RobLog: the future of unloading containers



Teresa Rittel, Marketing, Communications and Finance at the EU funded RobLog project, Reutlingen, Germany


Logistics continues to grow and play a significant part in almost all of our daily lives as the need to move products from one location to another continues to escalate in an instantaneous world. Increasing efficiencies in logistic processes for safer and faster delivery to the end customer are ongoing goals; any interruptions along the way can result in a chain-effect of significant delays and higher costs. New technological ambitions to increase optimisation are gaining momentum.

Manual handling shortcomings

RobLog came into being as a resource for unloading heavy, bulky coffee sacks from containers; the goal being to develop an automated solution to safely unload such cumbersome goods in efficient unloading times. Today’s manual method involves two workers on either side of a coffee sack who sink large metal hooks into the sack, and then effectively toss the sack onto a pallet. This repetitive motion can later result in severe posterior complications. Furthermore, this potentially backbreaking labour has inadvertently created a loss in productivity, but one that can be resolved through automation.

Enter RobLog: a fusion of robotic logistics

RobLog is an EU-funded collaborative project that includes five universities and two industrial partners that will result in the creation of two fully operational physical machine ‘demonstrators’ by the end of January, 2015. It was realised that with such intricate research and development going into the RobLog project, the end-design could easily be extended to various applications. Hence, a decision was made to create two demonstrators: an advanced one for the unloading of heterogeneous goods, and an industrial one for the unloading of heavysack shaped…

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