ODENSE, Denmark — Real efficiency in logistics automation is achieved when the entire workflow is handled by robotics solutions that communicate smoothly with one another. That’s the vision behind ROEQ’s new TR500 Top Roller, which automates load and unload operations of the MiR500, the largest and most powerful autonomous mobile robot from Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR).
The TR500 is launching at ROEQ’s booth 8459 at the Automate 2019 show held in Chicago April 8-11. On the first day of the show, ROEQ will also debut another new module.
“A mobile robot without a conveyor or top module is like a robot arm without a gripper,” said Peder Grejsen, technical sales manager at ROEQ. “Production throughput can be greatly improved when mobile robots are outfitted with intelligent top modules that self-load and unload.”
The TR500 accommodates U.S. pallets and can be delivered with a fully automated lifter functionality for pickup and delivery of goods in heights ranging from 23.6 in. (600mm) to 29.5 in. (750mm).
The Top Roller integrates seamlessly in MiR’s own user interface, where all control functions are embedded. When the robot is called to deliver or pick up goods, the conveyor communicates with the pickup and delivery stations and will automatically activate the loading or unloading upon arrival.
“By targeting the loading and unloading of mobile robots, we are addressing that missing link in the automated logistics cycle that today is handled either by fork or pallet lifters or manually by employees,” said Grejsen. “Adding the conveyor capability strengthens the employees’ work environment by taking over ergonomically unfavorable tasks or by reducing truck traffic and noise.”
Niels Jul Jacobsen, chief strategy officer at MiR, welcomed the TR500 into the company’s partner ecosystem. “With the TR500, ROEQ is offering a valuable new product that greatly enhances the MiR500’s capabilities,” he said. “Addressing U.S. pallet sizes while also offering adjustable height functionality are unique new features that differentiates ROEQ’s new top modules from existing solutions. We’re excited to see this launch in North America.”
North American distributors see a good fit for the TR500
ROEQ is rapidly expanding its North American distributor network, representing ROEQ in the mid-Atlantic region is the Knotts Company, where sales manager, Mark Howe sees a huge potential in outfitting MiR500s with conveyor functions.
“Being able to handle 500 kg payload on mobile conveyors opens doors into new types of customers,” he said, referring to material handling industries and distribution centers. “We can now also focus on customers that handle large bulk material that needs transport between warehouse and manufacturing floors. We’re already seeing a significant demand for ROEQ’s smaller top modules, and we expect the TR500 to be equally well received.”
The TR500 also eliminates the need for dedicated pallet stands, added Cale Harbour, vice president of product marketing at Advanced Control Solutions, ROEQ’s distribution partner in the Southeastern U.S.
“For customers with space restraints, this can make a big difference,” he said. “In our region, we see this product as a perfect fit for automotive and carpet manufacturing industries with many internal logistics tasks that can now be automated. It’s a new emerging technology that has really taken off in the last year and a half.”
The company has also launched a host of other add-ons for MiR, including docking stations, lifts, and the highly flexible solution ROEQ C300 cart. By using the ROEQ C300 Cart solution, the robot can collect loaded carts, deliver it to the designated docking station, and leave it there to be emptied or prepared for the next mission. This solution ensures that the MiR robot is only stationary for a short amount of time, effectively streamlining the workflow between different divisions of the facility.
“Whenever we sell a MiR robot, adding ROEQ modules is always key to that conversation,” said Howe. “The value-add is tremendous, we’re always impressed with how well the products integrate with the MiR platform on both the hardware and software side.”
ROEQ is short for “Robotic Equipment” and evolved from the Danish company Produkt Innovation (PI) founded in 2002, an R&D consulting business with clients such as Novo Nordisk and Leica Geosystems.
In the spring of 2017, PI had a consulting assignment working with Mobile Industrial Robots, which spawned the idea of developing the products being sold today. Three employees developed and tested the applications, and the first sale of ROEQ equipment occurred in early 2018.
ROEQ has since grown to establish a global network of devoted distributors and continues to develop and engineer new and exciting products to enhance and streamline facilities in many industries around the world. The company is part of the thriving Danish robotics cluster located on the island of Funen, Denmark.