Case story

Lifting column LC3 ideal for mobile transport robots

Fully automated storage systems, highly complex conveyors and driverless transport systems – recent decades have seen some truly impressive technological developments in the field of intralogistics. These new technologies significantly improve efficiency in production, and completely autonomous robots that perform transportation tasks have become an increasingly common feature in production halls. The company Smart Robotics uses a LINAK electric lifting column with their logiCON|Lift transport robots.

The product range from the German company Smart Robotics, a subsidiary of the ESCAD Group in Pfullendorf, includes solutions for intralogistics requirements, as well as light-weight robot systems. Their solutions are based on Mobile Industrial Robot products, and the company develops standardised or custom components for MiR mobile robots. As production halls are not built to a standard height, these robots need to compensate for different heights when moving and delivering products. With the logiCON|Lift transport robot, this is achieved by a special design, which includes an electric lifting column from LINAK®.

It is not only the heights of the loading and delivery points that vary in production plants. The entire production workflows and the tasks that the transport robots are required to complete also vary. Smart Robotics offers customised systems that meet all these requirements.

"The challenge for our logiCON|Lift was in the design. We had minimal installation dimensions but needed the highest possible lift. And the lifting column we needed had to be extremely stable," says Daniel Moritz, the designer behind the logiCON|Lift.

The lateral cable routing, which is possible with the LINAK lifting column LC3, was very helpful. Depending on the application, the robot will be exposed to dust and spraying water while operating. This is where the LC3, with its IPX4 protection class, meets the requirements. It even comes with IPX6 as an option.

The technicians at Smart Robotics looked at many electric lifting columns available on the market before choosing the LC3 from LINAK.

The crew even tested other electric adjustment options along the way. LINAK launched the LC3 in 2018 and offers it in three different versions: 4,000 N, 5,000 N or 6,000 N in push force. The compact installation dimension of the standard version is just 320 mm with a column length of 400 mm. This paves the road for numerous possible applications.

Lifting column LC3
 

"We initially tried to implement height adjustment using standard lifting columns, similar to those used in the furniture sector. However, it quickly became clear that these do not meet our requirements," says Hendrick Pierburg, project manager at Smart Robotics GmbH.

The excellent features, which provide stability, and compact installation dimension ultimately tipped the scales for the lifting column LC3. The transport robot needs to be able to handle products and place them with great precision, and the design needs to be stable in order to withstand runs, bumps and day-to-day production in general.

"If a column has too much play, it is very bad for most application situations," says Pierburg.

The transport robot is easy to commission and program via a web interface. The robot, driving around in its environment, creates a kind of map, which is the basis for its own navigation. The different work steps are then simply put together via the interface. It was very easy for the Smart Robotics designers to connect the LC3 directly to the robot's control system. The position feedback is provided via potentiometer and Hall sensors are also available as an option.

"We are convinced by the qualities of the lifting column. The low noise level is also a great advantage for most applications," says Manuel Kramer, Head of Electrical Engineering and Support at Smart Robotics.

In addition to the mobile robot, the LC3 is also used in a lightweight robot. The requirement here was to move the entire robot arm upwards during operation.

Lifting column LC3 ideal for mobile transport robots
 

"Stability is very important for this application, especially, because the robot's activities have to be performed with extreme precision," says Hendrick Pierburg. When developing the LC3, LINAK placed great emphasis on stability meaning that the column can also be used for applications such as operating tables or other advanced medical equipment. The column's dynamic bending moment is up to 1,400 Nm statically up to 3,000 Nm are within requirements though.

Read more about Smart Robotics here

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