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Communication & Safety Challenges Facing Mobile Robots Manufacturers

Mobile robots are everywhere, from warehouses to hospitals and even on the street. Their popularity is easy to understand; they’re cheaper, safer, easier to find, and more productive than actual workers. They’re easy to scale or combine with other machines. As mobile robots collect a lot of real-time data, companies can use mobile robots to start their IIoT journey.

But to work efficiently, mobile robots need safe and reliable communication. This article outlines the main communication and safety challenges facing mobile robot manufacturers and provides an easy way to overcome these challenges to keep mobile robots moving.

What are Mobile Robots?

Before we begin, let’s define what we mean by mobile robots.

Mobile robots transport materials from one location to another and come in two types, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). AGVs use guiding infrastructure (wires reflectors, reflectors, or magnetic strips) to follow predetermined routes. If an object blocks an AGV’s path, the AGV stops and waits until the object is removed.

AMRs are more dynamic. They navigate via maps and use data from cameras, built-in sensors, or laser scanners to detect their surroundings and choose the most efficient route. If an object blocks an AMR’s planned route, it selects another route. As AMRs are not reliant on guiding infrastructure, they’re quicker to install and can adapt to logistical changes.

What are the Communication and Safety Challenges Facing Mobile Robot Manufacturers?

1. Establish a Wireless Connection

The first challenge for mobile robot manufacturers is to select the most suitable wireless technology. The usual advice is to establish the requirements, evaluate the standards, and choose the best match. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible for mobile robot manufacturers as often they don’t know where the machine will be located or the exact details of the target application.

Sometimes a Bluetooth connection will be ideal as it offers a stable non-congested connection, while other applications will require a high-speed, secure cellular connection. What would be useful for mobile robot manufacturers is to have a networking technology that’s easy to change to meet specific requirements.

Figure 1. 
Wireless standard -high-level advantages and disadvantages

The second challenge is to ensure that the installation works as planned. Before installing a wireless solution, complete a predictive site survey based on facility drawings to ensure the mobile robots have sufficient signal coverage throughout the location. The site survey should identify the optimal location for the Access Points, the correct antenna type, the optimal antenna angle, and how to mitigate interference. After the installation, use wireless sniffer tools to check the design and adjust APs or antenna as required.

2. Connecting Mobile Robots to Industrial Networks

Mobile robots need to communicate with controllers at the relevant site even though the mobile robots and controllers are often using different industrial protocols. For example, an AGV might use CANopen while the controller might use PROFINET. Furthermore, mobile robot manufacturers may want to use the same AGV model on a different site where the controller uses another industrial network, such as EtherCAT.

Mobile robot manufacturers also need to ensure that their mobile robots have sufficient capacity to process the required amount of data. The required amount of data will vary depending on the size and type of installation. Large installations may use more data as the routing algorithms need to cover a larger area, more vehicles, and more potential routes. Navigation systems such as vision navigation process images and therefore require more processing power than installations using other navigation systems such as reflectors. As a result, mobile robot manufacturers must solve the following challenges:

  1. They need a networking technology that supports all major fieldbus and industrial Ethernet networks.
  2. It needs to be easy to change the networking technology to enable the mobile robot to communicate on the same industrial network as the controller without changing the hardware design.
  3. They need to ensure that the networking technology has sufficient capacity and functionality to process the required data.

3. Creating a Safe System

Creating a system where mobile robots can safely transport material is a critical but challenging task. Mobile robot manufacturers need to create a system that considers all the diverse types of mobile robots, structures, and people in the environment. They need to ensure that the mobile robots react to outside actions, such as someone opening a safety door or pushing an emergency stop button, and that the networking solution can process different safety protocols and interfaces. They need to consider that AMRs move freely and manage the risk of collisions accordingly. The technology used in sensors is constantly evolving, and mobile robot manufacturers need to follow the developments to ensure their products remain as efficient as possible.

Figure 2.
Overview of Safety Challenges for Mobile Robot Manufacturers

Safety Standards

The safety standards provide guidelines on implementing safety-related components, preparing the environment, and maintaining machines or equipment.

While compliance with the different safety standards (ISO, DIN, IEC, ANSI, etc.) is mostly voluntary, machine builders in the European Union are legally required to follow the safety standards in the machinery directives. Machinery directive 2006/42/EC is always applicable for mobile robot manufacturers, and in some applications, directive 2014/30/EU might also be relevant as it regulates the electromagnetic compatibility of equipment. Machinery directive 2006/42/EC describes the requirements for the design and construction of safe machines introduced into the European market. Manufacturers can only affix a CE label and deliver the machine to their customers if they can prove in the declaration of conformity that they have fulfilled the directive’s requirements.

Although the other safety standards are not mandatory, manufacturers should still follow them as they help to fulfill the requirements in machinery directive 2006/42/EC. For example, manufacturers can follow the guidance in ISO 12100 to reduce identified risks to an acceptable residual risk. They can use ISO 13849 or IEC 62061 to find the required safety level for each risk and ensure that the corresponding safety-related function meets the defined requirements. Mobile robot manufacturers decide how they achieve a certain safety level. For example, they can decrease the speed of the mobile robot to lower the risk of collisions and severity of injuries to an acceptable level. Or they can ensure that mobile robots only operate in separated zones where human access is prohibited (defined as confined zones in ISO 3691-4).
Identifying the correct standards and implementing the requirements is the best way mobile manufacturers can create a safe system. But as this summary suggests, it’s a complicated and time-consuming process.

