In July 2020, Waypoint Robotics, the developer of the Vector and MAV3K autonomous cell robots (AMRs), and Superior Dealing with Methods (AHS), a supplier of achievement and distribution options for all kinds of industries for greater than 40 years, introduced a brand new methods integrator partnership. AHS turns into a Waypoint Licensed Methods Integrator and can provide Waypoint’s fleet of unidirectional cell robots to its buyer base.
In accordance with firm representatives, the addition of Waypoint Robotics‘ autonomous cell robots to Superior Dealing with Methods’ product line will allow AHS to supply absolutely built-in materials dealing with methods to its clients. AHS is providing in-person and distant demonstrations of Waypoint AMRs at its Innovation Lab in Cincinnati, and Waypoint’s AMRs at the moment are out there for buy by way of AHS.
Dave Tavel, Govt Vice President at AHS, and Tim McCabe, Waypoint’s Director of Enterprise Improvement, had been not too long ago interviewed for RBR’s sister publication Collaborative Robotics Tendencies by Eugene Demaitre, Senior Editor at The Robotic Report and Robotics Enterprise Assessment. Within the vast ranging interview beneath, Tavel and McCabe talk about the formation of the partnership, the position of AMRs for achievement and distribution, coaching and integration challenges, in addition to what the longer term holds.
The unique interview will be discovered HERE.
The Foundations of the Partnership
Collaborative Robotics Tendencies (CRT): What led to the Waypoint and Superior Dealing with Methods partnership? How did you discover and consider one another?
Dave Tavel (DT): At first is the cultural alignment of the organizations, and secondly the expertise and innovation that Waypoint brings to the market. Additionally, since Waypoint is a US based mostly firm, and AHS’s market is North America, help is enhanced.
Tim McCabe (TM): It was clear to us from the start that Superior Dealing with Methods had an distinctive crew with the technical prowess and inventive design to supply nice options. We had been much more impressed with the extraordinary care they take to serve their clients. We have now the same strategy to each our design philosophy — constructing cell robots that may be simply arrange and utilized by employees on the job right this moment — and in the direction of our clients when consulting on tasks or offering ongoing help.
Waypoint’s Aggressive Benefit
CRT: How is Waypoint’s navigation expertise a differentiator for the shoppers that AHS serves?
DT: Waypoint’s knowledge seize is considerably sooner than what is offered out there. Why is that this vital? This permits the robotic to react faster to a number of situations. The impediment avoidance is enhanced, and selections are processed sooner. Thus, the robotic mission occasions are positively impacted.
Past the information seize utilizing the cameras and scanners, the robotic’s capability to make use of the omnidirectional functionality makes this a two-pronged strategy to hurry and security.
CRT: How do Waypoint’s AMRs complement the opposite cell robots and collaborative robotic arms that AHS supplies? Which purposes are they uniquely fitted to?
TM: Waypoint AMRs have a few vital differentiators: They’re “constructed robust” to resist real-world industrial environments like manufacturing amenities or warehouses. They provide superior navigation, sustaining their localization for each dynamic environments or giant open areas. They’ve omnidirectional motion, which permits them to simply and shortly dock to workstations whereas providing plenty of flexibility for payload dealing with in tight environments.
And most significantly, they’re designed for the workforce, which means they’re a productiveness software that employees can simply arrange and function instantly to assist them do their jobs, after which they will simply make modifications to the mission as their wants inevitably evolve.
Integration and Coaching
CRT: Waypoint has offered its robots to producers of all sizes. How a lot work is required to combine these methods with these of warehouses or distribution facilities?
TM: Waypoint AMRs will be up and operating, doing actual work, the very first day on web site. They’ve a really strong navigational system that doesn’t require any infrastructure modifications or additions like reflectors, bar codes, beacons, or particular lighting. Waypoint’s management structure doesn’t even require a Wi-Fi or Web connection to function. As soon as given a mission, the AMR can execute the mission with out having to obtain instructions from a centralized transport controller.
Some clients might join their AMRs to their enterprise system — similar to WMS, WCS, or MES (warehouse administration system, warehouse management system, or manufacturing execution system) — to ship instructions on to the AMRs by way of Wi-Fi.
Waypoint makes this WebSocket interface straightforward to develop and implement with its Dispatcher Cloud Simulator. Prospects can develop and check their interfaces to our Dispatcher Cloud Sim, so when the AMRs arrive on web site, they merely want to vary the IP deal with to that of the bodily robotic, and they’re off and operating.
CRT: Will AHS be dealing with person coaching and help for Waypoint’s robots?
DT: As the connection matures, Superior Dealing with Methods will likely be ready to help the market with these companies. AHS presently supplies integration companies for cell robotic purposes. A part of that duty is the demand for person coaching.
One of many differentiators for Waypoint is the convenience of use. Our preliminary hands-on with the Vector was very intuitive. We had been up and stepping into lower than 15 minutes.
TM: AHS may be very skilled and nicely revered within the business. They construct shut relationships with their clients, perceive their clients’ enterprise drivers, and act as a trusted advisor to fulfill evolving necessities.
AHS will handle these buyer relationships, offering front-line coaching and help backed by Waypoint technical help engineers as wanted.
CRT: Has there been a lot demand but for cell manipulation, similar to Waypoint’s CuffLink-RK providing?
TM: : We’re seeing rising curiosity for cell manipulators. Whereas clients have historically enhanced the transport performance of AMRs with automated loading or unloading of payloads with a elevate module or conveyor deck, the mixing of a cobot to an AMR supplies a brand new stage of use-case performance and suppleness.
An instance software may very well be a machine store with longer machine cycle occasions. Components supply is required, however a devoted cobot for machine tending might largely sit idle — and no person can afford idle robots.
A cell manipulator is a way more versatile and cost-effective resolution that may each carry the components to the machine and carry out the machine tending throughout a number of machining facilities. cell manipulator resolution will present straightforward setup, fast and correct docking, and have an possibility to offer shore energy to the robotic whereas it’s working.
Our CuffLink product has seen a flurry of exercise not too long ago. It was initially developed for one among our cell platform OEM clients to seamlessly combine the Kinova arm and Robotiq‘s adaptive two-finger robotic gripper. Prospects can supply this CuffLink by way of Kinova or immediately by way of us.
COVID-19 and Demand
CRT: We have now seen an increase in E-commerce demand and AMR offers through the COVID-19 pandemic. How has the novel coronavirus affected deployments amongst Waypoint and AHS’s clients?
DT: The demand for AMR expertise had been rising previous to the pandemic based mostly on labor and issues of safety. Because the pandemic, our discussions with shoppers not solely deal with the plain, however now we’re additionally discussing the flexibility to scale back folks load inside amenities. This definitely helps the necessity for social distancing in addition to different advantages. Conventional ROI [return on investment] and business-case fashions are altering.
TM: The pandemic shutdowns definitely prompted some corporations to re-evaluate and delay a few of their plans, however different in-process tasks continued beneath the social distancing constraints. For instance, we had been in a position to set up a warehouse achievement mission remotely. Now we’re seeing somewhat completely different slant on AMR mission drivers, including the target of socially distancing to assist corporations get employees again on the job.
Eugene Demaitre is senior editor at The Robotic Report and Robotics Enterprise Assessment. Previous to working at WTWH Media, he was an editor at BNA (now a part of Bloomberg), Computerworld, TechTarget, and EH Media. Demaitre has participated in robotics webcasts, podcasts, and conferences worldwide. He has a grasp’s from the George Washington College and lives within the Boston space.