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There is a working machine...

and it's coming to the warehouse to unload coffee sacks.


We've built it, and at the end of November, the RobLog industrial demonstrator will roll into the Vollers's warehouse in Bremen. There it will begin in-field testing of the unloading of real shipping containers packed full with coffee sacks.

But before deployment, several key components needed improvement to create better efficiencies to the machine to optimize unloading, namely fix the drop of the head unit and the swinging motion. Previously, these two issues created a drag on the overall cycle. As the machine moved to unload a sack, the weight of the head unit dropped approximately 40%. By reducing this drop, the machine would gain efficiencies, as the head would not have to reposition itself to account for the descent.

Learning from our previous testing, enhancements to just a few functionalities would equip the machine to make more successful gripping cycles. So the complete head unit (including the needele-chain gripping system) was rebuilt. Reinforcements to the current design at two key joints were made and new motors and needle chains for gripping were installed.

Fig. 2 Joint 5 - new driveshaft, bellow coupling

This detailed rebuilding project involved the supporting of two joints, specifically joints 4 and 5. By strengthening joint 4, the preceding swinging motion and drop of the head unit was eliminated. Preliminary tests revealed an improvement of 76% I the drop of the head unit; now after a sack is griped, the head unit drops only 35mm, as opposed to the previous 150mm. Joint 5 was also strengthened with a new driftshaft and bellow coupling.

New plates were manufactured and welded to further resolve the drop of the head, bringing the total overall improvement between 80-90% (see figure 3). Finally, new needle chains were integrated featuring 4 cm triangular-shaped spikes (see figure 4), increasing the previous length of each spike by 1 cm. Though this may seem like a small-scale improvement, this additional 1 cm allows for better and more successful grips in the unloading cycle.

Testing to the machine and its modifications are in progress, and fine-tuning will continue before it is deployed to the field, in week 48.

Fig. 3 Joint 4 - newly welded plates

Fig. 4 New 4 cm triangular-shaped spikes

THE ROBLOG DEMONSTRATORS

Preparing the Industrial Demonstrator for Vollers

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