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ECA GROUP to launch its new generation Indoor/Outdoor autonomous AGV for the Industry 4.0: simplify logistics, optimize production and reduce costs!

Wednesday, January 08 2020
Whereas the industry is transforming to keep up with intense competition, technologies must be adapted to the continuously changing environment, be more and more flexible and match the needs of tomorrow’s Industry 4.0.

Therefore, in the industry, many aspects of manufacturing will be highly automated, aiming at radically reducing production times and costs.

These new challenges involve also logistics operations within production management who is constantly seeking for innovative solutions to be developed, qualified and implemented without interruption or modification of existing flow and infrastructures. Thus leveraging its 50 years of expertise in industrial robotics, ECA Group's Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) addresses today’s requirements of manufacturers and their suppliers of logistic equipment.

ECA GROUP’s knowledge and experience of industrial manufacturing associated to reliable and innovative unmanned solutions allow now industrials to optimize their logistics for complex operations inside or outside their premises: the new generation of AGVs integrate autonomous operating systems as well as hybrid power.


Autonomous logistics for Indoor, Outdoor and multi-building operations within an industrial plant

As autonomous cars, the automated industrial vehicles developed by ECA GROUP are based on the SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping) technology which enables the machine to “recognize” its environment and adapt its navigation/behavior to a given situation and be in compliance with the highest safety requirements.

Designed and developed for an Indoor, outdoor and multi-building operations, without any existing infrastructure modification or any additional installations, ECA Group AGVs are the first of the kind and already being produced, delivered and tested in one of most demanding industrial environment such as an aluminum smelter plant.


ECA GROUP - An AGV expertise proven through innovative industrial projects

Highly specialized in robotics, automated systems and industrial processes, ECA GROUP is actively involved in innovative industrial projects. Throughout several projects for major industry players, ECA GROUP has been designing and manufacturing complex Manually Guided Vehicles (MGV) and engineering Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV), with its technological expertise in the field of navigation and self-guided vehicle Technology.

Among the projects integrating this technology ECA GROUP worked in partnership with :

  • Rio Tinto to develop an Automated Guided Vehicles technology dedicated for industry logistics applications for the autonomous management of the heavy loads in a smelter, including a fleet management system and Self Driving Vehicles specifically adapted for anodes transportation.
  • EDF to provide a High capacity lifting Lorry to be used in Nuclear Plants. Its main function is transporting the Multistud Tensioning Machine (MSTM / MSDG), with a 140T payload.


Safe, Green and Smart Industry 4.0 and beyond!

When it comes to specify, develop and implement a new technology within an industrial environment, safety norms compliance is paramount.  Each project is a technological challenge for which industrials seek a specific know-how as well as a reliable and flexible partner. ECA GROUP has won its customers’ trust through several projects carried out as expert in the field of navigation and automated vehicles operating autonomously in highly demanding environments such as smelters, nuclear plants or aircraft production.  

Another challenge for the Industry 4.0 is to reduce its environmental footprint: produce with less energy and limit the carbon emission. To meet these expectations and forthcoming regulations,ECA GROUP has been focusing its efforts to improve the hybridization of its AGVs and offer efficient electricity powered autonomous logistic vehicles in the near future.

For the Industry of the future which is being ambitious, Safe and Green but also Smart, ECA GROUP has developed another innovative approach for its AGVs as a fleet: thanks to a dedicated software, industrials will be able to easily manage several AGVs within their plant whether for individual or simultaneous handling.

Modularity being also an important requirement, ECA GROUP has also developed a multipurpose solution to manage different sizes and weights of loads based on modular AGVs. Thus, two or more AGVs can be connected in order to work in a swarm mode which increases and diversifies the handling capacity. Benefitting from these latest developments, ECA GROUP AGVs can handle both standardized loads such as euro-pallets as well as non-standardized loads.

Another dedicated development focuses on securing the load itself when exceeding the AGV size in order to build a “virtual wall” around it and prevent any collision or damage while maneuvering operations.

In addition, the centralized fleet management mode allows to operate missions of several Autonomous AGVs and to manage stocks, locations and traffic network.

Innovation having no limits and AGVs no borders, these solutions can be adapted very easily for each industrial environment such as airspace industry, railways, metallurgy or naval construction.

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