Robots and automation of loading and unloading operations
Analytical Report (full version)
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Analytical Report (full version)
Robots and automation of loading and unloading operations
The aim of this new study prepared by J'son & Partners Consulting was to search for automated (and ideally fully robotic) solutions for loading and unloading operations of various goods in all types of transport (sea/river, road, rail and air transport/helicopters) in various packages. At the time of preparation of the study, no technology could solve the problem of making the complete process of cargo loading and unloading fully automated. Nevertheless, the analysis of existing solutions on the market revealed a number of technologies that can solve the basic problem - “how to increase the safety and efficiency of such operations?”.
Research objectives, classification of solutions
- Identification of advantages and disadvantages of using various solutions
- Effectiveness evaluation when implementing robotic and other automatization solutions in cargo handling
- Implementation recommendations
The research analyzes various solutions for loading and unloading of the following types of cargo:
- bulk cargoes (sand, gravel, etc.);
- chemicals (liquid chemicals in barrels, loose chemicals in big bags);
- reinforced concrete products;
- fuels and lubricants;
- general cargoes (various equipment, parts, cables, metal structures, fittings, machinery, block equipment, etc.).
On the whole, about 50 solutions were analyzed in the study, all of them are available on the world and Russian markets, they have varying degrees of automation and meet the criteria for increasing the efficiency of loading and unloading operations. They can be divided into the following segments:
- Stationary conveyors
- Mobile conveyors
- Box loaders/unloaders
- Stationary forklift trucks
- Mobile (compact) forklifts
- Compact universal cranes (including the forklift version)
- Stationary bag loaders
- Semi-automatic grips/hooks for cranes/special equipment
- Sliding floor
- Specialized bunkers for mono-cargoes
Key results of the research
According to the J’son & Partners Consulting research:
- Not all loading/unloading operations can be automated now
- High costs of solutions often minimize the economic effect
- Solutions are highly specialized in performing very particular tasks
- Limited capabilities of robotics in some areas (carrying capacity, etc.)
- Human participation and constant monitoring of robotic works is still necessary
The data bank for the report contains available and open information on approximately 50 solutions (both foreign and their closest Russian analogs, if any). Based on this analysis of existing solutions, J’son & Partners Consulting analysts identified the most technically mature and effective solutions in the field of automation of cargo handling, for various cargo ranges and ready for commercial implementation. They can be divided into three large groups:
- Compact forklifts
- Hooks with automated locking/unlocking with the use of remote control
- Telescopic conveyors
The main safety issue during any loading and unloading operations are personal injuries and accidents during their implementation. The introduction of automated solutions allows eliminating the presence of personnel (slingers, loaders, etc.) at the site, which leads to a radical reduction in the level of injury risk during loading and unloading operations. This thesis is also confirmed by other market researchers, including manufacturers of automated solutions for loading/unloading.
Implementation of the analyzed solutions can also:
- increase the speed of performing single operations;
- increase the number of simultaneously transported goods, respectively, further increase the speed of unloading;
- reduce the number of staff.
General recommendations when choosing various means for automated cargo handling
The most interesting segment is the segment of compact forklift trucks — these are remote-controlled robots. Their relatively lightweight (1-2 tons) and compact size with folding forks – this allows them to be transported as part of the load (under cargo trucks, for instance). Accordingly, it is possible to carry out loading and unloading operations in places not equipped for this purpose — in remote territories, mountainous areas, in open fields. Forklifts allow you to load/unload a large range of goods on pallets: fuel barrels, barrel drums, big bags, container cargoes (bags), boxes, etc. It is a solution that is easy to implement, self-contained, and does not require infrastructure modernization, which in practice can reduce the amount of manual labor in the site. The use of this solution for cargo transportation and loading/unloading in large cargo helicopters is perspective too.
Compact universal mobile cranes that can be quickly converted into forklifts are another interesting solution. Due to their compact size and acceptable carrying capacity of 1-2 tons, as well as their possibility to work without outriggers (this allows them to move with suspended loads), such solutions are as flexible as possible according to the range of goods being lifted and can be used both inside production rooms and in the cramped conditions while unloading light commercial vehicles. Nevertheless, the crane lifting capacity at maximum reach (5-7 m) is drastically reduced in the forklift variant, which limits their availability in helicopter cargo cabins.
For loading/unloading large volumes of bulk cargoes in ports and railways, specialized cranes and unloading/loading complexes (bunkers, conveyors, pneumatic loading cranes, etc.) have long been used, minimizing the volume of manual operations. While loading such cargoes as pipes, concrete products, big bags, general cargoes with their unique mass and dimensions, it is hard to manage without the participation of skilled slinger workers. However, the introduction of remotely controlled crane hooks with half/fully automated closing/opening locks (latches), which can now be used not only for securing cargoes on external suspension in helicopters, but also during loading and unloading of vehicles, railway carriages and sea/river vessels using port cranes. In the most significant way, it can reduce both the injury risk during such operations, excluding slinging workers from the process, reduce labor costs and at the same time increase overall productivity.