4. Ensuring a Reliable CAN Communication
A reliable and easy-to-implement standard since the 1980s, communication-based on CAN technology is still growing in popularity, mainly due to its use in various booming industries, such as E-Mobility and Battery Energy Storage Systems (BESS). CAN is simple, energy and cost-efficient. All the devices on the network can access all the information, and it’s an open standard, meaning that users can adapt and extend the messages to meet their needs.
For mobile robot manufacturers, establishing a CAN connection is becoming even more vital as it enables them to monitor the lithium-ion batteries increasingly used in mobile robot drive systems, either in retrofit systems or in new installations. Mobile robot manufacturers need to do the following:

1.Establish a reliable connection to the CAN or CANopen communication standards to enable them to check their devices, such as monitoring the battery’s status and performance.

2. Protect systems from electromagnetic interference (EMI), as EMI can destroy a system’s electronics. The risk of EMI is significant in retrofits as adding new components, such as batteries next to the communication cable, results in the introduction of high-frequency electromagnetic disturbances.

5. Accessing Mobile Robots Remotely
The ability to remotely access a machine’s control system can enable mobile robot vendors or engineers to troubleshoot and resolve most problems without traveling to the site.

Figure 3.
Benefits of Remote Access

The challenge is to create a remote access solution that balances the needs of the IT department with the needs of the engineer or vendor.

The IT department wants to ensure that the network remains secure, reliable, and retains integrity. As a result, the remote access solution should include the following security measures:

  • Use outbound connections rather than inbound connections to keep the impact on the firewall to a minimum.
  • Separate the relevant traffic from the rest of the network.
  • Encrypt and protect all traffic to ensure its confidentiality and integrity.
  • Ensure that vendors work in line with or are certified to relevant security standards such as ISO 27001
  • Ensure that suppliers complete regular security audits.

The engineer or vendor wants an easy-to-use and dependable system. It should be easy for users to connect to the mobile robots and access the required information. If the installation might change, it should be easy to scale the number of robots as required. If the mobile robots are in a different country from the vendors or engineers, the networking infrastructure must have sufficient coverage and redundancy to guarantee availability worldwide.

As we’ve seen, mobile robot manufacturers must solve many communication and safety challenges. They must establish a wireless connection, send data over different networks, ensure safety, connect to CAN systems, and securely access the robots remotely. And to make it more complicated, each installation must be re-assessed and adapted to meet the on-site requirements.

Best practice to implement mobile robot communication
Mobile robot manufacturers are rarely communication or safety experts. Subsequently, they can find it time-consuming and expensive to try and develop the required communication technology in-house. Enlisting purpose-built third-party communication solutions not only solves the communication challenges at hand, it also provides other benefits.

Modern communication solutions have a modular design enabling mobile robot manufacturers to remove one networking product designed for one standard or protocol and replace it with a product designed for a different standard or protocol without impacting any other part of the machine. For example, Bluetooth may be the most suitable wireless standard in one installation, while Wi-Fi may provide better coverage in another installation. Similarly, one site may use the PROFINET and PROFIsafe protocols, while another may use different industrial and safety protocols. In both scenarios, mobile robot manufacturers can use communication products to change the networking technology to meet the local requirements without making any changes to the hardware design.


Mark Crossley, Daniel Heinzler, Fredrik Brynolf, Thomas Carlsson

HMS Networks

HMS Networks is an industrial communication expert based in Sweden, providing several solutions for AGV communication. Read more on

Best4Automation: Cobots als logischer nächster Robotik-Schritt für den Automatisierungs-Marktplatz

Collaborative Robots, kurz Cobots, spielen eine immer größere Bedeutung in der Automatisierung. Aus diesem Grund hat sich der B2B-Online-Marktplatz für Automatisierungstechnik – – entschieden, Cobots und deren Zubehör von verschiedenen namhaften Marken aufzunehmen. So wurde das Angebot um dutzende Cobot-Produkte von verschiedenen Partnern erweitert. Diese werden durch das riesige Angebot an verschiedensten Automatisierungsprodukten – mehr als 1 Million – bestens ergänzt. Nun sind hier eine stetig wachsende Anzahl an Cobots und deren Zubehör für die unterschiedlichsten Anwendungsfälle verfügbar. Mittels diverser Filter lassen sie die Cobots nach Traglasten oder Reichweiten selektieren. Das spart Zeit.

Die riesige Auswahl an Produkten von über 50 namhaften Marken macht Best4Automation zu einem der größten B2B-Marktplätze für Automatisierungstechnik in Deutschland. Die Plattform verkauft bereits seit 2017 erfolgreich Automatisierungsprodukte an eine Vielzahl von Kunden, die einen breiten Querschnitt der Branche darstellen. Von Anschlüssen, Kabeln und Sensoren, bis hin zu Steuerungstechnik findet sich hier alles, was für die Realisierung jedes erdenklichen Automatisierungsprojektes benötigt wird. Das macht die Entscheidung Cobot-Lösungen anzubieten zu einem logischen Schritt, denn bei Best4Automation können alle benötigten Teile für die Realisierung selbst komplexester Robotik-Projekte direkt aus einer Hand bezogen werden. So profitieren Kunden von dem Angebot und dem Know-How eines voll integrierten und erfahrenen Allround-Online-Marktplatzes.

