An autonomous warehouse robot project with 50 kg payload. The robot has IP-45 protection mark and operates both indoors and for short periods outdoors. EnCata refined the startup’s concept and delivered the industrial design, DFM and produced the prototype with all documentation. The robot competes in the same space as KIVA robots from Amazon and QUICKTRON from Alibaba.
A startup company engaged in industrial robotic automation approached EnCata with a POC (TRl-4) prototype. The startup’s team consisted of prominent software and electrical engineers. They wanted to 1) refine their concept and progress the industrial design, 2) optimise the BOM and 3) implement a DFM approach to start low-volume production and proceed to multiple pilot projects.
We began the project by refining the concept and conducting robot carriage/suspension simulations to ensure its stability and effectiveness in a variety of situations.
Having completed a multitude of various kinematic simulations and use-cases, EnCata’s engineers proceeded to finalize the concept while our industrial designers gave the robot a fashionable touch.
We tried to move away from the typical chunky straight lines of industrial robots and suggested a streamlined clean robot shape, while at the same time having the DFM in mind. Thus the industrial design phase left the customer with the covers design made with vacuum forming technology in order to reduce the robot production costs.
We worked closely with the startup team on the electrical side, BOM optimisation and components procurement. The robot implemented several essential components such as:
- reliable motor wheels
- lidar system
- wireless charger
- sensor system
After finishing the CAD design, DFM and documentation/drawings release phases, we proceeded to components sourcing, tooling design and prototype manufacturing.
The robot was then first assembled as a ‘skeleton’ chassis. Components, electronics and wires were added later. In parallel, a mould for vacuum forming was manufactured.
The startup took an active role in robot assembly and wiring. By the end of the project, we reached TRL-6 and the robot successfully passed ‘field’ testing to qualify for batch production.
The result was that the startup working with EnCata made an overall leap from a proof-of-concept prototype to production readiness level (TRL-8) with DFM and a set of tooling designed.
Work with EnCata allowed the startup to focus on what they do best: embedded robot systems and warehouse/enterprise level software integration. We have brought the following components to deliver a reliable and cost-effective robot:
- Concept refinement
- Kinematic simulations
- Industrial design
- Design for manufacturability (DFM)
- BOM optimisation
- Prototype manufacturing