DFleet – Fleet Management System of DF Robots

Line of AMRs2
Line of AMRs2

Fleet Management System is vital when there are more than 1 AMRs running on the floor

DFleet is a server based computer software to control and manage a fleet of mobile robots to achieve common tasks more effectively and efficiently. 

Most of these robots are operating in the same factory layout and on the same path. Most of the time, only one robot is allowed to run on that path.  There is a need to have a system to coordinate and plan the operations for all mobile robots in the list. It’s also vital to make sure the workloads are evenly distributed between all mobile robots and make sure the usage for all robots are balanced. This is where The DFleet software comes into play. 

DFleet 1 G

Figure 1: Live location of all AMRs can be viewed under the same monitor page

As shown in Figure 1, users can view the live map displaying the location of all AMRs in the network. With this interface, users can view the real-time location of all robots in one glance.With DFleet in place, users don’t have to worry about the task arrangement and the complex traffic coordination among the AMRs. All of this will be handled by DFleet.

DFleet Priority

Figure 2: Assignment of tasks to the AMRs is based on a specific criteria, or a combination of multiple criteria.

One of the key features of DFleet is its capability to organise the tasks in the queue and the assignment of tasks to the AMRs based on a specific criteria, or a combination of multiple criterias. Users can set the priority and criteria through DFleet software. The action of generating the criteria is called The Assignment Policy. There are a list of commonly used criteria selectable from the system, such as assignment of task based on the robot’s battery percentage (highest or lowest), based on the task count (highest or lowest), based on the distance of the AMR and destination (farthest or nearest), or by just based on the task count of the AMR (lowest or highest), and etc.

To understand further, check out the video below with detailed description on the operation of DFleet.

In a modern production floor, there is a necessity to make sure the system in place is able to interface with the external software and also the existing smart manufacturing infrastructure. DFleet software is designed in such a way to be integrated with these software to realize smart manufacturing control and align with IR4.0 direction. DFleet provides an interfacing API to communicate with third party software. DFleet API provides the following entities such as Task Query, Task Create, Task Prioritize, Task Cancel, Task Abort, as well as AMR Status Query. With this API in place, DFleet is able to exchange information and integrate with the existing system. For more information, please send us an inquiry. and our technical team will assist you for more detail.

The video below illustrate the operation and logic of DFleet. Check it up!

Author by: Chia Chin Wee  I  Muhammad Sofwan Bin Zamri
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Automated Pallet Hand Jack Clamping Mechanism using DF Mobile Robot

Zalphar S with Towing Arm scaled

Towing 1

Hand pallet jacks are common moving equipment used by many manufacturers. It is used in pallet transferring and material handling. Unfortunately, even when workers attempt to use them safely, pallet jacks handling is still one of the biggest hazards in today’s working environment. Common hazards associated with pallet jack operation such as overloading of load, mishandling of hand pallet jack and even misarrangement of goods on the hand pallet jack can bring danger to the workers. There are precautions that can be done to reduce the hazard such as safety training, operation training, routine inspection of the jack before use, wearing the right personal protective equipment (PPE), route planning, and avoidance of horseplay. However, the hazards still exist and haunt the workers and the factory owner everyday.

Zalphar S with Towing Arm scaled

As an alternative, DF Automation & Robotics found an automated solution which can help reduce the hazard, as well as improve the material handling efficiency. Most importantly, The investment is minimal and the existing hand pallet jacks can still be reused. Zalpha Autonomous Mobile Robot is the answer to it. Zalpha AMR is a mobile robot by DF Automation and Robotics which can navigate automatically by artificial intelligence (AI) and uses sensors to identify the surroundings during its operation. Zalpha AMR comes with a flexible top compartment which can carry customized top compartment for different applications. For hand jacks towing, DF mechanical design team have designed a general automated towing clamp which works for most of the hand jacks in the market. Below is the detailed description of the operation of the AMR for hand jacks towing.

AMR Process

Zalpha Towing Step 1

1. Operator load full pallet with pallet jack manually at station and call AMR using remote calling device

Zalpha Towing Step 2

2. AMR received request, and move to the calling station.

Zalpha Towing Step 3

3. Upon arrive, AMR reverse and engage with the hand jack automatically.

Zalpha Towing Step 4

4. Loading of pallet hand jack completed. AMR move out from station and deliver the hand jack to the designated destination.