„Mit diesem Schritt bieten wir als Automatisierungsspezialist nicht nur Erweiterungskomponenten und Ersatzteile für Roboter, sondern auch das Komplettpaket. Davon profitieren unsere Kunden.“ Sagt Janko Strauß, Geschäftsführer von Best4Automation.

Die erfolgreiche Installation und Anwendung eines Cobot-Systems erfordert, aufgrund der Komplexität, ein nicht unerhebliches Maß an technischem Know-How bei Projektierung und Handling. Diesen Aspekt hat Best4Automation bei der Etablierung dieses Produktfelds bedacht und hat mit neuen Angeboten rund um alle Systemanforderungen dieser komplexen Geräte reagiert.

Auf werden durch fortschrittliche Funktionen der Kauf von vollständigen Cobot-Systemen sowie Einzelprodukten zu einer einfachen, schnellen und erfolgreichen Erfahrung. So werden bei der Auswahl von Cobots auch passendes Zubehör vorgeschlagen. Hier helfen umfangreiches Informationsmaterial, wie beispielsweise Datenblätter, und bei Wunsch steht auch die Beratung durch fachkundige Robotik-Spezialisten bei der Projektierung zur Verfügung. Sollten technische Schwierigkeiten oder Fragen nach Installation auftreten, kann Fachpersonal für Support dazu gebucht werden. Das sorgt dafür, dass der Cobot zur vollsten Zufriedenheit funktioniert und dennoch keine unnötigen Kosten für die Kunden entstehen. Auch Schulungen können, je nach Anforderungen, angefragt werden, sodass jede Installation und Nutzung des Geräts einfach und schnell zu gewünschten Resultaten führt. Beste Beratung und absolute Kundenzufriedenheit stehen zu jeder Zeit im Vordergrund.

RBTX Online-Marktplatz 2.0: Jetzt noch einfacher zur individuellen Low Cost Automation

Durch intuitives Design die richtigen Komponenten und über 100 kostengünstige Automatisierungs-Lösungen sofort im Blick

Köln/Nürnberg, 9. November 2022 – Wer auf der Suche nach einer individuellen und kostengünstigen Automatisierungslösung ist, braucht dank des RBTX Online-Marktplatzes von igus nicht lange suchen. Anstatt aus vielen verschiedenen Quellen finden Interessierte hier Low Cost Robotik-Komponenten unterschiedlicher Hersteller – immer mit Preis- und Kompatibilitätsgarantie. Damit die Auswahl der passenden Einzelteile oder des fertigen Systems noch einfacher gelingt, präsentiert igus den Robotik-Marktplatz 2.0 jetzt in neuem Design und mit neuen Funktionen.

Alle Möglichkeiten der Low Cost Robotik auf einer Plattform bündeln und Automation so leicht zugänglich wie möglich machen: Dieses Ziel verfolgt der motion plastics Spezialist igus mit seinem Robotik-Marktplatz, der 2019 an den Start ging. Die Online-Plattform bringt Anwender und Anbieter von Low Cost Robotik einfach und schnell zusammen, damit Interessierte für ihre Automationskonzepte genau die Einzelkomponenten oder fertigen Komplettlösungen finden, die ihren Anforderungen und ihrem Budget entsprechen. „Inzwischen kommen auf unserem RBTX-Marktplatz bereits 76 Partner zusammen. RBTX ist in 9 Ländern verfügbar und Interessierten stehen aktuell 259 verschiedene Produkte zur Auswahl – von Robotern über Software, Steuerungen und Leistungselektronik bis hin zu Kameras, Greifern, Sensoren oder Motoren“, erklärt Alexander Mühlens, Leiter Geschäftsbereich Automatisierungstechnik und Robotik bei igus. Dabei werden alle Komponenten vorab miteinander kombiniert und getestet, sodass sie zu 100 Prozent zusammen funktionieren. „Wir möchten unseren Online-Marktplatz fortlaufend um weitere Partner und Produkte erweitern, damit Anwender stets Zugang zu einem aktuellen und vielfältigen Angebot in diesem schnell wachsenden Marktsegment haben“, so Mühlens.

Schneller ans Ziel dank verbesserter User Experience

Eines der Unternehmensziele von igus: “become the easiest company to deal with“. Das gilt auch für die Benutzerfreundlichkeit der Online-Tools und Plattformen wie RBTX. „Wir haben unsere Webseite analysiert und Feedback von unseren Kunden eingeholt, um herauszufinden, wie wir den Online-Marktplatz und die User Experience weiter optimieren können. Mit dem neuen Design wollen wir noch mehr Marktplatz-Charakter und Übersichtlichkeit schaffen und eine noch intuitivere Nutzung ermöglichen. Damit jeder Interessierte so schnell und einfach wie möglich eine passende Robotik-Lösung findet“, sagt Mühlens. Darüber hinaus finden Kunden auf der Plattform über 100 fertige Low Cost Komplettlösungen und Applikationsbeispiele mit Kompatibilitätsgarantie und Stückliste. So gibt es beispielsweise mehrere Klebeanwendungen bereits ab 6.010 Euro. Dank neuem Design inklusive Filterfunktion nach Anwendungsfall oder Branche geht das nun noch einfacher. Zudem gibt es jetzt weitere Produktkategorien wie Software. So lassen sich auch GCODE- oder CSV-Dateikonverter sowie komplette LabVIEW-, MATLAB- und ROS Node-Schnittstellen schnell finden.

