B&R Automation Highlights Planar Conveyance System

B&R Automation’s Acopos 6D is a unique conveyance system that transports items using levitating planar movers. Watch the innovation in action on this Take Five video.


Quick hits:

  • B&R Automation exhibited the Acopos 6D alongside its other technologies at PACK EXPO Las Vegas.
  • The Acopos 6D uses levitating planar tiles to transport items without the restrictions of a pre-determined track.
  • Special functions that allow the Acopos 6D to swirl and level contents of vessels are also available.

Related to this episode:  

AutomaTech: Driving Industrial Innovation to Transform Your Business. Visit their website for more information. →
Listen to the story here:

   Read the transcript below:

David Miller: Hello, and welcome to Take Five with Automation World. I'm David Miller, senior technical writer for Automation World.

Today we're going to be showing a little bit more footage from the show floor at last month's PACK EXPO Las Vegas convention. Presenting in the video is going to be Corey Morton, head of product management at B&R Automation, and he is demonstrating B&R's Acopos 6D conveyance system. Now, if you haven't ever seen this system before, it's very unique and makes for a very dynamic demonstration. The way it works is by moving items on individual shuttle tiles, or planar movers as they're sometimes called, that are quite literally levitating above a magnetic surface. And because of this, they're able to move entirely freely, that is, unimpeded by any kind of set track that another type of conveyance system might impose on objects it's moving.

So in addition, there are all kinds of special functions that the Acopos 6D can perform. For instance, one of the things it does that you'll see, which is very interesting, is that it can use motion to swirl liquids in small canisters, possibly to mix certain types of solutions that might be used in pharmaceutical production or something like that. Or another thing it can do is it can kind of move the tiles back and forth very rapidly to level out powders and things like that. And of course it can be used to weigh objects in the shuttling so that you can do all sorts of measurement and quality control tasks while you're moving these things without the need for any separate peripheral equipment.

Corey Morton: Hi, my name is Corey Morton. I'm head of product management for B&R here in North America and this is Acopos 6D demo. And we're trying to highlight a few things with this demo. One, of course, is the six degrees of freedom that you get with a product like Acopos 6D. And the other is our ability to synchronize very tightly with external equipment, in this case it happens to be a robot where we synchronize a shuttle to the tool center point of the robot. What you'll see with the six degrees of freedom that you have with a product like this is that you can move freely in the X and Y axis. You can also rotate around the X and Y axis. You can also move in the Z axis, so that's a vertical movement. And in addition, you can rotate around that Z axis and you can do all these movements simultaneously.

So this gives you ability to do some operations, like weighing of product, or even maybe banking a product around a curve to prevent it from sloshing out of whatever container it may be in. You can also use it to do very tight circular movements, maybe to level a powder substrate or something like that. So it's very exciting. It's much more than just a conveyance product, it can be part of the process. And it also forces you to think a little bit outside the linear process type format and think a little bit more freely about how you can change the footprint of your machine and greatly reduce it.

Some of the other interesting things about the technology is the ability to scale to much larger systems. Basically with one controller, you can have 200 of the black segments, which are the squares that you see right over here, and then you can have 50 shuttles. That's all on one single controller. If you need more than that, of course you just add a controller and these are fully synchronized over POWERLINK. What you see here is a full digital twin. This is also inherent in our environment and that is Automation Studio, and it shows you exactly what's happening in the physical demo as well. There's another mode to the demo where we simulate a process and in the digital twin, you'll actually receive product on the shuttles being loaded and unloaded by the robot. You'll actually see a vision system as well that aren't physically present.

David Miller: Thanks for watching Take Five with Automation World.

Companies in this article
More in Take Five