Zalpha Towing Step 5

5. When Towing AMR arrive, the clamp release automatically and drop the pallet hand jacks on the destination point



Clamp Mechanism

The clamp is an automated lock mechanism designed specially for hand jacks engagement. It comes with a sensor which can trigger the lock whenever the hand jack is properly attached to the clamp. It can be manually disengaged as well. Users can disengage the handle from the actuator movement by pulling the release handle to unhook. 


Pallet Jack Guide

A Pallet Jack Guide guides and holds the pallet jack’s front wheel in position. The aluminium plate will correct the front wheel angle and guide toward the U-shape plate. Once the wheel enters the space, it will hold the pallet jack in position.


Advantages of Automated Pallet Jack Clamping

By using Zalpha Pallet Jack clamping, the working hazard is reduced as it minimises the handling of the goods by humans. The material handling operation can be easily planned and predicted as well since the operation is automated. Besides, it can also significantly increase the operation time without need to worry about the tiredness and absence of the workforce.

Zalpha Towing


For more detail of how it operates, please find the following video link

Author by: Chia Chin Wee  I  Muhammad Sofwan Bin Zamri
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NavWiz – The Intelligence Behind all DF Robots

NavWiz Main Page
NavWiz Main Page

Main Page of NavWiz Software

NavWiz or Navigation Wizard is a software application for Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) and Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV). NavWiz has all the features required in a modern autonomous mobile robot, such as to program the robot, status monitor, smart navigation, AI and IoT enabled. NavWiz is developed by DF and it is the core of the intelligence behind all AMR and AGV from DF. NavWiz has won multiple awards and recognition in national and international.
NavWiz first released in 2016 and there are continuous ongoing new features and technologies improvement addition throughout the year to stay relevant in this fast moving technology era.
NavWiz is a software hosted in DF robots. It provides browser-based user interface to the users. It can be accessed from any devices such as laptops, tablets or phones regardless of the device operating system through the standard internet browser.
There are 3 main elements in NavWiz which are the Mapping and Routing, Task Programming and Task Runner.


Mapping and Routing

Mapping is the configuration of the sitemap for NavWiz to understand the area for navigation. During the setup, the AMR needs to be brought around to capture the surrounding features and form the map. Once the map is formed, it will be used by NavWiz as the reference for AMR localisation. Mapping is a one time job and doesn’t require revisiting again, unless there is a major change in the layout of the navigation area. Figure 2 illustrates the map generated after the mapping.
NavWiz Mapping

Figure 2: Mapping of Trackless AMR

Routing is the configuration of the AMR running path, by just drawing the lines on NavWiz. Routing can be done for two types of robots which are tracked AGV and trackess AMR.
For tracked AGV, it navigates purely based on the guidance of magnetic strip and the AGV position is determined from the magnetic tapes junctions. Figure 3 illustrates the routing of a tracked AGV on NavWiz.
NavWiz AGV Routing

Figure 3: Routing of Tracked AGV

For trackless AMR, routing is done on top of the map generated from Mapping. The AMR will navigate based on the path with the reference to the surrounding natural features. Users can mark the position of the Stations on the path. By doing this, AMR will know it’s starting point and the destination, at the same time identify its current position by comparing the surrounding features with the map features. Figure 4 shows the mapping and routing of the trackless AMR.
NavWiz Routing AMR

Figure 4: Routing of trackless AMR 


Task Programming

Task Programming is the part to program the robot to perform the tasks or actions as required by the user. The programming is a graphical flowchart. It can create tasks. By just clicking and dragging the lines connecting the Tasks together, the AGV will know the sequence of the tasks and it can also make simple decisions based on specific conditions. 
With the mapping and routing in place, users can program the robot to move from station to station. A complete AMR application, for example, delivery of raw material trolley from Warehouse to the Assembly Lines; consists of multiple Tasks. To break it down, the first Task will be AMR moving from charging station to Warehouse, second Task will be collecting the raw material trolley, the third Task will be delivery of the trolley to the assembly line and finally, the last Task is leaving the trolley at the assembly line and go back to the charging station. 
Each Task is a single specific AMR action. In order to program the AMR to perform a complete meaningful application, all these Tasks need to be linked together. The compilation of multiple tasks to form a complete AMR application is called Task Template.
Figure 5 shows the standard Task Template in NavWiz.
More importantly, there is a list of closed to 100 standard library blocks which can be used to speed up the development process. Standard actions such as “Navigate to Station”, “Wait for Button”, “Read IO”, “Write IO”, “Play Music”…etc, can be found from the list and imported into the task template. With this flowchart based programming method, users do not have to work on low level programming anymore, making the programming of DF robots easier, flexible and more expandable.
NavWiz Task Templates

