The ULTRA BLUE Mobile Robot offers a unique solution to automated truck loading in that it can autonomously drive to and from dock doors into truck trailers without additional infrastructure. No rails or in-ground equipment are required, making this a flexible solution that can operate in a variety of warehouse layouts.
Once at a trailer, ULTRA BLUE transports, lifts and places individual boxes or cases directly into the trailer. Boxes travel from an extendable conveyor attached to the back of the ULTRA BLUE, up the retractable mast to the customized EoAT where they are placed inside the trailer, from the floor up. ULTRA BLUE can be integrated into approved existing material handling equipment such as telescopic conveyors, flexible powered conveyors, carton erectors, in line case weighing systems, barcode scanners, sortation systems, depalletizing systems and more.
The customized EoAT has six degrees of freedom allowing for compact storage and necessary reach for case placement within a trailer, allowing for repeatable precision and tight tolerances. The robot performs these steps without human labor intervention or lifting of loads. This opens opportunities for associates to be better leveraged for more important and non-repeatable tasks.
The ULTRA BLUE features two main loading methods:
- Consistent Row Loading – for cases with same dimensions within the same case wall or entire truckload, normally tall and narrow boxes. Medium to heavy cases that are taped or lidded.
- Variable Height Loading – for cases with the same footprint dimensions, normally short and wide cases. Light to medium weight boxes that are folded, taped or lidded.
Precise Case Placement and Navigation
Bastian Solutions’ ULTRA BLUE rides on an omni-direction base allowing for lateral traversal between dock doors. A combination of navigational methods allow for precise localization inside the trailer and shipping dock areas without a human operator.
LiDAR (light detection and ranging) scanners identify structures inside the truck trailer to ensure accurate case placement.
Quick Recovery and Minimal Maintenance
Intuitive recovery processes and fault recovery instructions minimize system downtime. When an operator needs to recover a fault and resume operations the HMI (human machine interface) assists operators with visualizations on where or how the fault may have occurred, allowing for quick recovery time. Remote access and monitoring are optional for improved support. In the case of repairs or recover operations, the mobile robot can be driven manually.
If loading operations are halted in event of required repairs or out-of-spec products, ULTRA BLUE can operate in a “safe manual mode” to deliver or receive cases on the EoAT. The ergonomic staging height allow for loading and unloading operations to continue manually.
All in One Solution for Maximum Productivity
Unlike other technologies, ULTRA BLUE merges several capabilities into a single solution – receiving, transport, lift, positioning and placement of cases. Its operations start inside the warehouse and extend all the way to the interior of a truck trailer. This eliminates common intermediary steps when it comes to truck loading, such as loading to pallets first and using forklifts to maneuver those loads to the trailer.
Each ULTRA BLUE Mobile Robot can service two to three warehouse dock doors, allowing a fleet to scale for necessary shipping requirements without additional infrastructure. Requiring only a single operating technician to manage the fleet through a centralized control HMI (human machine interface), the technician can view progress and trigger a robot to move to the next dock door, which it can do autonomously without an onboard driver. The HMI features visualizations, DVR cameras, and a data historian for performance monitoring.
The ULTRA BLUE’s unique features allows for continuous throughput through two to three work shifts. Its non-stationary design means that the ULTRA BLUE can traverse between multiple dock doors. This allows time for empty or full trailers to be swapped out while ULTRA BLUE is working on a neighboring dock and trailer.