In the next of our comprehensive looks at all the IFOY Award finalists ahead of the announcement ceremony in Dortmund on June 22nd, we come to the first of several entries from China, the F4-1000C AGV from Hikrobot.
Category: Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV / AMR)
IFOY Test Report
Hikrobot introduces the F4-1000C, or F4 for short, a super-compact AGV designed specifically for use in narrow aisles or confined spaces. It can be used in a variety of conditions, from logistics to production environments. With a chassis of just 400mm (1,600mm including forks) and a width of 800mm, the IFOY nominee appears extremely slim. Despite its compact size, the AGV with forks can effortlessly transport and lift loads of 1,000kg up to a height of 1.3m. At the maximum lifting height of 3m, the residual load capacity is 600kg.
With travel speeds of 1.8m/s (without load) and 1.2m/s (with load), the robot is faster than many competitors. Lifting speed is 0.5m/s (unloaded) and 0.3m/s (loaded). Lifting accuracy is ±2mm.
The CE-certified F4-1000C is equipped with numerous safety features that ensure safe cooperation between man and machine. It operates precisely and reliably with a positioning accuracy of ±5mm. At the IFOY presentation, the F4 detected pallets that were not fully in position thanks to the camera in the fork carriage. If a pallet deviates by up to 10°, the AGV detects this and independently corrects its position.
Hikrobot’s in-house fleet management system can also be easily adapted to the requirements and systems of customers in different industries. No third party is required for this, eliminating additional work and costs.
The F4-1000C is controlled by Hikrobot’s robot control system (RCS). This system optimises routes and avoids congestion and traffic delays. According to Hikrobot, this increases efficiency by two to three times.
The F4 navigates with SLAM technology. The 48V/70Ah lithium-ion battery is sufficient for eight hours of use on a full charge, according to Hikrobot.
Regardless of the workflow or deployment situation, the F4-1000C ensures a smooth flow of goods. The F4 is one of the few robots that can operate in both logistics environments and industrial deployment situations. The F4’s “mother tongue” is Italian, but it can provide feedback in all European languages.
The manufacturer considers the attractive price to be a major plus point. Since the Chinese manufacturer ̶ with the exception of the SICK sensor ̶ develops and produces all components in-house, Hikrobot retains maximum control over the supply chain. In addition, this allows the manufacturer to respond to a wide variety of customer requests and requirements. In other words, maximum flexibility at a competitive price. By its own account, Hikrobot delivers the F4 at a price that is at least 30% lower than any competitor. To maintain control of the supply chain after delivery, Hikrobot has a European headquarters and spare parts centre in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands.
IFOY test verdict: Thanks to its compact size, the independent F4-1000C maximises the use of storage space. Its manoeuvrability gives users a great advantage in both logistics and industry.
IFOY Innovation Check
Market relevance: Vehicles like the F4 1000C with a fork for standard pallet skids have a large market. The 1200x800mm pallet format and other load carriers with these basic dimensions, such as mesh boxes or large load carriers, are used in very many companies in Europe.
Customer benefit: The extremely compact design of the vehicle with a short body for drive and control results in a vehicle length of only 1640mm. This enables the F4-1000C to place the DIN pallet format 1200x1000mm crosswise in a rack after a 90° turn, even in a storage aisle that is only 2052mm wide. The manoeuvrability of the compact vehicle enables a good utility value for the user.
Novelty / Innovation: Even in this compact design, the vehicle is not exceptionally new. Market competitors already have vehicles with omnidirectional drive in their portfolio, which currently represent the benchmark in the compact industrial truck segment.
Functionality / Type of implementation: In addition to its compactness, the F4-1000C offers many good functions and features that are beneficial to the user. These include the autonomy functions, such as the well-functioning avoidance of obstacles. The demonstration of detecting load carriers outside the specified pick-up position, for example twisted or shifted, did not work in the successive tests.
Verdict: Vehicles like the F4 1000C have a very large market, as the 1200x800mm pallet format is used in very many companies. The manoeuvrability of the vehicle enables good benefits for the users. Even in this compact design, the vehicle is not exceptionally new, but offers good functions and features for the user.
Market relevance ++
Customer benefit +
Novelty / Innovation Ø
Functionality / Type of implementation +
[KEY: ++ very good / + good / Ø balanced / – less / — not available]