Figure 5: Task Templates Robot Programming 

Task Runner

After completing the mapping and task template, users can find the list of the task templates on the Task Runner page (Figure 6). Each time the AMR can only execute one task template, the next task template triggered will be queued under the queuing list. The supervisor is able to set the priority for each queuing task template, as well as removing the task template from the queuing list if it’s necessary.
 Once the task template is completed, it will be logged into the AMR system as the record for tracing. Users can find the daily, weekly or even monthly completed task template from the History tab and Report page. 
NavWiz provides a graphical reporting page (Figure 7) for users to view, as well as to download the performance of the AMR into CSV format for easier reporting and review.
NavWiz Task Runner

Figure 6: The Task Runner Page 

NavWiz Report Page

Figure 7: Reporting Page displaying the record of robot activities


Other Features

Other than the 3 main elements, NavWiz features some handy applications to help with the operation of the AGV system (Figure 8). 
NavWiz Other Features

Figure 8: Other Features on NavWiz Software

Engineers can perform Action Test, Calibration, Hardware Test, Homing, Manual Line Follow and Wifi Test to assist in the routine maintenance activities.
Besides, users can check the robot’s current map and the real time scanning profile through the Map tab. Status tab is where the users can observe the robot’s condition which includes CPU power consumption, Line Sensor Status, Power Condition and much more. (Figure 9). 
NavWiz Status Page

Figure 9: Robot Status Page


NavWiz is being used by all robots from DF, from the smallest FDR Sushi Delivery Robot, to the Titan heavy duty 1 Tonne Autonomous Mobile Robot. With this NavWiz software, the method of programming of the Robots is the same, regardless of its model and physical outlook.
 The software is still evolving in time to suit the customer needs. With the NavWiz components and IoT infrastructure in place, the development design cycle is being shortened significantly. 
In advance of industrial 4.0 application, The next major improvement of NavWiz will be focusing more on the big data collection and visualisation. 
NavWiz All Robots

Figure 10: Navwiz – Intelligence Behind all DF AMR and AGV













Get a closer view on the NavWiz features and the programming of DF AMR robots from the video below!

Author by: Chia Chin Wee  I  Yeong Che Fai  I  Muhammad Sofwan Bin Zamri
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Customs duty on AMR and AGV

