The Mesh-Up will consist of a live-test of the VDA 5050, a standard for AGV communication that enables compliant AGVs to work together. The goal of the VDA 5050 standard is to create a level of communication between AGVs, regardless of manufacturer through a common data language. KINEXON will be providing one of two control systems used in the testing facility, to assist in orchestrating the testing, as part of the Test Camp Intralogistics 2023.
Don’t miss the VDMA AGV Mesh-Up event to learn about the latest innovations and how they can benefit your operations! We’ll look forward to seeing you there!
Learn more about the AGV Mesh-Up by reading our recent interview with the VDMA, below.
ICYMI: Hannes Bell, Project Manager for KINEXON, interviews with VDMA
Hannes Bell, Project Manager Industry 4.0 at KINEXON Industries GmbH and Joachim Feld, System Manager Automated Guided Vehicles at SIEMENS AG are the two project managers for the master controls for the AGV Mesh-Up. What exactly can visitors to the AGV Mesh-Up expect on site?
HANNES BELL: The layout is currently designed in such a way that visitors will see several, jointly driven and crossing driving courses with pick and drop areas. The AGV and AMR partners will present different use cases, such as the omnidirectional pickup of transport racks, the transport of different load carriers or a cobot permanently installed on the AGV for manipulating and picking up objects. Additionally, there will be two pallet racks served by fork lift AGVs. Another part of the area will be used to present free navigation and automatic obstacle avoidance. In addition, Nokia will set up a 5G network to connect the vehicles.
What systems are you using to orchestrate the AGV Mesh-Up this year?
JOACHIM FELD: We provide our SIMOVE Fleetmanager for the AGV Mesh-Up. With its manufacturer-independent and modular software architecture, it is ideally suited for the coordination of AGV fleets from a wide variety of manufacturers. The central processing of vehicle information such as driving times, position, operating status, etc. creates a holistic image of the system, on the basis of which further optimization and thus cost savings are possible for our customers. It can be connected to any MES and ERP systems via open software interfaces, with all modern communication protocols from the cloud and server environment being offered. The AGV can be connected using both standard and manufacturer-specific drivers.
HANNES BELL: The KINEXON Fleet Manager enables VDA 5050-compliant, manufacturer-independent connection of different AGVs and AMRs and provides safe and intelligent control of the entire fleet. In addition, the KINEXON Fleet Manager can be easily combined with other functions of our KINEXON OS and thus offers a large number of standardized interfaces and connection options on the shop floor, for example for connecting ERP or WMS systems. The KINEXON OS brings together location data of all kinds and translates it into a holistic digital twin. This opens up further optimization and automation potential and we create an even broader range of solutions for our customers. For example, a combination with Order Tracking & Process Management.
How did you approach the AGV Mesh-Up project and what do you think are the most exciting challenges?
JOACHIM FELD: The aim of the project is to harmonize both the implementations of the manufacturers and those of the two control systems as early as possible. Even if the VDA 5050 already exists in version 2.0.0, experience from the projects implemented so far shows that the description leaves some room for interpretation for the providers. It is important to find out these differences, to adapt them to a uniform solution and then to implement them. This allows the specification of the standard to be improved.
HANNES BELL: KINEXON and SIEMENS set up a joint project team for this. Together we coordinate the agreement with the manufacturers in order to make the connection of the vehicles with our control systems as efficient as possible. Part of these agreements is the uniform list of use cases in both control systems. The current project phase is characterized by the analysis of any challenges. In addition, both fleet manager parties provide the AGV/AMR partners with cloud-based test instances for initial joint test runs with simulators or real vehicles.
JOACHIM FELD: Each fleet manager has a specific selection of manufacturers that he oversees directly. Once these tests have been successfully completed, the AGV manufacturers exchange information between the fleet managers in order to ensure interoperability between the fleet managers as well.
Why is it important for you to test your own software on VDA 5050?
HANNES BELL: We already use our KINEXON Fleet Manager with the VDA 5050 standard in our implemented projects, but every customer installation is different. The AGV Mesh-Up offers us and the other participants with this variety of different vehicles in the same space a unique environment to demonstrate interoperability in practice. Thus, all participants can prove that a flexible expansion of the urgently needed automation of intralogistics processes is possible and that the VDA 5050 will make an important contribution to this.
JOACHIM FELD: With the AGV Mesh-Up, we can demonstrate our SIMOVE Fleetmanager to AGV manufacturers and end customers in the almost real environment of a multivendor application. In our test field, we could not present the opportunity to work simultaneously with 9 AGV manufacturers and another control system provider on a joint task due to the associated effort for everyone involved. However, since this type of application is increasingly in demand from our customers as part of solutions for flexible production systems, it is all the more important to be able to provide suitable proof of functionality. At the same time, we can identify differences that still exist in the various implementations and optimize them as part of the further development of our product.
Thank you for the interview.
This article was published on 1.6.2023 on vdma.org.
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