Specialized Drives for Driverless Transport Systems
Servo drives that park cars
A solution using an autonomous AGV has been introduced to reduce parking problems in major cities. The two main drives as well as the servo controller are critical components of that parking system. Above all, it is essential that none of the cars, whether Volkswagens or Ferraris, get damaged in the process. Elmo’s servo drives were put up to the task of driving the robot, answering the challenges of smooth operation, size, reliability, safety, and service quality.
The number of cars in Germany continues to grow and has reached a new peak in 2015 according to data from the Federal Motor Transport Authority. At the beginning of the year, 44.4 million cars were registered in Germany. The city streets are jammed and sooner or later all cars will face the challenge of finding a parking spot. The spiralling cost of land, increasing land requirements, and the aging of multi-story parking lots all combine to make the provision of parking space an increasing challenge. At the same time, parking space users are expecting improvements in convenience and ease of use.
To meet these challenges, Serva Transport Systems has developed a smart solution, under the theme of "We park for you!” The solution not only integrates easily into existing parking infrastructures but also offers economic advantages for new projects which are in their planning stage. The “Ray” automated parking system was designed after several years of research and development. Based on the idea of a robotic system similar to a fork lift truck, the Ray takes over the job of parking the cars. With car models getting larger in size over time, it has become more difficult for customers to maneuver their vehicles in confined spaces and narrow parking aisles. The Ray system is fast, convenient and makes efficient use of the limited parking space available. The system has been in official operation for quite some time. At Dusseldorf Airport for example, 249 parking spaces have been in service since mid-2014. Other applications for the parking robot are mainly intended for manufacturing car logistics, such as the Audi factories in Ingolstadt. No building modifications or additional fixtures were needed for innovative parking method. As a result, parking space usage efficiency increase by 60%.
How the system works
With the Serva Transport Systems automated parking system in place, drivers hand over their car at a transfer station in the parking garage. The car is then locked and its dimensions are laser measured. Based on this data, the best available parking space in the parking garage is determined by the system. The remainder of the parking procedure is handled by the Ray robot. After the driver has left the transfer station, the driverless transport vehicle lifts the car, makes a test measurement and parks the car in the previously determined space in the parking garage, explains Daniel Boyé, Sales Director of Serva Transport Systems. The parking robot automatically adapts itself to the dimensions of the car and carries it safely to its destination. Because the robot does not need rails, it can drive on individual routes. No building modifications or additional fixtures were needed for this up-to-date parking method. As a result, parking space usage was 60% more efficient
Smooth and safe operation
As a young company, Serva Transport Systems’ short history goes back only to the year 2010. From the beginning, growth has been steady and continuous. Serva’s customer portfolio now includes a large number of well-known companies in the automotive industry. The drive technology is the component at the heart of the driverless transport system. The two main drives at the rear of the chassis are of particular importance since precise control there will ensure the system will not damage the expensive cars it carries. Because the parking robot has to maneuver in very narrow spaces, there is not much space available for the drives themselves. The servo drives have to be small in size and light in weight, but nevertheless must be powerful enough to handle the heavy vehicles transported. To ensure smooth travel as well as accurate and damage free parking, the company chose the Gold Drum servo drives made by the Israeli company Elmo Motion Control. The 150 A / 48 V version is used in both main drives which provide fast control for smooth driving. Because the drives do not require much space, the compact and powerful servo controls, weighing only 700g and with dimensions of 95x 72 xs134 mm (WxHxD), they are ideal for applications in small spaces.
Service to match the product
Hardware is not the only key deciding criteria in the selection of the servo controller. Quality of service, before, during and after the purchase decision, was also an instrumental factor for Serva TS. With Elmo Motion Control, Serva found a supplier whose product quality and service go hand in hand. 'This philosophy fits exactly with our own", said Leopold Meirer, CEO of Serva Transport Systems.
The driverless transport system is suitable for car manufacturers, car rentals, logistics companies, and car park facilities. It saves space, it is simple to install, and can be implemented flexibly. As a partner, Elmo Motion Control meets the highest demands that robotic parking systems put on the drive electronics. The servo controllers are robust and ensure that the robot is driven smoothly and safely.
About Elmo Motion Control
Elmo is a leading global manufacturer of cutting edge motion control technologies, with over 25 years of experience and millions of its servo drives in operations globally, in nearly every industry. Our servo drives, network motion controllers, and integrated servo motors are developed with great focus on highest performance, efficiency, reliability, safety, ease-of-use, and strict standards compliance. We provide our customers with innovative drive technologies to make their business more efficient, profitable, and successful.