Customs Duty scaled 1

Customs duty on AMR and AGV

Customs duty is a tax imposed to the goods that are imported or exported in a country. In general, there are two types of custom duties rates which are specific and on an ad valorem basis, where it is based on the value of goods. 
For instance, when you want to buy a car from Japan and import it back to your own country, you are liable to pay a custom tax of 0% to 30% rate. The same thing goes when you want to buy a robot originated in Denmark, you are liable to either pay a certain custom tax or maybe even 0% rate depending on the countries’ custom duty. 
Same goes to AMR and AGV which may be liable to custom duty. The custom tax imposed for the robots normally will differ as stated by the government rules and it will change from time to time. Some countries will charge it at higher taxes and there are certain countries that did not even tax it. 
It is crucial to describe the product that you want to import correctly. However, sometimes custom officers may interpret the product differently due to the usage of the name. As discussed in the previous article, Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) and Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) are both basically the same thing, which is an industrial mobile robot. However, by using Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) term with “vehicle” name on it may confuse the officers to categorize the AGV under list ‘vehicles’ which could be of ‘dutiable goods’. In contrast, when the Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) term is applied, the officers can easily recognize it as an industrial robot by looking at its name and categorizing it correctly. 
Customs Duty
Factories that want to purchase AGV or AMR need to ensure to declare the items correctly so the customs duty is charged accordingly. For example, importing industrial handling machines and vehicles to Malaysia will be charged at 30% tax rates. As for importing industrial robots to Malaysia, there are no taxes charged over it. Table below shows the list of import rates of Vehicle and Industrial Robot for different countries:
Table: List of import rates of vehicles and industrial robots for different countries. 
Import rates
Industrial robot
Industrial robot
Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam
Industrial robot
Industrial robot
Industrial robot
Industrial robot
Industrial robot
Industrial robot
Industrial robot
*Note: SST/GST/VAT may apply according to each country policy. Information is updated on 27 May 2020. 
China: http://www.transcustoms.com/
Germany: http://auskunft.ezt-online.de/ezto/Modus.do#ziel
India: http://cbic.gov.in/htdocs-cbec/customs/cst1920-311219/cst1920-311219-idx
Japan: https://www.customs.go.jp/english/tariff/2020_1/index.htm
Laos: https://www.laotradeportal.gov.la/index.php?r=tradeInfo/index
Malaysia: http://mysstext.customs.gov.my/tariff/
Mexico: http://www.sice.oas.org/TPD/TPP/Final_Texts/English/MEX_Tariff_Sched.pdf
Myanmar: https://www.customs.gov.mm/sites/default/files/UpPDF/Customs%20Tariff%20of%20Myanmar%202017.pdf#overlay-context=node/26
Philippines: https://tariffcommission.gov.ph/tariff-book
Singapore: https://www.tradenet.gov.sg/tradenet/portlets/search/searchHSCA/searchInitHSCA.do
Thailand: http://www.thailandntr.com/en/goods/tariff
USA: https://hts.usitc.gov/
Vietnam: https://www.customs.gov.vn/SitePages/Tariff-Search.aspx?language=en-US

Co-authored by: Dr Yeong Che Fai I Ken Wong I Noor Atikah Soleha Mad Alim
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UTM, HCTM & DF Automation Develop Hospital Delivery Robot ‘Mak Cik Kiah 19’ to Ace COVID-19

Utm Hctm Df Automation Develop Hospital Delivery Robot ‘Mak Cik Kiah 19 To Ace Covid 19 01 scaled e1586307404432

UTM, HCTM & DF Automation Develop Hospital Delivery Robot ‘Mak Cik Kiah 19’ to Ace COVID-19

JOHOR BAHRU , 7 Apr. — Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz UKM (HCTM) and DF Automation & Robotics Sdn Bhd (DF) have joint together in a significant collaboration to develop a Hospital Delivery Robot System.
The robot, named MCK19 or Makcik Kiah 19, is the First Malaysian Made Delivery Robot for hospitals to assist healthcare frontliners in assisting the delivery of healthcare to patients with COVID-19.
The project embarked during the beginning of the Movement Control Order (MCO) was enforced.

Delivery Robot MCK19

Figure: A user is interacting with MCK19.
MCK19 uses Zalpha, a DF’s commercial robot that can accommodate weight up to 300kg in its shelves and able to navigate autonomously to assist doctors or nurses in delivering food or medicine to a patient’s room.
The usage of these robots especially MCK19 will reduce the exposure of healthcare professionals and frontliners to patients under investigations (PUI) that may be highly contagious and need to be in isolation.
Hence, it would also decrease in the need for PPEs as hospitals are facing a global shortage.
This prototype had been modified and integrated with compartments’ storage which can be customised according to need.
There is a LCD screen on the robot to show an animated face to make the robot more human friendly, and soon, it can be used for teleconference between doctors from his room/office with patients, without having the doctor to go to the their room.

Utm Hctm Df Automation Develop Hospital Delivery Robot ‘Mak Cik Kiah 19’ To Ace Covid 19 03

