‘Ray’ the robot moving cars for Audi
For much of this year, a pilot phase at Audi’s Ingolstadt plant has seen two robots called ‘Ray’ work as a driverless transport system in logistics, described as ‘Intelligent technology for more efficiency and improved ergonomics’ by Audi’s Board of Management Member for Production, Prof. Hubert Waltl.
When cars come off the production line, Ray moves them to an interim storage area and organises them by shipping destination. Logistics employees can then load them onto appropriate railway wagons without hassle.
Bavarian company Serva Transport Systems conceptualised robots with the name ‘Ray’, earning the business a nomination for the German Founder Award in 2013. Now a proven success, Audi is getting Ray ready for industrial use and is also considering further areas where robots like Ray could demonstrate considerable benefit.
‘The autonomous transport of our automobiles could allow us to eliminate long walking distances for our employees and to improve the ergonomics of their work’ stated Waltl. ‘Systems like this also have the potential to significantly increase the efficiency of our processes.’
Freely movable and highly flexible, Ray consists of a 6x3 metre frame that uses sensors to determine the position and dimensions of a car, then adjusts accordingly. Ray carefully grips the wheels and lifts the car up to 10 centimetres, then control software allocates a space in which Ray can park the car. This enables the quick moving of cars up to 5.3 metres long into the temporary store as well as saving space through methodical, precise placement.
When a sufficient number of cars have been sorted, all marked for the same destination, Ray the robot moves them into place for shipment.
With Ray’s success, we are sure to see improved ergonomics and innovative logistics throughout Audi’s processes, so keep an eye out for future developments.