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- VisionNav Deploys Autonomous Forklifts at Advanced Manufacturing Centre in TKO INNOPARK to Support Hong Kong Innofacturing
(Hong Kong, 19 August 2022) The world's leading driverless industrial vehicle manufacturer, VisionNav, is providing its advanced robotics technology to the Advanced Manufacturing Centre (AMC) in Tseung Kwan O INNOPARK, making it the first autonomous forklift supplier to provide advanced logistics automation services to support high-value “innofacturing” and long-term re-industrialisation.
Core equipment for AMC Intelligent Logistics
VisionNav provides 24-hour core logistics services for the AMC logistics center. AMC is equipped with an array of automated robotics equipment including automated storage and retrieval system (mobile dense racks, four-way shuttles, automatic conveyors), automatic sorting arms and autonomous forklifts, which form the core equipment for transporting goods across AMC’s eight storys.
The forklift used in this project is VisionNav's iconic VNL14, a pallet stacking autonomous forklift vehicle. Equipped with VisionNav visual positioning module, high-precision sensing module and servo motion control module, the VNL14 enables autonomous path planning, self-adjusting pick-up and automatic data interaction, making the transportation of product or goods seamless and efficient. It currently supports multiple automated production lines of automotive, electrical and mechanical manufacturing industries. It is worth noting that the VNL14 is the first vehicle in the world which has been awarded a CE certificate by global testing service provider TÜV SÜD, based on the latest safety standard for driverless industrial vehicles, ISO 3691-4:2020.
VisionNav empowers intralogistics automation
The autonomous forklift trucks have been deployed on each floor in AMC to move materials in and out, and through the 10 lifts on both sides of the building to achieve seamless logistics flow on each floor. In the early phase of the project, VisionNav developed a 3-step implementation plan via onsite survey and mapping out the complete logistics process: (1) The system will be docked to the user WCS and customised with the RCS (Robot Control System) function to connect the automated equipment and the autonomous forklifts for the information integration and collaborative operation (2) For execution, highly efficient autonomous forklifts are deployed to coordinate with the RCS system to complete moving tasks; (3) On safety, a multi-storey safety setup is deployed, with different tiers of safety principles and back-up principles set from the terminal autonomous forklift to the top-level system.
“About ten autonomous forklifts are deployed on the ground floor, but this floor has limited space for operational movement. Goods are randomly delivered from different lifts, and then the autonomous forklifts enter the lifts to pick up the goods to transport them to the ASRS conveyor – adding to the high demands on the RCS system. In addition to information exchange and real-time interaction, scheduling was a major challenge,” said a VisionNav engineer on site.
For under-actuated mobile robots such as forklifts, it is necessary to constantly adjust the tiller wheels for steering or obstacle avoidance. This may cause multiple vehicles to lock up and interrupt the task in a limited space. VisionNav's excellent scheduling algorithms played a key role in the project, achieving smooth and efficient material handling through task distribution, timing rescheduling and circumvention strategies.
AMC logistics automation has resulted in: 1) Better efficiency: Through the system interface, it realizes cross-floor and multi-automated equipment synergy, and the efficiency of inbound and outbound storage on the ground floor exceeds 40 pallets/h, meeting the efficiency requirements; 2) Digital management: Real time information interaction of the whole process, realising the matching of information flow and logistics, creates the basis for digitalisation of intelligent logistics. 3) Safety: In addition to the multi-level safety settings on both vehicle side and system side, VisionNav also features the latest UWB safety module to solve the safety problem of people entering the blind spot of autonomous forklift detection or sudden intrusion, avoiding the safety risk in advance and providing the highest level of protection for people.
Supporting Hong Kong's Innovation & Technology Ecosystem
“HKSTP is committed to promoting innofacturing by nurturing talent and providing resources and infrastructure support to emerging I&T ventures. Apart from the logistics services integrated with automation and advanced smart solutions provided by our partners, AMC is well-equipped with warehousing, prototyping, low-volume assembly support and cleanroom-enabled space to further support Innofacturing which helps advanced manufacturing companies to accelerate their R&D and production processes, thus enriching the entire I&T ecosystem.” said Ir Dr H.L. Yiu, Head of Re-industralisation of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP).
VisionNav was an incubatee of HKSTP Incubation Programme and is proud to be part of the logistics center in INNOPARK. The follow-up project is progressing smoothly and the company hopes to provide continuous technical support to Hong Kong's Innofacturing and I&T ecosystem through its logistics automation services.
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