Figure: Left picture: Compartment’s shelves that can be customised. Right Top picture: LCD screen shows animated friendly face. Bottom Right Picture: Graphical User Interface.
This robot is also an IoT robot where it can be accessed by any PC, tablets or phones, allowing users to interact with the robot even if the users are not at the hospital’s premise.
In addition, there is also a security feature in place to allow access by authorised admin only.
The working prototype that took less than two weeks to develop is made possible with the strong support from all parties especially from MOSTI, MITI, MTDC, HCTM, UTM, DF, Ministry of Health, hospitals and industries.
This project is led by co-founder of DF, Assoc. Prof. Dr Yeong Che Fai from School of Electrical Engineering, UTM.
According to him, as DF has provided robotic solutions to industry since 2012, we leverage the robots and experiences we have to achieve the social distance requirement in hospitals between humans during this critical time.
“Robots can help with many tasks to reduce human presence such as for delivering, disinfection, cleaning, monitoring, service and many more.
It is unfortunate that COVID-19 happened and strikes us without any warning. One of the solutions to deal with COVID-19 is to maintain social distance between humans.
MCK19 will be our first pilot trial, if this robot works well, we will proceed to other applications.” he added.
Meanwhile Director of Hospital Canselor Tuanku (HCTM), Ukm, Prof. Dato’ Dr Hanafiah Harunarashid, expressed gratitude on the collaborations.
“On behalf of HCTM (UKM), I am very pleased to collaborate with MOSTI and the team from UTM and DF to develop a hospital delivery robot hospital, the first in Malaysia.
This would be inaugural which is especially useful to aid our overwhelmed healthcare system during this pandemic and outbreak.
I foresee robotics and automation will play an important part in hospitals in near future to enhance the delivery of health care, ” he added.
UTM Vice-Chancellor, Prof Datuk Ir Dr Wahid bin Omar said the invention of this robot is another UTM’s helping hand in combating the virus, along with university’s initiatives of to prosper lives.
“As a university that is blessed with multiple expertise, we believe it is our responsibility to help the government especially the frontliners who are struggling to serve the people in this trying times for us all.
Thus through this collaboration we hope that together, we can break the the Covid-19 chain soon,” he added.
MCK19 is expected to be tested at HCTM at the end of this week. If the robot is found useful, DF will commit to mass produce the robot to supply to hospitals in Malaysia or any organisations who need it.
For the long term, the team is planning to produce a more human friendly look and design as in the figure below.
For more. information, please email [email protected] or [email protected].

Delivery Robot MCK20

Figure: Some of the concept designs for future commercial Hospital Delivery Robot

Utm Hctm Df Automation Develop Hospital Delivery Robot ‘Mak Cik Kiah 19’ To Ace Covid 19 02

Figure: The team beside the development of MCK19, Hospital Delivery Robot led by Assoc. Prof. Dr Yeong Che Fai (picture second from left)

InfografikMCK19 190420 1

Figure: Metro Mak Cik Kiah 19 Infographic


Co-authored by: Dr Yeong Che Fai
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How an Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) can help to fight COVID-19?

How an Autonomous Mobile Robot AMR can help to fight COVID 19 01 scaled e1585711033385 1


31st of December, 2019 marked the date where several pneumonia cases arose in Wuhan City, in the Hubei Province of China. The World Health Organization (WHO) was the first to recognise that this case did not match any other known viruses. After going through some research, the Chinese authorities later confirmed that it is a new virus and it is temporarily named as “2019-nCOV”. Later, WHO named it as “COVID-19” which stands for ‘CoronaVirus Disease 2019’ on the 11th of February.
The virus somehow spread rapidly and on the 11th of  March, the United Nations agency responsible for international public health declared it a pandemic. The government is currently committed to tackle this problem by reducing the number of new cases rapidly.

COVID-19 in Malaysia

On the 25th of January, Malaysia announced the first COVID-19 case involving three tourists from Singapore who entered Malaysia through Johor on the 23rd of January. The first wave of these cases were detected on the 16th February where the cases rose to 22. By the 27th, the second wave started after 11 days of no new cases being reported. The number of affected people had risen to more than 1000 cases later on.
The Malaysian government took proactive actions to fight over the number of new cases by imposing a two-week RMO (Restriction of Movement Order) which started on the 18th of March and will end on the 31st of March. However, the number of new cases is not reducing; hence the government decided on a two-week extension of RMO, which will end by the 14th of April.
In this hectic situation, solutions are needed to effectively combat the disease. One of the solutions is by preventing individuals from being in direct or indirect contact with the virus. Besides quarantining the infected ones, there are risks that the healthy ones might have been infected. For example, nurses might be infected while they were serving their patients; a bus driver has the chance to contact the infected one in the bus; an officer has a risk too during the disinfection activity. Considering the aforementioned risks, the usage of the Autonomous mobile robot (AMR) could be a helping hand in replacing humans to do all these high infection risk tasks. Robots are immune to the virus and they can be run in a long period of time. You can learn more about AMR here AMR: The new look of AGV.

