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Plug And Navigate ROBOTS for smart factories (PAN-Robots)
Start date: Nov 1, 2012, End date: Oct 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Today, product processing and packaging have often reached a high degree of automation, in which energy consumption, agile manufacturing and product customization are well addressed. On the other hand transportation of raw materials and final products from/to storage and shipment points usually requires the use of manually operated forklifts. However, automation and optimization should be applied to the whole manufacturing chain.Thus, factory logistics makes a major bottleneck in production and packaging of mass products.In addition today's AGV system technology is still in an early stage of development and its deployment in the factory requires a lot of effort by skilled staff.Thus, PAN-ROBOTS objective is to develop, demonstrate and validate a generic automation system for factory logistics in modern factories based on advanced Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGV).PAN-ROBOTS consortium proposes a new generation of flexible, cost effective, safe and green AGVs in combination with advanced infrastructure systems. Those advanced AGVs will be able to transport material and products in modern factories based on autonomous on-board path planning and navigation to enable high flexibility. The perception system to guide the AGVs through the factory will be based on a novel cooperative approach. Advanced on-board sensors will be combined with infrastructure sensors to enhance the cost effectiveness and increase safety. The fleet management will be intuitive and easy to use by workers without specialized training. In addition the installation time and costs will be dramatically reduced by semi-automated plant exploration supported by a localization approach utilizing already existing landmarks and an advanced pallet handling system which detects and picks the pallets autonomously.Finally, the developed generic system will be exemplarily validated in the production process of a bottling company and against the needs provided by the already established PAN-ROBOTS user group.
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