Mit dem RBTXpert bei jedem Schritt bestens beraten

Wer nicht genau weiß, welche Automatisierungslösung die richtige ist oder welche Komponenten für das eigene Automatisierungskonzept benötigt werden, kann sich den RBTXpert zur Hilfe holen. Dieser steht Nutzern nun bei jedem Schritt auf der Webseite zur Verfügung und lässt sich direkt für einen Beratungstermin buchen. Dahinter stecken erfahrene Automatisierungsexperten von igus, die Interessierten mit Rat und Tat zur Seite stehen, um für jeden Anwendungsfall die passende Lösung zu finden. Dieser Service ist eine kostenlose Videoberatung, in der Interessierte am Ende ein individuelles Festpreisangebot erhalten. Auf einer 400 Quadratmeter großen Customer Testing Area führen die Experten täglich Live-Videoberatungen durch und testen gemeinsam mit dem Kunden die Machbarkeit der geplanten Automatisierung. Mit “Test before Invest” können Kunden ganz bequem Ihre Automatisierungsaufgaben einsenden. Die Robotik-Spezialisten testen dann die Roboterinstallation innerhalb einer Stunde kostenlos mit dem Kundenwerkstück. „Dieser Service wird immer mehr genutzt. In Deutschland haben wir aktuell rund 10 Tests pro Woche. Kunden erhalten danach ein Video zum Handlings-Test mit Festpreisangebot zu den benötigten Komponenten, wenn Sie die Anwendung umsetzen wollen”, stellt Alexander Mühlens heraus und fasst zusammen: „Seit Beginn haben wir bereits über 1.200 Projekte betreut und wir beraten im Schnitt allein in Deutschland 25 Kunden pro Woche. Wir stehen dabei Interessierten mit Ideen und unserem ganzen Know-how intensiv zur Seite, damit wirklich jeder ganz einfach eine für sich passende Robotik-Lösung findet, ohne dabei von den Kosten ausgebremst zu werden.“

World Robotics Report: “All-Time High” with Half a Million Robots Installed in one Year

IFR presents World Robotics Report 2022 #WorldRobotics

Frankfurt, Oct 13, 2022 — The new World Robotics report shows an all-time high of 517,385 new industrial robots installed in 2021 in factories around the world. This represents a growth rate of 31% year-on-year and exceeds the pre-pandemic record of robot installation in 2018 by 22%. Today, the stock of operational robots around the globe hits a new record of about 3.5 million units.”

“The use of robotics and automation is growing at a breathtaking speed,” says Marina Bill, President of the International Federation of Robotics. “Within six years, annual robot installations more than doubled. According to our latest statistics, installations grew strongly in 2021 in all major customer industries, although supply chain disruptions as well as different local or regional headwinds hampered production.”

Asia, Europe and the Americas – overview

Asia remains the world’s largest market for industrial robots. 74% of all newly deployed robots in 2021 were installed in Asia (2020: 70%).

Installations for the region´s largest adopter China grew strongly by 51% with 268,195 units shipped. Every other robot installed globally in 2021 was deployed here. The operational stock broke the 1-million-unit mark (+27%). This high growth rate indicates the rapid speed of robotization in China.  

Japan remained second to China as the largest market for industrial robots. Installations were up 22% in 2021 with 47,182 units. Japan’s operational stock was 393,326 units (+5%) in 2021.
After two years of declining robot installations in all major industries, numbers began growing again in 2021. Japan is the world´s predominant robot manufacturing country: Exports of Japanese industrial robots achieved a new peak level at 186,102 units in 2021.

The Republic of Korea was the fourth largest robot market in terms of annual installations, following the US, Japan and China. Robot installations increased by 2% to 31,083 units in 2021. This followed four years of declining installation figures. The operational stock of robots was computed at 366,227 units (+7%).


Robot installations in Europe were up 24% to 84,302 units in 2021. This represents a new peak. Demand from the automotive industry was steady, while demand from the general industry was up by 51%. Germany, which belongs to the five major robot markets in the world, had a share of 28% of total installations in Europe. Italy followed with 17% and France with 7%.

The number of installed robots in Germany grew by 6% to 23,777 units in 2021. This is the second highest installation count ever recorded, following the peak caused by massive investments from the automotive industry in 2018 (26,723 units). The operational stock of robots was calculated at 245,908 units (+7%) in 2021. Exports of industrial robots from Germany were up 41% to 22,870 units, exceeding the pre-pandemic level.

Italy is the second largest robot market in Europe after Germany. The main growth driver between 2016 and 2021 was the general industry with an annual average growth rate of 8%. 
The operational stock of robots was computed at 89,330 units (+14%) in 2021. The 2021 results were driven by catch-up effects and earlier purchases due to a reduction of tax credits in 2022. This created a 65% increase of robot installations to a new record level of 14,083 units in 2021.

The robot market in France ranked third in Europe in 2021 regarding annual installations and operational stock, following Italy and Germany. In 2021, robot installations increased by 11% to 5,945 units. The operational stock of robots in France was calculated at 49,312 units, a 10% increase over the previous year.

In the United Kingdom, industrial robot installations were down by 7% to 2,054 units. The operational stock of robots was calculated at 24,445 units (+6%) in 2021. This is less than a tenth of Germany´s stock. The automotive industry reduced installations by 42% to 507 units in 2021.