This information note was prepared by the J'son & Partners Consulting. We work hard to provide factual and prognostic data that fully reflect the situation and available at the time of release. J'son & Partners Consulting reserves the right to revise the data after publication of new official information by individual players.
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Detailed research results presented in the full version of the report:
“Robotization and automation of loading and unloading operations”
1.1. FORMULATION OF THE PROBLEM
2. CLASSIFICATION OF ROBOTIZED EQUIPMENT FOR CARRYING OUT LOADING AND UNLOADING OPERATIONS
2.1. TYPES OF ROBOTIZED EQUIPMENT APPLICABLE FOR LOADING AND UNLOADING CARGOES IN ACCORDANCE WITH BUSINESS PROCESSES
2.1.1. Types of robotic equipment applicable for loading and unloading from a ship, depending on the type of cargo carried
2.1.2. Types of robotic equipment applicable for loading and unloading operations from railway transport, depending on the type of cargo carried
2.1.3. Types of robotic equipment applicable for loading and unloading operations from motor vehicles, depending on the type of cargo carried
2.1.4. Types of robotic equipment applicable for loading and unloading operations from helicopters (Mi-26, Mi-8MTV), depending on the type of cargo carried
2.2. TYPES OF ROBOTIC EQUIPMENT MANAGEMENT FOR LOADING AND UNLOADING OPERATIONS AND ITS FUNCTIONAL CAPABILITIES
2.3. ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF ROBOTIZED SOLUTIONS FOR LOADING AND UNLOADING OPERATIONS
- ANALYTICAL REVIEW OF MANUFACTURERS AND EXISTING SAMPLES OF ROBOTIZED EQUIPMENT FOR LOADING AND UNLOADING OPERATIONS
3.1. RUSSIAN FEDERATION
3.2. USA AND CANADA
3.3. EU COUNTRIES
3.3.2. Great Britain
3.3.4. Other EU countries
3.4. ASIAN COUNTRIES
3.4.3. South Korea
4.1. DEVELOPMENT LEVEL OF ROBOTIZED SOLUTIONS FOR LOADING AND UNLOADING OPERATIONS IN THE WORLD AND RUSSIAN FEDERATION
4.2. BARRIERS, WAYS TO OVERCOME THEM, REQUIRED REGULATORY AND LEGAL ACTS AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPLEMENTATION
4.3. INFLUENCE OF THE IMPLEMENTED ROBOTIZED SOLUTIONS ON INCREASING THE SAFETY WHILE CARRYING OUT LOADING AND UNLOADING OPERATIONS
4.4. INFLUENCE OF THE IMPLEMENTED ROBOTIZED SOLUTIONS ON INCREASING THE EFFICIENCY OF CARRYING OUT LOADING AND UNLOADING OPERATIONS
4.5. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPLEMENTATION
List of pictures
Pic. 1. Assembly gantry crane SMM-4500. Manufactured by Baltiyskiy Zavod (St. Petersburg)
Pic. 2. Gantry crane in the port container terminal. Manufactured by ...
Pic. 3. Example of a loader/manipulator with a hydraulic gripper for packaged and bulk cargoes. Manufactured by ...
Pic. 4. Ship loading machine ... for transshipment of coal with capacity of 2300 t / h. Manufactured in Russia ...
Pic. 5. Automated lifting hooks ... that magnet slings of big bags with metal wire of rings inside
Pic. 6. Two models of vacuum hoists for concrete products
Pic. 7. Barrels in a container, ready for loading and on a pallet
Pic. 8. Various crane captures for barrels. Manufactured by ...
Pic. 9. Work of semi-automatic capture
Pic. 10. Pipe loading (magnetic pickup) up to 15 tons
Pic. 11. Vacuum pipe lifter ...
Pic. 12. Pneumatic pipe lifter ...
Pic. 13. General view and basic characteristics of pipe grippers ...
Pic. 14. Automatic capture of general cargo in a package (pneumatic traverse)
Pic. 15. Inert cargo unloading with use of special equipment with a grab
Pic. 16. Tipper ... made in Russia ...
Pic. 17. Fully automated wagon loading system, from company ... for loading ...
Pic. 18. Automated bag loader for vehicles from company ...
Pic. 19. Transport hatch of MI-8T
Pic. 20. Rear ramp and transport hatch of MI-26
Pic. 21. Complex for mechanized bag loading into vans/containers from the Russian company ...
Pic. 22. Complex for mechanized bag loading for railway transport from the Russian company ...
Pic. 23. Telescopic conveyor for long trucks and containers
Pic. 24. Spider-type mini-crane ...
Pic. 25. ... robotic unloader
Pic. 26. Robotic box loader from ...
Pic. 27. Solution X
Pic. 28. Solution Y
Pic. 29. Automated bag loader for trailers from the company ...
Pic. 30. Automated bag loader for trailers from the company ...
Pic. 31. Automated bag loader for containers from the company ...
Pic. 32. Semi-automatic ... - human labor is used instead of suction cups of a robotic arm
Pic. 33. Loading bags on cars and railway platforms. Two options for automated stacking - 5 and 10 bags at a time. solution …
Pic. 34. Robot for unloading parcels ...
