to be changed at all.

Intelligent material flow for Logistics 4.0

For intelligent material flow, the APAS inline assistant can be logistically connected in such a way that makes Track and Trace possible. The integrated camera records, for example, the product code and a higher-level system informs the robot on which goods carrier and on which conveyor the product should be placed in order to proceed through different production steps.