The Americas

In 2021, 50,712 industrial robots were installed in the Americas, 31% more than in 2020. This is a remarkable recovery from the pandemic dip in 2020 and the second time that robot installations in the Americas exceeded the 50,000-unit mark, with 55,212 units in 2018 setting the benchmark.

New installations in the United States were up by 14% to 34,987 units in 2021. This exceeded the pre-pandemic level of 33,378 units in 2019 but was still considerably lower than the peak level of 40,373 units in 2018. The automotive industry is still by far the number one adopter with 9,782 units installed in 2021. However, demand had been continuously declining for five years (2016-2021). In 2021 installations were down 7% compared to 2020. Installations in the metal and machinery industry surged by 66% to 3,814 units in 2021, putting this industry into second place in terms of robot demand. The plastic and chemical products industry had 3,466 robots (+30%) newly installed in 2021.  The food and beverage industry installed 25% more robots, reaching a new peak level of 3,402 units in 2021. The robotics industry offers hygienic solutions that experienced growing demand during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Rising energy prices, intermediate product prices and scarcity of electronic components are challenging all branches of the global economy. But order books are full and demand for industrial robots has never been higher. In total, global robot installations are expected to grow by 10% to almost 570,000 units in 2022. The post-pandemic boom experienced in 2021 is expected to fade out in 2022. From 2022 to 2025, average annual growth rates in the medium to upper single-digit range are forecast.

Orders for World Robotics 2022 Industrial Robots and Service Robots reports can be placed online. Further downloads on the content are available here.

AGILOX introduces new ODM robot

AGILOX expands its product portfolio with an intelligent dolly mover

With the new AGILOX ODM, the AMR manufacturer is targeting a completely new area of application: the transport of small load carriers.

After AGILOX ONE and AGILOX OCF, now comes AGILOX ODM. The company, which specializes in logistics robots, is adding an autonomous dolly mover to its range of intelligent transport systems controlled by swarm intelligence. AGILOX is thus targeting a completely new area of application: the transport of small load carriers.

AGILOX is expanding its range of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) with the new Omnidirectional Dolly Mover AGILOX ODM. While the AGILOX ONE is equipped with a scissor lift and the AGILOX OCF has a free lift for load handling, the AGILOX ODM is built on the principle of a dolly mover. This means it can accept loads with a maximum weight of 300 kg to a maximum lifting height of 250 mm and transport them to their destination. The intelligent AMR concept with AGILOX X-SWARM technology thus opens up new areas of application and other industry segments because small load carriers (such as totes), which the new AGILOX ODM is designed to transport, are widely used, especially in the electronics and pharmaceutical industries.

Details of the new AGILOX ODM
With the AGILOX ODM, AGILOX has brought new thinking to the concept of Automated Guided Vehicles: The compact vehicle travels autonomously and navigates freely on the production floor or in the warehouse, perfectly ensuring the in-house material flow. Just like AGILOX ONE and AGILOX OCF, AGILOX ODM uses an omnidirectional drive concept. This allows it to travel transversely into rack aisles as well as turn on the spot, enabling it to maneuver even in the tightest of spaces. The lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) accumulator ensures short charge times and long operating cycles.

“AGILOX is a brand that has built a strong foundation with the AGILOX ONE and the AGILOX OCF. With the new AGILOX ODM, we remain true to our brand DNA while simultaneously targeting the transport of small load carriers to support our growth plan to become the world’s leading AMR provider,” says Georg Kirchmayr, CEO of AGILOX Services GmbH.

The AGILOX advantage
With the new AGILOX ODM, customers can benefit from all the advantages of same proven X-SWARM technology as in AGILOX ONE and AGILOX OCF: the unique advantages of an (intra-)logistics solution designed from the ground up.

Since AGILOX AMRs have no need for a central control system and can orient to the existing contours with millimeter precision, this eliminates time-consuming and costly modifications to the existing infrastructure. Autonomous route-finding also enables the vehicles to avoid obstacles unaided. If it is not possible to get past the detected obstacle due its size or the available clearance, the AMRs calculate a new route within seconds to reach their destination as quickly as possible. For customers, this means maximum freedom in their existing processes, because they do not have to adapt to the Autonomous Mobile Robot system. Instead, the system adapts to the customer’s processes. Furthermore, fully autonomous routing ensures a safe workflow – even in mixed operations.

Plug & Perform commissioning of the intelligent intralogistics solutions and the absence of a master computer or navigation aids also saves AGILOX customers from doing tedious alteration work in advance. Once the logistics robots have been put into operation, they organize themselves according to the (decentralized) principle of swarm intelligence, i.e. they exchange information several times a second to enable the entire fleet to calculate the most efficient route and prevent potential deadlocks before these can occur. The customer thus benefits from a system that constantly runs smoothly, with no downtime. Time-consuming coordination of vehicles by the customer is also a thing of the past thanks to AGILOX X-SWARM technology. For the customer, this means flexibility, because it lets them expand the vehicles‘ area of operation within just a few minutes. It also means that it is very easy to relocate an AGILOX AMR to be used temporarily in other areas of the company areas or its subsidiaries. Since AGILOX vehicles can also communicate with other machines or the building infrastructure by means of IO boxes, even rolling doors or multiple floors are no problem for the AMRs. So, this too means that customers enjoy maximum flexibility in the organization of their production processes.

Another major advantage comes from mixed operation of the AGILOX fleet in a “swarm”. The smaller AGILOX ONE and ODM series vehicles can then, for example, feed the assembly workstations or e-Kanban racks, while the AGILOX OCF vehicles transport the pallets. This can easily be done because AGILOX AMRs all use the same control and WiFi infrastructure.