How can AMR help to fight against Virus?

Autonomous Mobile Robot can assist frontliners to fight COVID-19 in many areas such as to carry out disinfection activity, temperature measurement at public space, medicine delivery in hospitals and food delivery. Other advantages are outlined here: Advantages and Disadvantages of AMR.
Disinfection is one of the main activities in combating COVID-19. Certain areas where the risk of infection is high have to be disinfected, such as hospitals, markets and public transports. For example, in disinfecting a bus, the process involved people to spray disinfectant on the entire surface in the bus before wiping them down. One disinfect process will take around 40 minutes with two human powers. Plus, there are always certain corners that cannot be reached or covered by humans.
Another great alternative is by using the Ultraviolet (UV) Rays which can disinfect the area in five minutes only (source). According to the latest diagnosis and treatment guideline of the novel coronavirus released by the National Commission, the virus is sensitive to UV light and heat. In other words, UV radiation can eliminate the virus effectively. As stated in the guideline, UV light with an intensity of over 1.5 watts per square meter can be used to disinfect indoor spaces. Ventilation should be done to a room after UV disinfection, and people are suggested to enter the room 30 minutes after the process. Although it is effective to kill the virus by using UV lamps, the usage of UV lamps should be cautious as UV radiation can result in skin irritation. Thus it is not suitable for sterilising hands or other parts of the skin (source).
Although UV is able to disinfect the area in five minutes, it requires manual labor to transport the platform from one location to another. In addition, UV rays require a 30 minutes settling time which increases the cycle time. This is where the AMR has the advantage as AMR is able to complete the process automatically without involving any human presence. This also minimizes the chance of infection and reduces exposure to the UV light too. The figure below illustrates the proposed design of AMR with UV and Spraying disinfect equipment.

DF is looking for partners – it could be you!

As the government has pulled out tremendous actions to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases, DF intends to contribute an effort for the government in fighting COVID-19 by developing solutions like autonomous UV disinfecting, disinfectant spraying or temperature reading by using AMR. We are actively looking for partners who are experts especially in the field of cleaning, disinfection, sterilisation or hospital operation to collaborate with us to make this project a success. We do hope that we can help to eliminate the virus with these innovations. Feel free to contact us at [email protected] if you are interested to explore further.  Take care and stay safe.


Autonomous Disinfection Mobile Robot

Figure: Illustration shows proposed AMR design in performing autonomous disinfection using UV and Spraying.
How an Autonomous Mobile Robot AMR can help to fight COVID 19 02Figure: Another concept of disinfection using spraying with Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR)


Co-authored by: Dr Yeong Che Fai  I  Noor Atikah Soleha Mad Alim  I  Ong Wei Lin  I  Ow Zi Yang  I  Aliya Binti Khairuddin
Illustration by: Ken Wong  I  Robert Ting  I  Muhammad Sofwan Bin Zamri
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AMR: The New Look of AGV

AMR Transparent Overlay Diagram scaled e1585711840533

Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR Robot)

What is AGV?

Automated Guided Vehicle or AGV was first introduced by Arthur “Mac” Barrett in 1953. The earliest version of an AGV was a modified tow truck which followed a wire under the floor, allowing it to move and navigate by itself.
Automated Guided Vehicle are used to move things around in the plant facility repetitively. Since its invention, AGVs have been improved to allow it to use alternative guidances such as coloured tape, induction or magnetic tape embedded on the floor plant. However, the AGVs still follow a fixed route, and any route change will require reinstallation of the guidance system. Besides, an AGV is equipped with sensors to detect any obstacles that pop up along its route. To avoid hitting the obstacles, the AGV will slow down or stop moving and alert users by sounding its alarm. It will not be able to change its route or direction.

What is AMR?

