Carrying beverage crates has a reputation as a very physically demanding job that can really get you bogged down, particularly if you’re doing it all day long. The "Luka Beverage" cobot application is designed to take over this in future, which means logistics employees will be able to focus on other areas. The application, which is currently being developed as part of the AI innovation competition organized by the state of Baden-Württemberg in Germany, is the first prototype of SCIO’s “Luka” cobot.
Palletizing, depalletizing, stacking beverage crates and handling empties – These are the four areas where the “Luka Beverage” will lend a hand in beverage warehouses in the years to come, as it’s fitted with a specially designed gripping system. That certainly sounds great in principle, but for a cobot to work effectively, it needs to know where crates and bottles are located, enabling it to plan ahead in terms of how and where it will grip them. These kinds of warehouses generally lack any kind of structure, are narrow and constantly changing, so this posed quite a challenge for SCIO, but they came up with an ingenious solution: they incorporated an AI system into the cobot application, which allows it to intelligently locate objects. A 3D navigation system with free space mapping capabilities helps the cobot find its way around autonomously, this means it can now move its gripping arm to wherever it needs to without causing any collisions, even if the sensors aren’t properly aligned.
"Luka Beverage" is slated to be fully developed by the end of the year as part of the AI competition, in collaboration with Fraunhofer IPA and Node GmbH. It will then be used by the project’s beverage and logistics partners to handle empties and carry out various tasks in the goods issue department. Put simply, this is AI-based automation in action, and is the future of the beverage logistics industry.
The “Luka” cobot and its prototype “Luka Beverage” is being developed by the Mojin Robotics GmbH team, which is part of the SCIO Automation Group. What Mojin Robotics offers is just one of many cutting-edge products and services in the SCIO Group’s extensive intralogistics portfolio. As an autonomous logistics and picking assistant for industrial environments, their core business is focused on developing ways to fill gaps in in-house supply chains, improve productivity and reduce workloads for members of staff in technical and engineering departments. SCIO acquired Fraunhofer IPA’s Mojin Robotics spin-off around the midway point of 2020.