Pic. 35. Solutions ... for loading/unloading of full barrels using magnetic grip on top (left) and empty barrels (right)
Pic. 36. Integrated ship automation systems ...
Pic. 37. Mobile unloading complex for bulk cargoes used for cars/trailers from the company ...
Pic. 38. Mobile unloading complex ... for transferring bulk cargoes from big bags to tankers
Pic. 39. Solution ... as part of a packaging line for bulk cargoes
Pic. 40. Solution for unloading auto trailers ... from the company ...
Pic. 41. Mini-crane from the company ... in operation and a remote control for it
Pic. 42. Universal crane ... suitable for loading and unloading, converted into a forklift
Pic. 43. Universal crane ... and a forklift based on it
Pic. 44. Automatic stacker loader ...
Pic. 45. Automatic loader ... and two types of fork platforms: for stacks on pallets (left) and pallet-free stacking.
Pic. 47. Compact Robotic Forklift ... Company X
Pic. 46. Compact Robotic Forklift ... Company Y
Pic. 48. Various Z forks: with automatic balancing (left), with manual (right) and with hydraulic (lower right)
Pic. 49. Hydraulic grip for pipes. Manufactured by ... weighing 1.7 tons
Pic. 51. Fork clamps for cranes. Manufactured by ...: manually adjustable (left) and telescopic
Pic. 52. Fork clamps for hydraulic port cranes. Manufactured by ...
Pic. 53. Semi-automatic solution for loading/unloading. Manufactured by ... requiring human participation
Pic. 54. Automated unloader ... with a remote control from the company ... as part of a robotic palletization complex
Pic. 55. Robotic box unloading, solution from the company ...
Pic. 56. Robotic bag unloading, solution from the company ...
Pic. 57. Robotic bag unloading by the company ...
Pic. 58. Compact loader with loading capacity of up to 200 kg (left) and 500 kg for vans
Pic. 59. Automatic loading system ... company ... for containers and auto trailers
Pic. 60. Fully automated system for loading big bags and piles into vehicles from ... (concept)
Pic. 61. Moving floor system from .... in a trailer
Pic. 62. Moving floo scheme from ...
Pic. 63. Autonomous cranes for unloading bulk cargoes. Manufactured by ...
Pic. 64. Crane control system ... can work in Auto Team mode (control of two cranes at the same time). For example, for loading large diameter pipes
Pic. 65. Semi-automatic movement by points - solution from the company ...
Pic. 66. Crane cab ... and operator's seat interface
Pic. 67. Palletizing robot ... series ... with a FlexGripper-Claw type gripper. Loading capacity - 50 kg
Pic. 68. Automatic hook ... on a helicopter suspension, wrist remote control ... and mounting options
Pic. 69. Compact remotely controlled cranes ... company ... and their capacity diagrams
Pic. 70. Remote-controlled crane ... with lifting capacity of up to 45 tons, - the oldest in the line .... And a forklift based on ... (35 tons)
Pic. 71. Scheme of a floor for automatic wagon loading ...
Pic. 72. Robotic wagon unloading. Concept ...
Pic. 73. Unloading robot ... from .... (blue - 2013 specifications, yellow - current version)
Pic. 74. Schemes of an automated unloader .... US PATENT NO. ...
Pic. 75. Universal loading/unloading robot ... from the company ... (version of 2012 - left, 2016/present - right).
Pic. 76. Spider-type robotic mini-crane ... (left) and an older model ... from ... as well as .... with add. arrow
Pic. 77. Evaluation of the effectiveness of automated loading line from the company ..., 2014
Pic. 78. Evaluation of the economic effect of introducing a robotic solution for loading/unloading due to increased productivity and savings on payroll
List of tables
Tab. 1. Companies and contacts to which letters were sent.
Tab. 2. Technical characteristics of solutions of the Russian company ...
Tab. 3. Technical characteristics ...
Tab. 4. Technical characteristics of the robotic loader ....
Tab. 5. Technical characteristics of mobile telescopic conveyors ... (older version) and ... company ...
Tab. 6. Technical characteristics of conveyors ...
Tab. 7. Technical characteristics ...
Tab. 8. Technical characteristics of cranes. Manufactured by ...
Tab. 9. Technical characteristics ...
Tab. 10. Technical characteristics of the model of moving floors ... and ...
Tab. 11. Technical characteristics ... (older model ...)
Tab. 12. Technical characteristics of palletizing robot models ... Manufactured by ...
Tab. 13. Technical characteristics of some cranes … Manufactured by
Tab. 14. Technical and economic indicators of various types of loading bulk materials in railway cars
Tab. 15. Technical characteristics ... (...) and ...
Tab. 16. Technical characteristics of mini-cranes ...:
Tab. 17. Applicability matrix of automated/robotic means for loading/unloading of various cargoes, by type of transport (the most universal solutions are highlighted in light blue)
Tab. 18. Reducing injury risk as one of the main advantages of automation
Market reviewRobots, Heavy Machinery Automation Open
Market reviewRobots, Heavy Machinery Automation Open