Automated Guided Vehicles
meet Augmented Reality

Equipping workers to maintain
automated plants

Berlin, Nov 18, 2019

The global Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) market size was valued at USD 2.49 billion in 2018 and is projected to expand at a CAGR of 15.8% from 2019 to 2025. AGVs can deliver numerous benefits, particularly augmenting the efficiency of warehousing operations and logistics management processes.

By any means the rise of robots will have a significant effect on how people work in manufacturing.

Man with AR GlassesWill we tweak
parameters in mid-air in 5-10 years from now?
Research testing environment with warehouse, AGV and laser cell.The research testing environment with warehouse, AGV and laser cell.

Operating in production environments with automated guided vehicles

Optimally, production environments are automated to a degree where typical worker intervention consists of maintenance, optimization or repair.
Manufacturing workspaces are subject to continuous improvement, with complexity increasing, especially on the machine side. Production workers skillsets are considered „generalized“ with a broad set of skills. These workers are now facing a changing environment where IoT, Software, Retrofitting and machine portfolio increase makes it really hard to be fluent with every little thing. Specialization would consume more time than accessible.
With steady global rise of population and increase in consumption, studies indicate a shortage of 8 million industrial workers in the next 2 decades, jobs that can’t get filled. Perhaps technology could simplify every-day-life in a work environment while increasing productivity.

Challenges in Production Environments with automated guided vehicles

Security zones around AGVs are invisible

Security zones around AGVs are invisible

AGVs are traditionally equipped with a security and safety zone to prevent harmful accident.
Interfering with a security zone next to an AGV causes a slowdown, which reduces overall productivity our could lead to a downtime where the interrupted AGV has to be reset.
In areas with 10-20 AGVs it’s really hard for maintenance workers to interpret size of security zone and see the current status an AGV is in.

Map and Route are invisible

Plant managers are unable to see in the room where the pathes are going, preventing them from having a clear overview and understanding how optimizations could be done to given plant.
They are prevented from being able to:
- using free space to reduce plant size
- adding new equipment to the shopfloor without interrupting the existing routes
- seeing where routes intersect too close to machinery, which causes AGVs to slow down every time they pass

Maps are only accessible on the computer in a 2D map inside of the KUKA software

The current workprocess for robotics engineers to modify a map is highly complex and requires step-by-step assimilation where the engineer goes back and forth between laptop software and real workspace to check if his guesses are right.

Solution

The 3D simulation is generated from the XML data of the digital twin of the AGV map. It's scale is 1:1 and locates itself on the ground.

The digital twin is overlayed directly into the real workspace

Map nodes are visualized and equipped with functionality for map reprograming in the room

Security zones are visualized and calculated by orientation, speed and mode/status

Architecture

The project was realized under the Fast Ramp Up Challenge and initiated by Siemens Mindsphere. AUCTA collaborated in a team with automation and manufacturing specialists including IBA AG, Seiotec GmbH, Trebing & Himstedt and KUKA.

Analysis data stored in mindsphere

Outcome

aucta video poster
The Application accessible via Augmented Reality wearable Hololens 2 and Magic Leap.

Workers can now see security zones around AGVs. Their awareness of security allows them to do their work without interrupting the actual production.

Workers can see the total map, estimated collision and act more precisely

Workers can use the spatial display of the map in the room to design, edit and program the fleet map – making better decisions and creating pathes that work on fewer tries, saving time.