Completed projects


Innovative transport system for production linking

Initial situation

In the future, transport systems for linking production processes must not only enable the complex, flexible, fast and integrated linking of processes in the context of advancing digitization, but also support the seamless documentation of the product-specific manufacturing process. All information relating to the transport system and the workpiece must be recorded at all times and evaluated accordingly, and can thus also be used in a digital twin.

Furthermore, a modern transport system should offer a high degree of usability in production; in applications with special cleanliness or hygiene requirements, it must be easy to clean. For flexible production, a transport system in different variants should be able to safely pick up and transport light, medium and also heavy workpieces with individual weights of up to 100 kg on a rail with a constant target profile. The operation of the transport system via direct current at 24 V voltage level is desirable due to the achievable energy efficiency and is also to be classified as non-hazardous for humans in case of improper operation. In addition, conveyor speeds of up to 70 m/min should be achievable in order to be able to bridge long production distances in a short time.

These requirements can hardly be met with the state of the art and the usual chain conveyors, which is why the use of autonomous rail-bound trolleys is considered to be a viable option. The basic structure of such a system can be seen in Figure 1. The trolleys can be moved along different routes via switches and thus form a network, which can extend over an entire production area. The flexible design of the production processes achieved in this way offers the possibility of shortening production times and increasing the number of variants that can be manufactured or assembled on a line.

Figure 1: Transport System InTraProd

Project goals

Within the scope of the InTraProd project, a functional prototype was developed in operational conditions (TRL 6). In addition to the 5 manufactured and assembled transport shuttles, a test track with a switch for linking 2 track sections and a long track section for testing the maximum speed were also constructed, as well as an elevator. Particularly noteworthy are the energy storage system specially developed for the system, the intelligent control system and the robust wheel/rail construction.

Figure 2: Transport Shuttle