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Four ways AMRs keep your staff safe

Article by Michael Trimmer

When using any new equipment or technology in a workplace environment, safety is always a key concern. When that technology is automated, the issue of safety becomes even more complex. How does a robot know what it needs to do in order to keep the wider manual workforce safe? The following are four tools used by the AMRs (Autonomous Mobile Robots) supplied by Wise Robotics to keep your warehouses safe.

LIDAR and Ultrasonic sensors

In a warehouse environment, obstacles can come in many forms. From packing materials to storage bays, to staff members. That is why the robots supplied by Wise Robotics feature sophisticated sensor systems to scan the rooms and regions they work in, detecting anything and everything around them, and stopping in case of issues.

The two major forms these sensors come in are LIDAR – Light Detection and Ranging – which uses focused lasers to map out the shape of the room and the surrounding environs, and ultrasonic sensors, which do something very similar using sounds beyond human hearing range.

The AMRs initially use these sensors to detect and understand the shape, size, position, and velocity of surrounding obstacles and hazards. This information is then processed and shared with the wider robotic operation, allowing all the other robots to be aware of the situation. Manual workers moving through the space will be carefully avoided by all the robots, ensuring complete safety for your staff.

Robot-only grids

For some warehouses, where there are highly intense, rapid, or complex operations, it simply may not be possible for AMRs and manual staff to operate in a shared space while still having both groups work effectively. To compensate for this, Wise Robotics offers robot-only grids.

These are specialised arrangements of AMRs, picking stations, safety barriers, and navigation markers, to precisely limit the AMR’s movements to a specific section of the warehouse. This eliminates any possibility of unplanned interaction, keeping your staff fully safe while simultaneously maximising operational efficiency.

Machine vision

On the other end of the scale, some warehouses and business operations have no choice but to have staff and AMRs share the same space very frequently, and simply stopping for obstacles may not go far enough. This is why Wise Robotics employs the very best industry 4.0 technology to bring you Machine Vision.

Machine Vision is an amazing leap forward in robotic autonomous operations. It allows an AMR to see the surrounding environs using a digital camera, recognise individual items, and then appropriate adjustments rather than just stopping for obstacles every time. Using advanced algorithmic techniques, the AMRs can distinguish objects clearly and adjust their responses accordingly. Given different safety responses can be extremely valuable for varying scenarios, this intelligent recognition system is a major improvement for automation safety.

Emergency stop

When all else fails, unlikely as it may be, a final failsafe is essential. This kind of fallback needs to be simple, clear, effective, and easy to use. No complex training is required. No elaborate technical understanding will be necessary. A simple large red button to press in the event of the extremely unlikely and generally unexpected.

This button not only puts a stop to a given AMR’s movements. It also communicates to every other AMR in the system that something has happened that requires an emergency response. This will tell other robots to avoid this region and readjust their pathfinding and general operational behaviour accordingly. All to make sure your warehouse is as safe as robotically possible.

See the safest systems for yourself

Discover how the AMRs of Wise Robotics can keep your staff secure, and your business prosperous. Visit our demonstration centre to witness the full range of the robot’s capabilities. What they can do, how they can do it, and why your business needs to make use of these amazing advancements sooner rather than later.

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