Research to Business
Offer: 121

Flexible Continuous Conveyor

FlexConveyor Shows the Future of Plug-and-Play Conveyor Technology

Manufacturers offering an increasing variety of products at increasingly shorter product cycles exert a major impact on logistics in their plant operations. These requirements in terms of flexibility cannot be met by the present designs of commercial conveyor systems. True, the use of driverless transport systems offers a high level of flexibility, but it also causes a significantly lower throughput. Conventional continuous handling equipment allows high throughputs to be achieved, but its installation is very expensive, also when conversion becomes necessary. These expenses are caused mainly by the central unit controlling the sequence of operating steps of the conveyor system. As a consequence, any change requires expensive new cables to be run or circuits to be connected or even the control program to be rewritten. This is where the new development by the Institute for Conveyor Technology and Logistics Systems (IFL) changes the existing situation. The FlexConveyor is a flexible continuous conveyor system working without a master computer or any other central infrastructure system. The system is made up of identical square modules, each of them equipped with sensors, drive technology, an RFID reader to recognize the transport destination, and a computer unit. The modules also have two motors to drive three axes of motion, two for transporting the goods, and one for lifting. In this way, the modules are able to perform all duties autonomously and in a decentralized fashion. The FlexConveyor can be operated as a simple conveyor line, a sorter, or for more complex conveyor systems. The layout is built up or modified simply and quickly by plug-and-play techniques. After manual plugging, the modules independently set up a topology file among themselves in order to coordinate the conveyor units and transport them to the destination indicated. It is possible to enter a large number of conveyor units even into complex layouts without causing blockages, collisions or deadlocks. Should a defect occur in one segment, the system would automatically find other routes. Industrial companies for pilot plants are wanted for further optimization of throughput and the service level based on the experience accumulated.

Your contact person for this offer

Dr.-Ing. Philipp Scherer, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Innovation and Relations Management (IRM)
Phone: +49 721 608-28460

Email: philipp.scherer@kit.edu

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