After an internal test phase at Continental production sites worldwide, the autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are ready for external market entry with improved and new functions as well as handling new use cases. Building on the company’s many years of extensive research in robotics, Continental is now incorporating these solutions into its product portfolio in the newly established Continental Mobile Robots division. “We are pleased to announce that as of now, series production of the AMRs has started at Continental’s Rheinböllen plant in Germany and the first external customer projects are being delivered,” said Pierre Pomper, Head of Autonomous Mobile Robots at Continental. “Continental complements its internal capabilities with a partner ecosystem of technology leaders Kinexon and ROEQ to provide customers with a leading AMR solution from a single source.”
New features and use cases
Continental’s AMRs have been successfully deployed at several of its own production sites worldwide since 2020. The company developed its autonomous mobile robots in-house to meet the requirements and challenges of the factory of the future, as such a solution was not readily available on the market. The experience gained has now been incorporated into the AMR version for the external market. Due to the load density, the electric vehicles are as small and compact as possible, but can carry very heavy weights. With dimensions of just 1,455 mm long, 630 mm wide and 225 mm high, the AMRs can carry substantial loads of up to 1.2 tons at speeds of up to 2.0 meters per second. This makes them versatile and at the same time extremely maneuverable. Higher torque, a shorter turning radius, optimized sensor coverage, improvements in lifting mechanism design and control accessibility, and easy equipment for trolley, pallet and roller conveyor transport are other features.
Fleet management software and an optional UWB system
Kinexon’s optional fleet management software transforms an AMR fleet into an intelligent and perfectly coordinated swarm. The creation of orders and routes as well as the management of AMRs become much easier and more standardized (e.g. through the VDA5050 protocol). “We have worked with Continental to develop reliable and scalable fleet management software that increases the flexibility and performance of our customers’ AMR fleets. In addition, we offer an ultra-wideband (UWB) system to connect relevant material flow things like AMRs. Our holistic fleet management software combines this information in real-time to further optimize supply chains, material flow and industrial automation,” says Dr. Alexander Hüttenbrink, CEO of Kinexon.
ROEQ: Strong partner with unique portfolio of mobile robot equipment and accessories.
The AMRs are available with different attachment modules. One can choose between the cart/rack and lifting unit application cases. Through close cooperation with ROEQ, a leading expert in robotic equipment, Continental now also offers roller conveyor modules to transfer loads between AMRs and conveyors. The number of options offered is what makes Continental’s offering so unique. At LogiMAT, an AMR with roller conveyor module from ROEQ was on display as a world premiere. “We are pleased to be working with a strong partner like Continental,” said Michael E. Hansen, managing director at ROEQ. “We are on a significant growth trajectory and I am confident that our collaboration will provide customers with a greater choice of better and more robust solutions to their logistics challenges.”
End-to-end AMR solution for multiple industries
AMRs are an attractive shop-floor logistics solution for various industries, including logistics and warehousing, automotive, food and beverage, and electrical and electronics. They work hand-in-hand with humans, reduce manual tasks such as driving forklifts, speed up transportation, and provide an accurate overview of inventory on the shop floor and its storage location. Continental is one of the few suppliers to offer an all-round service that is not quite common in the market and is a great advantage for customers: from consulting, sales, integration, service and support to maintenance contracts and 24-hour support – all from a single source. www.continental.com
You can read more interesting articles on the topic of mobility 4.0 electric-networked-autonomous in the current issue of eMove360° magazine in german language.