RBTX Marktplatz gewinnt führenden Cobot-Hersteller Universal Robots als neuen Partner

RBTX powered by igus treibt die Low Cost Automation weiter voran und erweitert sein Marktplatz-Angebot um UR Cobots

Köln, 4. Oktober 2022 – In der Industrie sind Roboter längst unverzichtbar. Doch insbesondere kleine und mittelständische Unternehmen stehen oftmals vor der Frage: Wie lässt sich eine Aufgabe mit wenig Aufwand kostengünstig automatisieren? Seit 2019 bietet der RBTX Marktplatz powered by igus, der Robotik-Anbieter und Anwender zusammenbringt, einfache und preiswerte Lösungen ab 2981 Euro – zum Beispiel einen Pipettierroboter mit allem Zubehör. Jetzt kooperiert RBTX auch mit Universal Robots, einem der Weltmarktführer für industrielle, kollaborierende Leichtbauroboter.

Flexible Automatisierungslösungen und eine schnelle Integration sowie intuitive Nutzung – dieses gemeinsame Ziel verfolgen der Marktplatz RBTX und der führende Cobot-Hersteller Universal Robots mit ihrem Robotik-Angebot. Um Synergien effektiv zu nutzen, verkündeten die beiden Unternehmen auf der Motek 2022 in Stuttgart nun den Start ihrer Partnerschaft in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz im Rahmen des RBTX-Angebots des Kunststoff-Spezialisten igus. Über kooperiert der Marktplatz inzwischen mit 70 Unternehmen, die ihre Roboter, Greifsysteme, Kameratechnik, Förderbänder, Software und Services auf der Online-Plattform anbieten. Der Vorteil: RBTX gibt eine Kompatibilitätsgarantie für das gesamte Software- und Hardware-Angebot, sodass Anwender stets sicher gehen können, dass alle Komponenten miteinander funktionieren. „Mit Universal Robots haben wir nun einen weiteren namhaften Partner dazugewonnen, durch den wir das Produktangebot auf – abgesehen vom igus eigenen Roboter ReBeL – erstmals um Cobots erweitern können”, sagt Alexander Mühlens, Leiter Geschäftsbereich Automatisierungstechnik und Robotik bei igus. „Universal Robots ist nicht nur ein Pionier für Cobots, sondern auch wegweisend, wenn es um die intuitive Programmierung von Robotern geht. Das passt genau in das Konzept unseres Marktplatzes für Low Cost Automation-Lösungen, die sich auch ohne jegliche Vorkenntnisse schnell und unkompliziert umsetzen lassen. Daher freuen wir uns sehr, dass wir Universal Robots als Partner gewinnen konnten.“ Auf dem Marktplatz gibt es bereits zahlreiches Zubehör, wie die 7. Roboterachse von igus, welches sich mit den UR Cobots kombinieren lässt.

Gemeinsam Hürden senken
„Universal Robots bietet einfach zu integrierende Automatisierungslösungen, die es Kunden ermöglichen, ihre Wettbewerbsfähigkeit zu stärken und einen schnellen Return on Invest zu erzielen – das passt sehr gut zum Ansatz von RBTX”, sagt Andrea Alboni, General Manager Western Europe bei Universal Robots. Alexander Mühlens ergänzt: „Als offener Marktplatz sind wir immer an neuen Partnern interessiert, denn so können wir über unsere Plattform am Ende noch mehr individuelle Lösungen anbieten. Schließlich verfolgen wir ein gemeinsames Ziel: Automatisierung so zugänglich wie möglich zu machen.” Ganz nach dem „Build or Buy“-Prinzip finden Interessierte auf RBTX ein fertiges Robotik-System zum Festpreis oder können individuell Komponenten für die eigene Lösung zusammenstellen. Auf dem Marktplatz haben Interessierte auch jederzeit Zugang zum RBTXpert – einen Remote-Integrator-Service für Automatisierungslösungen mit Festpreis. Der RBTXperte prüft gemeinsam mit dem Kunden im Videochat (erste Stunde kostenfrei) die Machbarkeit der geplanten Anwendung und zeigt die Vorteile unterschiedlicher Kinematiken. Nach dem Beratungsgesprächs erhält der Kunde ein Angebot mit Festpreis – immer mit dem Fokus darauf, die kostengünstigste, funktionierende Lösung zu finden. Zudem hilft der RBTXpert bei der Inbetriebnahme. So findet auf jeder die passende Automatisierungslösung für seine Anwendung und sein Budget – auch ohne Automatisierungserfahrung oder Programmierkenntnisse. Dank des stetig wachsenden Partnernetzwerks bietet RBTX Kunden ein immer größeres Low Cost Automation-Universum – mit dem gemeinsamen Ziel, die Hürden in der Automatisierung weiter zu senken.

Gebündelte Innovationskraft: igus erwirbt Mehrheit an Commonplace Robotics

motion plastics von igus mit intuitiver Software von Commonplace Robotics für einfache Lösungen in der Automatisierung

Köln, 29. September 2022 – Der motion plastics Spezialist igus investiert in den Ausbau seiner Aktivitäten in der Low Cost Automatisierung und hat jetzt die mehrheitlichen Anteile an Commonplace Robotics mit Sitz in Bissendorf bei Osnabrück erworben. Commonplace Robotics ist als Integrator spezialisiert auf intuitiv bedienbare Steuerung und Software sowie Leistungselektronik für die Robotik, sowohl im Industrie- als auch im Bildungsbereich. Beide Unternehmen arbeiten bereits seit sechs Jahren intensiv zusammen und haben unter anderem gemeinsam die igus Robot Control entwickelt, welche die Low Cost Kinematiken von igus aus Hochleistungskunststoffen ergänzt.

