Magazino, a start-up company in Munich, is developing new ideas for automated order picking. A new kind of pick&place station for small parts can detect, grasp and place packaged items extremely quickly thanks to 3D camera technology and "fast" software. On the three linear axes of the system, igus® drylin® ZLW toothed belt axes are used. With regard to the bearings as well, the Magazino developers are also choosing products from the igus® modular engineering kit.
Every pharmacy in Germany is supplied with goods by wholesale pharmaceutical companies on a regular and frequent basis and just under every fifth pharmacy now uses an automated storage system that "spits out" the medicines customers want at the press of a button". Thanks to the modern technology of these order picking machines, pharmacy personnel no longer even need to put the delivered goods into the machines. The contents of the delivered transport container is simply tipped into a shaft and then automatically separated, identified and transported to the storage place in accordance with the space-saving principle of chaotic stock systems.
In 2011, two Munich students were so fascinated by this way of making work easier that they asked themselves whether such a system could keeps things neat and tidy in private households as well. They quickly found the answer: in principle, yes, but the costs are too high. However, the idea remained stuck in their heads and, after a weekend of intensive brainstorming together, they set up a company that develops new ideas for fully automatic order picking: not only for pharmacies but also for industry and shops as well as for Internet companies involved in selling and forwarding goods..
In the meantime, the company, going under the name Magazino GmbH, has developed several product ideas and made them ready for the market. These ideas were found to be convincing by HTGF (High-Tech-Gründerfond), which is Germany's biggest financier of start-up companies, and the persons responsible from EXIST, a promotional program for business start-ups. Both are now funding the young company.
One of these new ideas was exhibited by Magazino at this year's LogiMAT trade fair. Lukas Zanger, technical director and one of the three founders of the company: "Our pick&place station identifies the goods and grasps even very heterogeneous packaged items - whereby it can change the tool autonomously - and guides them to the order picking technology or the operator."
This system is incredibly versatile. For example, it can be placed in front of a paternoster storage warehouse or an automatic small-parts storage facility and can take the parts requested by the operator from the shelf. Lukas Zanger: "This means that the final step of order picking, the manual picking process, is automated as well. "
This is made possible by the fact that a powerful 3D camera is linked to extremely fast linear axes and – very importantly – intelligent software that detects the packaged item, determines the grasping points and controls all movements.
On the three linear axes of the pick&place system, drive technology from igus® is used. Toothed belt systems of the type drylin® ZLW 1040 as well as the relatively new type, drylin® ZLW 1080, are used. As they traverse on bearings made of the high-performance polymer iglidur®, they are completely maintenance-free and lubrication-free. The toothed belts ensure quiet operation, whereby the deflection shaft in each case rests on two grooved ball bearings.
Thanks to these features, the toothed belt axes are ideal for the application envisaged by Magazino. Lukas Zanger: "The axes reach high speeds, they are quiet, fulfil our precision requirements and the price/performance ratio is also good. “
From Magazino's point of view, there were also other reasons that spoke in favour of working with igus: "With igus, we always receive good speedy support and, for us as a start-up company, speed is crucial. “
For this reason, Magazino makes extensive use of the igus® modular bearing system, while also relying on iglidur® bearings – and not only in automatic pick&place machines. Another example: For the space-saving storage of small parts, Magazino has developed a compact storage system in the form of a carousel, with round storage levels. The individual levels with a diameter of 2.50 metres rotate around a main axis with a diameter of 50 mm and are connected to the axis in each case by means of iglidur® J bushings.
This is where the iglidur® bearings literally play a leading role, which they have to perform over a long period of time. Lukas Zanger: "Because the bearings on the central axis are not accessible, they have to fulfil very high requirements in respect of service life. “
In addition to the bearings and the linear axes, energy chains from the igus® product range are also used in the handling system. The developers of the start-up company are attentively following the trend towards completely assembled chains, which do not even have to be wired. Lukas Zanger: "The chain with connectors that igus® introduced a short time ago would be the system of choice for us."
Magazino has developed a third innovation, namely an automated order picking solution for online shops. In a fully automatic storage system,a mobile robot moves about and is supplied with energy via busbars and with information via WLAN. In this case as well, a 3D camera ensures exact grasping of heterogeneous stored goods. This system is suitable for order picking tasks in the area of online book selling, for example, while returned goods can be identified and collected with the pick&place station described at the beginning.
Now that the development of these systems has been completed, the task of selling the systems is now on the agenda. In a few months, the first pharmacy will be equipped with order picking technology from Magazino.