Behind the Wheel is a blog created by Stellana for the wheel industry. Whether you are new to polyurethane wheels or have been in the business for a long time, this blog is a great tool for polyurethane education, industry safety, company news and updates, and much more.
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Customer Success Story - IAM Robotics
Customer – IAM Robotics
IAM Robotics, creators of the world’s first autonomous mobile
manipulation robot, has found a niche in e-commerce order fulfillment. Its
robots use highly advanced computer vision and perception technology combined
with an articulated robot arm on a mobile base to autonomously navigate
warehouse aisles, picking and transporting products just like a human.
IAM Robotics turned to us for our polyurethane expertise.
The company tasked us with the job of providing a wheel material suitable for the
typical usage and environments of their mobile picking robots, named SwiftTM.
The company designs their robots to work
around the clock, continuously moving on the floors of warehouses and
distribution centers. Its charging system only requires a 30-second change
about once a shift, avoiding any lengthy downtime. The continuous operation made
localization a key consideration when selecting wheels for the Swift robots.
The Swift™ Robot
Swift works like a
human order picker, moving through inventory aisles, finding the right
products, picking them into a tote, and then transporting that tote downstream
for packaging and shipment.
The robot sports a six-axis articulated
arm engineered with highly advanced computer vision and perception technology.
One of the fastest in the industry, its arm can grab from both sides of an aisle
and reach up as high as 7 feet or as low as 2 inches from the ground.
Swift’s high-powered mobile base is
one of its primary differentiators in the industry.Several picking and
grasping robotic arms exist on the market but none are married to an autonomous
mobile base to move, pick, and carry items, like Swift.Its base also
offers convenience through a hot-swappable battery, which requires only one
person 30 seconds to change out. This feature keeps Swift robots working 24/7
without the need for breaks.
Picking and mobility are the
machine's primary functions, but it also is engineered for maximum safety as it
continually looks to avoid obstacles. Swift has multiple 3-D cameras onboard
providing wide fields of view, making it one of the most advanced detection
systems in the industry.
After becoming familiar with the robot and its usage, we
recommended to IAM Robotics the Smoothy® material. Our Smoothy® products are
uniquely manufactured to a nearly perfect OD, giving them a virtually perfect
This technology was attractive to the roboticists at IAM
Robotics because of the effect it would have on the robot’s localization. Localization
refers to the robot’s ability to accurately recognize its position within the
environment. Picking machines require unparalleled accuracy, and their localization
is no exception. While it may be hard to believe, the slightest irregularities
in the wheel’s profile can impact on the machine’s locational accuracy. The
smallest imperfection would be magnified revolution after revolution, especially
in Swift robots, which are designed to run continuously.
At Stellana, we solve problems. Whether our customers would
like to find a wheel for a new product or find a better wheel for an existing
product, we are always happy to bring enhanced performance and efficiency to
Stellana is the leading global manufacturer of VULKOLLAN®,
polyurethane, rubber, thermoplastic, and TPU wheels. With more than 60 years of
industry experience, we are the material handling industry's largest global
supplier of polymer wheels. Strategically located in Sweden, Germany, the
United States, China, and Sri Lanka, we offer a comprehensive range of wheels
and tires. Learn more at www.stellana.com.
IAM Robotics makes autonomous mobile manipulation robots
(AMMRs) capable of fully automated order picking and transportation in
fulfillment centers and warehouses. Founded in 2012, the company is comprised
of the best and brightest robot and automation experts, tinkerers, and problem
solvers, who are laser focused on delivering innovation and operational value
that is transforming the material handling industry. IAM Robotics is based in
Pittsburgh, a leading region for robotics innovation, invention, and discovery.
To learn more about IAM Robotics, visit www.iamrobotics.com.
Billy Joe of PFI Fashions Inc. By now, we are all aware there is a PPE shortage for many of the workers who need protective equipment the most. One of the most talked-about items are masks. We are also hearing how many companies are experiencing an extreme decline in business. A local company, PFI Fashions Inc., took what could be a negative situation and used their open capacity to make a very positive impact on their local community. Jodie and Billy Joe Todd, owners of PFI, took it upon themselves to begin manufacturing masks for those in need. Located in Genoa City, WI the full-service company specializes in screen printing, promotional products, and embroidery. Within the course of a week, they have completely shifted their production focus to making washable, cotton face masks. They have been generously donating them to Aurora Hospital, local EMTs, and the other essential workers who need them the most. Because of their hard work, we were able to purcha
Our Task – Vulkollan Scarcity The material handling industry has continued to face a shortage of Vulkollan wheels and rollers. What is Vulkollan®*? Vulkollan is a cast polyurethane elastomer that is known to offer the ultimate performance under the most demanding applications. The material has gained a reputation for being one of the toughest polyurethanes available, and many members of the industry believe that there are no substitutes for a material of this caliber. Vulkollan® wheels and rollers are widely used on industrial trucks in Europe. Characterized by their dynamic load bearing capabilities and low wear and tear, these products minimize the need for service. Many equipment manufacturers count on Vulkollan products to keep their trucks up and running. At Stellana Sweden, we have a state-of-the-art Vulkollan production line that is dedicated to making Vulkollan wheels. However, we too have had trouble supplying these products. Material Shortage Since