Vor 11 Jahren gründete Dr. Christian Meyer, bis dahin im Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung tätig, die Firma Commonplace Robotics. Der Name war Programm: Die Integration und Bedienung von Robotern so günstig und einfach machen, dass sie “commonplace” werden – also überall einsetzbar sind. Die ersten Produkte mit Steuerung und eigener Leistungselektronik waren Roboter für die Didaktik. 2016 trat Christian Meyer an igus heran, denn er stellte fest, dass die Roboter-Kinematiken von igus zu seiner Vision von “commonplace” passten: günstig, einfach, tauglich für die Industrie. Inzwischen haben die beiden Unternehmen gemeinsam Produkte wie die iRC igus Robot Control und den ReBeL Cobot sowie einen Aktuator entwickelt. Durch die hohe Fertigungstiefe von Commonplace Robotics – von Firmware und Software über Schaltschrankbau bis hin zur Platinenbestückung – können Neuentwicklungen schnell umgesetzt werden.

Mit gestärkter Innovationskraft die Low Cost Automation vorantreiben

„Viele Kunden sind überrascht, dass sie ohne Programmierkenntnisse einfache Roboteraufgaben schon in 30 Minuten realisieren können”, sagt Frank Blase, Geschäftsführer der igus GmbH. „Wir freuen uns sehr, dass nach der intensiven Zusammenarbeit der letzten sechs Jahre jetzt ein noch fokussierteres Vorgehen bei der Low Cost Automatisierung möglich ist.” Mit der Akquisition bündeln Commonplace Robotics und igus ihre Innovationskraft. Dr. Christian Meyer sagt: „Wir freuen uns auf spannende technologische Projekte mit igus. Gerade über die von igus betriebene Plattform RBTX für Low Cost Robotik kommen täglich neue Anforderungen von Kunden aus allen Bereichen der Industrie in unsere Labore. Vieles davon ist schnell umsetzbar, zumal wir mit der Investition expandieren werden.” Neuestes Produkt der Kooperation ist der ReBeL Cobot für 4.970 Euro inklusive Steuerung. Der Aktuator, auch als Einzelkomponente erhältlich, kombiniert das Kunststoff-Knowhow von igus im Getriebe mit der Leistungselektronik und Software von Commonplace Robotics. Der ReBeL kann mit sechs Achsen bis zu zwei Kilogramm Traglast bei einer Reichweite von 664 Millimetern handhaben – und das bei einem Eigengewicht von nur 8,2 Kilogramm. Anfragen und Bestellungen kommen einerseits aus klassischen Anwendungsgebieten wie der Qualitätskontrolle und Pick and Place- Anwendungen im Maschinenbau, und andererseits aus neuen Anwendungsgebieten wie der Restaurant-Automatisierung oder dem Urban Farming.

Auf der Motek in Stuttgart (Halle 7, Stand 7320 und 7321) und der SPS Messe in Nürnberg (Halle 4, Stand 310) können sich Interessierte live einen Eindruck der gemeinsam entwickelten Innovationen verschaffen.

Quickly available in six different housing variants | IDS adds numerous new USB3 cameras to its product range

Anyone who needs quickly available industrial cameras for image processing projects is not faced with an easy task due to the worldwide chip shortage. IDS Imaging Development Systems GmbH has therefore been pushing the development of alternative USB3 hardware generations with available, advanced semiconductor technology in recent months and has consistently acquired components for this purpose. Series production of new industrial cameras with USB3 interface and Vision Standard compatibility has recently started. In the CP and LE camera series of the uEye+ product line, customers can choose the right model for their applications from a total of six housing variants and numerous CMOS sensors.

The models of the uEye CP family are particularly suitable for space-critical applications thanks to their distinctive, compact magnesium housing with dimensions of only 29 x 29 x 29 millimetres and a weight of around 50 grams. Customers can choose from global and rolling shutter sensors from 0.5 to 20 MP in this product line. Those who prefer a board-level camera instead should take a look at the versatile uEye LE series. These cameras are available with coated plastic housings and C-/CS-mount lens flanges as well as board versions with or without C-/CS-mount or S-mount lens connections. They are therefore particularly suitable for projects in small device construction and integration in embedded vision systems. IDS initially offers the global shutter Sony sensors IMX273 (1.6 MP) and IMX265 (3.2 MP) as well as the rolling shutter sensors IMX290 (2.1 MP) and IMX178 (6.4 MP). Other sensors will follow.

The USB3 cameras are perfectly suited for use with IDS peak thanks to the vision standard transport protocol USB3 Vision®. The Software Development Kit includes programming interfaces in C, C++, C# with .NET and Python as well as tools that simplify the programming and operation of IDS cameras while optimising factors such as compatibility, reproducible behaviour and stable data transmission. Special convenience features reduce application code and provide an intuitive programming experience, enabling quick and easy commissioning of the cameras.

