Newly developed Celluveyor is an innovative take on the 200-year-old conveyor system.
In today’s manufacturing and distribution industries, the demand for dynamic equipment is larger than ever, especially when considering the volume and complexity at which products are being moved through the supply chain.
One of the most innovative inventions to hit both manufacturing and distribution centers is the omnidirectional conveyor belt. It’s a new invention by BIBA and is slated to change the way parcels are moved around.
After watching an impressive soccer game where the players were all robots, a team of researchers at BIBA was inspired to develop an innovative way of bringing conveyors to the next level.
By taking the concept of these small, hexagonal robots, flipping them upside down, and combining them with cellular conveying technology, the team created a flexible modular conveying system they dubbed the Cellular Conveyor, Celluveyor for short.
How It Works
In order for the concept to work, the team at Celluveyor put the hexagonal cells—all of which have omnidirectional wheels—together to form the belt, each one working in tandem to create a belt that can move packages in any direction.
Each set of wheels is controlled individually and is arranged so that logistics operators can program movements depending on the parcels being transported on the conveyor.
Also referred to as the fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0 combines automation and IoT with cyber-physical systems.
The Celluveyor epitomizes the newest wave of smart manufacturing tech in that it allows logistics operators to remotely control the system via software on a tablet. As time goes on, we can expect to see more and more innovations of this nature that improve upon existing systems. As explained by Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum:
“Many industries are seeing the introduction of new technologies that create entirely new ways of serving existing needs and significantly disrupt existing industry value chains.”
Schaub added, “the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance.”
Conveyor belts have been around since the late 18th century when leather and wood were the elements used to make them and humans were needed to power it. Now, some 200 years later, we are looking at an innovation where software can remotely control that very system.
Amazon to Benefit
Amazon distribution centers are known for their innovative automation systems. From it’s robotic palletizers to its Kiva Systems, which are small footstool sized robots that move shelves at record speed, Amazon distribution centers strive to achieve an efficient supply chain.
“Amazon Robotics has a dedicated focus on research and development to continuously explore new opportunities to extend its product lines into new areas that will redefine what ‘Now’ means and allow Amazon to continue to offer customer experiences that will delight and amaze,“ according to the Amazon Robotics website.
Considering it doesn’t currently have something to match the Celluveyor, it would be a perfect fit for Amazon distribution centers. It would also not be surprising if the retail giant were to acquire the Celluveyor the way it did Kiva Systems a few years ago.