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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AMR: The New Look of AGV

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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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Exhibitions 2019

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DF Automation and Robotics will be at upcoming exhibitions:

ICSCI @ Melaka (16th-18th October 2019)

Allpack Indonesia @ Jakarta (30th October – 2nd November 2019)

Manufacturing Indonesia @ Jakarta (4th – 7th December 2019)

 

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR)

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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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What is Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV)?

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AGV stands for Automated Guided Vehicle, is an autonomous mobile robot that is programmed to perform in-house logistic tasks. It is capable of lifting and towing heavy loads as well as delivering loads to its targeted destination. The AGV robot is available in various designs and sizes besides being able to be customised according to user needs.

AGV consists of many electrical and mechanical parts. Ultimately, two main parts of AGV robot are the AGV controller which acts as a brain for the AGV and the embedded controller which regulates the AGV. AGV is typically powered by a battery but it can be charged in no time for continuous operation of it.
An AGV robot uses a line follower concept to navigate through its destination. Some AGVs use magnetic sensors with magnetic strip guidance, simply known as tracked AGVs. There are also trackless AGVs which do not require any tracks where they are equipped with LIDAR sensors to scan their surroundings. Both navigation technologies used are very accommodative as they would not require any layout changes to the plant facility.
AGV is also equipped with software to enable users to have a better control over the AGV. This is achieved by allowing users to configure the AGV settings tailored to their needs using a simple graphic user interface (GUI). AGVs performances are also improved by having a good fleet management system governing each AGV.
DF Automation & Robotics, a Malaysian-based company has been one of the leading manufacturers of Automated Guided Vehicle in the region of Southeast Asia. DF is committed in providing a world-class AGV to meet customer demand as it is expanding its business internationally.
Needless to say, there are an abundance of AGV applications in every field of industries. AGV robot can potentially yield a good return on investment especially to companies with huge plants and warehouses. AGV is definitely one of the key players in ensuring a smooth and productive operation flow of any companies.
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Automex Kuala Lumpur

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DF Automation and Robotics will be at Automex Kuala Lumpur from 15th-18th May 2019.

Please visit Official website: https://www.automex.com.my/

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Semicon Southeast Asia Kuala Lumpur

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DF Automation and Robotics will be at Semicon Southeast Asia Kuala Lumpur from 7th-9th May 2019.

Please visit Official website: http://www.semiconsea.org/

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DF AGV Showcase at Hannover Messe, Germany

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DF Automation and Robotics will be showcasing our AGV with wireless charging capability at Hannover Messe, Germany from 1st April 2019 to 5th April 2019, at Hall 16 Booth E08.

Feel free to drop by and have a chat with our technical team during the event.

For registration, please visit Hannover Messe Official website

https://www.hannovermesse.de/

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