Bulk Mixing

Automation Systems Improve Accuracy and Safety in Critical Mixing Applications

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Automatic Guided Vehicles: Key Elements in a Fully Automated Bulk Solids Mixing System

An automatic guided vehicle which can be placed directly on the scales is a key element in a fully automated bulk solids mixing system. AGV robots like the Kokeisl Picking Robot have the speed and versatility to move efficiently through the production area. They can be adapted easily to changes in the process. They are easy to install and can navigate freely without alternations to the building. In contrast to conventional manually guided handling equipment, the robots move all bulk and piece-part goods between the warehouse, receiving bay, mixing area, production and shipping dock without human intervention.

The onboard Bluebotics ANT (Autonomous Navigation Technology) system is “aware” of its surroundings and has the flexibility to react quickly to changes. Using only the data supplied by its safety sensors, the vehicle moves at speeds up to 1.5 m/s and has a positioning accuracy of +/-10 mm. ANT does not need to follow pre-defined routes, nor does it rely on inductive or magnetic strips or reflectors. It permanently scans its surroundings, detects the distance to potential obstacles and is always aware of the vehicle’s position. The speed of the vehicle is adapted to the surroundings. Without activating the safety functions, it slows down or even stops in safety hazard zones or if it encounters an obstacle. The Kokeisl Picking Robot immediately detects people working nearby and stops or safely avoids them.

Summary: Redefining Logistics

Fully automatic bulk solids mixing systems with AGVs increase precision and safety during the mixing process in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food processing industry, and they also change the process flow. Daniel Testi, Chief Executive Officer at Kokeisl Industrial Systems, put it this way: “New ideas, processes and self-navigating AGVs have made it possible for us to redefine intra-plant logistics.”

* The author is a freelance technical journalist.