Driverless through the factory thanks to KINEXON and Kontron

21st March 2019
Lanna Deamer

Embedded Box PCs by Kontron, a provider of IoT/Embedded Computer Technology (ECT), serve as hardware basis for automated guided vehicles, which find their way through the factories with the navigation software KINEXON Brain from the Munich-based company KINEXON Industries. KINEXON Brain guides the transport vehicles precisely and safely to their destination even under harsh conditions.

The robust construction and maintenance-free design of the fanless KBox A-series by Kontron allows safe and efficient navigation of automated guided vehicles: ground contamination, unfavourable light irradiation, dust or fumes are no longer a problem.

Previous solutions for AGV navigation such as ground markers, lines or magnetic strips are also inflexible, expensive and require intensive maintenance and will not be needed any longer.

KINEXON Brain is based on software implemented on an IoT gateway of Kontron's KBox A-Series. The solution consists of an embedded Box PC with IoT functionalities and the sensors for communication with the sensor network, the KINEXON Vehicle Tags.

In addition, there is a fieldbus coupler for communication with external I/Os and other components connected to the gateway, such as motors, laser scanners or a safety controller. The KINEXON Brain installed on Kontron's KBox acts as a single interface to the hardware platform of the industrial truck.

Johannes Feldmaier, Product Manager Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) at KINEXON: "By using Kontron's KBox, we have succeeded in implementing one of the leading driverless transport system solutions for use in industrial environments within a very short time. Thanks to the offered standards, the scalability and the available interfaces, KINEXON Brain can be easily integrated into the products of various vehicle manufacturers.

"This allows a wide range of use in various fields of application, for example in the field of intralogistics or, in the future, also in the service robotics sector."

KINEXON decided in favor of Kontron's KBox at the beginning of 2017, after a brief market survey and positive reports from Kontron customers.

"Many of the solutions we looked at previously were significantly larger and heavier than the KBox and used active cooling," explained Feldmaier. "However, if there is a lot of dust, as is the case in many production facilities and warehouses, these systems, are not suitable for providing precise data.

"Kontron's KBox is compact, robust and scalable and has a practical interface layout. The fanless operation, important for KINEXON, allows ambient temperatures of up to 60°C by passive cooling. The system can be operated without a fan. With the necessary certifications and the fully tested system configuration as well as a very good price-performance ratio, Kontron can supply its customers with an adequate product."

Norbert Hauser, Vice President Marketing, Kontron: "By using the box PCs as control computers in automated guided vehicles, Kontron emphasises its ability to also score points with its products in the world of autonomous vehicles. High performance and robust industrial PCs are essential for the rapid evaluation of merged sensor data in mobile systems."

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