Project Report: Auto Path Forklift Robot

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  • Published : May 2, 2013
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Ch–1
Introduction

Robotics is a fascinating subject – more so, if you have to fabricate a robot yourself. The field of robotics encompasses a number of engineering disciplines such as electronics, structural, mechanical and pneumatics. The structural part involves use of frames, beams, linkages, axles, etc. The mechanical parts/accessories comprise various types of gears (spurs, crowns, bevels, worms and differential gear systems), pulleys and belts, drive systems (differentials, castors, wheels and steering), etc. Pneumatics plays a vital role in generating specific pushing and pulling movements such as those simulating arms or leg movements. Pneumatic grippers are also used with advantage in robotics because of their simplicity and cost-effectiveness. The electrical items include DC and stepper motors, actuators, electrical grips, clutches and their control. The electronics part involves remote control, sensors (touch sensor, light sensor, collision sensor, etc), their interface circuitry and a microcontroller for overall control function.

1.1 The Project
What we present here is an elementary robot used for fork lifting that finds its way by itself. The robot is programmed with a predefined path and its movements are observed accordingly. The proposed robot can move in forward, backward, left and right directions and can be used to serve fork lifting purpose as well. Forklift robots are frequently applied in automated logistics systems to optimize the transportation tasks and, consequently, to reduce costs. Nowadays, in a scenario of extremely fast technological development and constant search for costs minimization, the automation of logistic process is essential to improve the productivity and reduce costs. In order to decrease costs of logistics and distribution of goods, it is quite common to find in developed countries mechatronic systems performing several tasks in harbor, warehouses, storages and products distribution center. Therefore, research in this topic is considered strategic to ensure a greater insertion of the individual countries in the international trade scenario. In this application, the vehicle routing decision is one of the main issues to be solved. It is important to emphasize that its productivity is highly dependent on the adopted routing scheme. Consequently, it is essential to use efficient routes schemes. Here we proposes an algorithm that produces optimal routes for AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) working inside warehouse as forklift robots. The algorithm was conceived to deal with different real situations, such as the need of conflict-free paths and the presence of obstacles. In the routing algorithm each AGV executes the task starting in an initial position and orientation and moving to a pre-established position and orientation, generating a minimum path. This path is a continuous sequence of positions and orientations of the AGVs. The programming of the microcontroller is done in embedded C using keil software. Programming intelligence into a robot (or computer) is a difficult task and one that has not been very successful to date even when supercomputers are used. This is not to say that robots cannot be programmed to perform very useful, detailed, and difficult tasks; they are. Some tasks are impossible for humans to perform quickly and productively. For instance, imagine trying to solder 28 filament wires to a 1/4in square sliver of silicon in 2 s to make an integrated circuit chip. It’s not very likely that a human would be able to accomplish this task without a machine. But machine task performance, as impressive as it is, isn’t intelligence. In the industry carriers are required to carry products from one manufacturing plant to another which are usually in different buildings or separate blocks. Conventionally, carts or trucks were used with human drivers. Unreliability and inefficiency in this part of the assembly line formed the weakest link. The project is to...
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