AMR stands for Autonomous Mobile Robot. It is a wheeled robot that moves autonomously. Both AMR and AGV share the same functions – moving items from place to place. Sometimes these robots are also called industrial mobile robots. For nearly half a century, AGVs have been moving things around in factories, warehouses and places where material transporting is needed. However, they are challenged by the introduction of new technologies implemented by the AMRs, especially in the demand of achieving Industry 4.0, factory automation and smart manufacturing.
The greatest advantage of AMR over AGV is that AMR provides alternative navigation options. An AMR navigates using a predefined map and plans its own routes to the destination. It can detect obstacles similar to an AGV, but it is slightly smarter because it can avoid the obstacles by navigating around it. Therefore, AMR robot is considered more flexible because it can change its path dynamically with less effort. Meanwhile, an AGV is always “guided”, which means that the AGV operates on a fixed route – usually running along magnetic paths or wires. This shows that there are more possibilities for the AMR to perform better in running its job since space limit is not an issue.
Although an AMR robot is sometimes perceived to be much more costly compared to an AGV, in reality, the AMR could be more cost effective due to its flexibility and ease to set up.
The AMR’s main components include the controller board, computing unit, battery, motors, sensors and camera. It also requires some electronic integration including the safety system, drive system, power switch and warning lamp. Another important and often-overlooked component is the software which acts like the brain for the robot. The software allows users to program and interact with the AMR, besides allowing it to move autonomously. For example, DF uses our in-house NavWiz (or Navigation Wizard) software as the brain to run the whole AMR.

AGV vs AMR – what is the difference?

AMR and AGV have been defined differently by various sources. Technically, AGV always refers to a guided vehicle because its navigation is based on physical guides such as coloured tape, magnetic tape and induction wire, while AMR is a mobile robot that plans its own route based on the map which it had created earlier.
In short, both AGV and AMR are similar in terms of their features and functions in supporting logistics activity. This is because both AGV and AMR can autonomously travel in the manufacturing plants and warehouses after being programmed without needing any assistance from humans. By definition, “autonomous” describes the capability of the device acting alone or independently, while “automated” indicates control or operation by a machine or an automatic equipment. This shows that both AGV and AMR have similar meanings, yet they are introduced with different names. The only difference is the ‘navigation technique’ used by AGV and AMR in moving them autonomously.
The usage of the term ‘AGV’ and ‘AMR’ somehow have given some implications on the custom duty when these robots are being imported to certain countries. The word ‘vehicle’ in AGV may mislead the custom officer into thinking AGV is a ‘vehicle’ or ‘car’ which normally has higher custom duty compared to a robot.
Author by: Noor Atikah Soleha Mad Alim  I  Ken Wong  I  Muhammad Sofwan Bin Zamri
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR)

Line of AMRs2

Advantages and Disadvantages of Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR)

Advantages and Disadvantages of AMR

Automation and robotics have been part and parcel in today’s industry. Industries ranging from automotive, F&B, healthcare, and many others are constantly looking for ways to further maximize their production and productivity. In many cases, Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) is seen to have potential of increasing the productivity of any operations. Usually, business owners will consider the advantages and disadvantages of AMR before purchasing one. Hence, let’s analyze the pros and cons of it.
In many cases, Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) is seen to have potential of increasing the productivity of any operations. Learn more what is AMR here – AMR: The New Look of AGV. Usually, business owners will consider the advantages and disadvantages of AMR before purchasing one. Hence, let’s analyze the pros and cons of it.

Advantages of AMR

 Reliable workforce

Unlike humans, robots do not get tired. AMR can work consistently around-the-clock to meet the targeted production of a company. This is very beneficial for companies operating 24/7 as owners would not have to worry about the shortage of shift workers. Furthermore, AMR is more accurate than humans as it is assisted with precise algorithms.

 Lesser harm to employees

Acco car engines, bins and raw materials. The recommended load for men to carry is 25kg which can be very restrictive. With the help of AMR, more loads can be transrding to statistics given by the National Safety Council, one employee will be injured while at work every 7 seconds. In the heavy industry, it is a norm for workers to carry heavy loads such asported simultaneously with lesser time needed. AMR can also replace workers in unmanned and hazardous working environment such as nuclear plants.

 Minimize operational cost

The existence of AMR in a facility will enable employees to reduce labor cost. This is because the employee would not have to hire many unskilled workers as well as to provide overtime pay. Product damage during transportation caused by human errors can be eliminated too.

Disadvantages of AMR

 High capital cost

The initial cost of an AMR can be very expensive especially if it is being evaluated on a short-term outcome. Nevertheless, AMR can result in a positive Return on Investment (ROI) in the long run. In most cases, purchasers will be encouraged to calculate their targeted ROI which can be done easily using a ROI calculator.

