Autonomous navigation company BlueBotics has signed an exclusive agreement with Dürr Systems, mechanical and plant engineering firms, to create autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) that are designed to revolutionise paint shop efficiency, safety and flexibility.
The three-year collaboration will see future generations of Dürr’s EcoProFleet vehicle, the first AGV designed specifically for automotive paint shops, being built upon BlueBotics’ ANT natural feature navigation technology. The solution aims to provide Dürr’s automotive customers with flexible, accurate and fleet-ready AGV technology.
Stefano Bell, product manager at Dürr, said: “A successful AGV within a paint shop environment has to be robust, safe, reliable and adaptable to changing conditions. Our EcoProFleet combined with ANT navigation technology meets all these requirements.
“The performance of ANT and BlueBotics’ excellent support make the company the perfect development partner for us to meet the logistical requirements in Dürr’s ‘paint shop of the future’.”
Using the AGVs to move car bodies between storage, work zones and final inspection points negates the need for permanent conveyor installations and makes the system highly adaptable for the introduction of new car models and changing production sequences.
The AGVs have a low profile, at an overall height of 225mm, meaning they can easily drive under work zones and conveyor systems to transfer car bodies throughout the paint shop.
Nicola Tomatis, CEO of BlueBotics, added: “We are delighted to work with such a leader in vehicle manufacturing automation. By upgrading their EcoProFleet with ANT® navigation technology, Dürr have created a future-proof AGV that will meet the demanding needs of its automotive customers.”
With over 1,000 projects installed and over 3,000 vehicles in operation, ANT navigation technology is proven in its ability to meet the evolving needs of vehicle producers and end operators alike, according to the collaboration. ANT driven vehicles such as the EcoProFleet are not only simple to use but also cost-effective to install as there are no permanent changes to a site’s infrastructure needed.
Using the BlueBotics ANT server platform, ANT vehicles can work together in a scalable fleet. ANT server can also connect to Dürr’s DXQlogistics.control in order to bring AGV operational data inside this MES/SCADA software.
Bell concluded: “We are extremely excited about the potential of ANT® driven EcoProFleet AGVs to help our vehicle OEMs increase manufacturing safety, efficiency and reliability, and lower production costs. This agreement really is a win-win, for both our companies and for vehicle manufacturers alike.”