Anyware Robotics

Assembly Line

Anyware Robotics’ Pixmo Takes Unique Approach to Trailer Unloading

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Evan Ackerman

🔖 Topics: Robot Arm, Trailer Unloading

🏢 Organizations: Anyware Robotics, Fanuc

While it’s likely true that there’s enough room for a whole bunch of different robotics companies in the trailer-unloading space, a given customer is probably going to only pick one, and they’re going to pick the one that offers the right combination of safety, capability, and cost. Anyware Robotics thinks they have that mix, aided by a box-handling solution that is both very clever and so obvious that I’m wondering why I didn’t think of it myself.

The overall design of Pixmo itself is fairly standard as far as trailer-unloading robots go, but some of the details are interesting. We’re told that Pixmo is the only trailer-unloading system that integrates a heavy-payload collaborative arm, actually a fairly new commercial arm from Fanuc. This means that Anyware Robotics doesn’t have to faff about with their own hardware, and also that their robot is arguably safer, being ISO-certified safe to work directly with people. The base is custom, but Anyware is contracting it out to a big robotics original equipment manufacturer.

That conveyor system in front of the boxes is an add-on that’s used in support of Pixmo. There are two benefits here: First, having the conveyor add-on aligned with the base of a box minimizes the amount of lifting that Pixmo has to do. This allows Pixmo to handle boxes of up to 65 pounds with a lift-and-slide technique, putting it at the top end of a trailer-unloading robot payload. And the second benefit is that the add-on system decreases the distance that Pixmo has to move the box to just about as small as it can possibly be, eliminating the need for the arm to rotate around to place a box on a conveyor next to or behind itself. Lowering this cycle time means that Pixmo can achieve a throughput of up to 1,000 boxes per hour—about one box every 4 seconds, which the Internet suggests is quite fast, even for a professional human.

Read more at IEEE Spectrum