 Limited flexibility

Some AMRs such as the magnetic tape guided AMRs require a devoted track for them to move around. This can be troublesome especially if changes need to be done to the facility layout. In addition, some AMRs could only move forward which can be a limitation if it needs to be reversed suddenly. Regardless, customization of AMR can be done according to customers’ needs.
All in all, there are always two sides to every coin. DF Automation & Robotics will always strive to provide the best AMR and service to our customers in making sure that the purchase will be beneficial to them.
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DF won Platinum Award at Star Outstanding Business Award 2018

Star Outstanding Business Award

DF Automation and Robotics is honored to be awarded the Platinum Award for Best Innovation for company up to RM25 Million Category at the prestigious Star Outstanding Business Award (SOBA) 2018. It is awarded to DF at the Award Night Ceremony held at New World Hotel Petaling Jaya at 17 January 2019.

The Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) is organised by The Star Media Group Berhad, to recognize up-and-coming enterprises and their contributions to the Malaysian economy. In line with the Government’s commitment to develop homegrown enterprises, SOBA seeks to inspire and encourage local businesses to promote Malaysia and showcase its products and services to the world. Every year SOBA will shortlist and award Malaysian non-public listed organisation that have led the way with excellent business principles, ethics and practices. SOBA winners are testaments of high achievement and serve as a benchmark for others to emulate. 2018 is the 9th year Star Media Group Berhad organised this business award ceremony.

Star Outstanding Business Award

Award Night Ceremony at New World Hotel Petaling Jaya with nation wide media coverage

Star Outstanding Business Award

Platinum Award Best Innovation, Star Outstanding Business Award 2018

Star Outstanding Business Award Team

Back to our fort at Johor Bahru!











There are total of 5 Platinum Award winners for Top-of-the Class Awards this year. DF is honorable to be recognized as one of them in the category. This award marks an important milestone in DF Automation and Robotics’s history. Moving forward, DF Automation and Robotics will work harder and continue to focus into building a world-class technology centre that is able to compete in the global arena

Automated Guided Vehicle for Painting

Autonomous Mobile Robot for Painting

Paint Robots have been in the industrial for decades mainly to improve painting quality. There are numerous brand of robots in the market that can be used for autonomous painting. However, most of them required permanent fixtures and positioning of robot arm in a fixed working area. Having the robot arm to move around is a big no-no, reason being is the accuracy of the positioning, fire hazard handling and the navigation technology. Aerospace Malaysia Innovative Centre (AMIC) acknowledged the challenge and lined up the top technical team from the particular industrial players to look into this matter. It’s an honour for DF Automation and Robotics R&D to join force with the technical expert from Spirit Aerosystem Malaysia and Universiti Malaya, to deliver the first of it’s kind Automated Guided Vehicle for painting application in Malaysia.

The project involved the integration of Zalpha-TS-03E trackless Automated Guided Vehicle and Universal Robot UR10 together with Keyence camera vision system for positioning of the painting gun at the tip of the robot arm. With the flexibility of Zalpha-TS-03E and Navwiz operating system, the integration went smoothly and efficiently  shorten the time spent for hardware integration. The team is able to focus in improving the paint spraying algorithm without worrying much on the hardware limitation and programming. DF Automation and Robotics Zalpha trackless Automated Guided VehicleAutomated Guided Vehicle have also went through a series of review by international fire hazard expert to justify for it’s operation inside the paint room.

Advance Visual System for Positioning of Spraying Gun

Advance Visual System for Positioning of Spraying Gun


The project collaboration takes 6 months before it’s being deployed to the site for stress test and fine tuning. The project have been visited by Spirit Aerosystem global CEO, Mr Tom Gentile and Malaysia Prime Minister, YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir on December 2018 at Putra Jaya, Malaysia. The project have also been awarded the “G-Mark” good design award from Japan, for it’s innovative idea to improve safety of the operation environment and it’s breakthrough for improving the painting quality of airplane.

Visited by The Prime Minister, YAB Tun Dr Mahathir at Putra Jaya

Visited by The Prime Minister, YAB Tun Dr Mahathir at Putra Jaya

Autonomous Mobile Robot for Painting