Learn more:

Kivnon brings perfect Pallet Stacking to Logistics & Automation 2022

Kivnon will be presenting its most advanced and safest AGV/AMR Forklift at the event

21 September 2022, Barcelona: Kivnon, an international group specializing in automation and mobile robotics, is attending Logistics & Automation in Spain and will be showcasing it’s safe and versatile K55 AGV/AMR Forklift Pallet Stacker. Putting the emphasis on forklift safety, Kivnon K55 is equipped with advanced safety features to guarantee safe operations as it collaborates, moves, and reacts in a facility.

The Kivnon K55 is designed to move and stack palletized loads at low heights and performs cyclic or conditioned routes while interacting with other AGVs/AMRs, machines, systems, and people, making it a highly effective and safe solution. The model incorporates safety scanners that allow the vehicle to ensure 360-degree safety and operate seamlessly in shared spaces. The fork sensors help assess the possibility of correct loading or unloading of the pallet, keeping the transported goods safe.

Thierry Delmas, Managing Director at Kivnon, says, “AGVs/AMRs are revolutionizing internal logistics. The rising forklift safety challenge is of deep concern, and with the K55 we have taken a step forward to address the global issue. The Kivnon range is designed to ensure safe and reliable operations and to optimize operational efficiency.“

During the event, which runs from 26 – 27 October at IFEMA, Madrid, Kivnon will demonstrate the capabilities of the K55 Pallet Stacker. The vehicle can autonomously transport palletized loads of up 1,000 kg and lift them to heights of up to 1 meter. The vehicle is capable of performing cyclical or conditional circuits and interacting with other AGVs/AMRs, machines, and systems. Highly adaptable, the K55 is perfect for any open-bottom or euro-pallet storage application, receipt and dispatch of goods, and internal material transport. Its use will optimize safety, storage space, and process efficiency.

A robust industrial product, the K55 provides the reliability required to ensure continuity of production process and flexibility to adapt to specific application needs, with an online battery charging system that can function 24/7 with opportunity charges.

Delmas continues, “The Logistics and Automation show is an important networking event where customers can learn about the latest technologies and innovations. We pride ourselves on innovation and are excited to have this opportunity to showcase the capabilities of our products. In addition to the K55, our robust portfolio also includes twister units, car and heavy load tractors, low-height vehicles, and cart pullers, meeting multiple application needs”

The efficiency and precision of Kivnon AGVs/AMRs will be on display and Kivnon robotics experts will be available throughout the show to answer questions and arrange consultations at booth #3F43.

To register for the show, please visit

About Kivnon:

Kivnon offers a wide range of autonomous vehicles (AGVs/AMRs) and accessories for transporting goods, using magnetic navigation or mapping technologies that adapt to any environment and industry. The company offers an integrated solution with a wide range of mobile robotics solutions automating different applications within the automotive, food and beverage, logistics and warehousing, manufacturing, and aeronautics industries. 

Kivnon products are characterized by their robustness, safety, precision, and high quality. A user-friendly design philosophy creates a pleasant, simple to install, and intuitive work experience.

Learn more about Kivnon mobile robots (AGVs/AMRs) here

Austin-based Apptronik Inks Partnership with NASA for Humanoid Robots


Apptronik, an Austin-based company specializing in the development of versatile, mobile robotic systems, is announcing a partnership with NASA to accelerate commercialization of its new humanoid robot. The robot, called Apollo, will be one of the first humanoids available to the commercial markets.

At Apptronik’s headquarters in Austin, Texas, the first prototype of Apollo is now complete, with the expectation of broader commercial availability in 2023. Unlike special-purpose robots that are only capable of a single, repetitive task, Apollo is designed as a general-purpose robot capable of doing a wide range of tasks in dynamic environments. Apollo will benefit workers in industries ranging from logistics, retail, hospitality, aerospace and beyond.

NASA is known across the globe for its contributions to the advancement of robotics technology. NASA first partnered with Apptronik in 2013 during the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC), where founders were selected to work on NASA’s Valkyrie Robot. The government agency has now selected Apptronik as a commercial partner to launch a new generation of general-purpose robots, starting with Apollo.

“Continued investment from NASA validates the work we are doing at Apptronik and the inflection point we have reached in robotics. The robots we’ve all dreamed about are now here and ready to get out into the world,” said Jeff Cardenas, CEO and co-founder of Apptronik. “These robots will first become tools for us here on Earth, and will ultimately help us move beyond and explore the stars.”

In addition to its work with NASA, Apptronik’s team has partnered with leading automotive OEMs, major transportation and logistics companies, and government agencies. Boasting notable names including Dr. Nicholas Paine, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Apptronik and Dr. Luis Sentis, Co-Founder and Scientific Advisor, its team is respected as among the best in the world. A growing hub for robotics, the Austin-based company continues to recruit top talent looking to bring their innovations to market now.

Apptronik is recognized for its emphasis on human-centered design, building beautifully designed and user-friendly robotic systems. As part of this commitment, it selected premier design firm argodesign as its partner in designing Apollo with the goal of creating robots capable of working alongside humans in our most critical industries. The team’s focus now is to scale Apollo so that it can be customer-ready in 2023.

About Apptronik:
Apptronik is a robotics company that has built a platform to deliver a variety of general-purpose robots. The company was founded in 2016 out of the Human Centered Robotics Lab at the University of Texas at Austin, with a mission to leverage innovative technology for the betterment of society. Its goal is to introduce the next generation of robots that will change the way people live and work, while tackling some of our world’s largest challenges. To learn more about careers at Apptronik, visit