Dock Leveler Maintenance

Dock Leveler Maintenance: Don't Overlook These Critical Issues

The introduction of the Big Joe Autonomous Mobile Robot (AMR) seems to address a specific need in the market by providing a cost-effective solution for material handling tasks. By retrofitting their rider electric jacks with automation systems, Big Joe has created an AMR that is easy to deploy and capable of handling pallets and skids directly from the floor.

During operation, the AMR is manually driven through the work area, allowing its LIDAR and cameras to collect thousands of data points and build a map of the environment. Once the map is generated, the vehicle can navigate autonomously within the designated area using the stored information.

The key challenge in autonomous material handling is picking up pallets from the floor, which can be accomplished by more complex and expensive AGVs or AMRs. However, Big Joe's approach simplifies this process by having an operator manually drive the vehicle into the pallet and lift it. Once the pallet is secured, the AMR can operate autonomously and transport it to the desired destination.

The Big Joe AMR has various potential applications, such as:

  1. Manufacturing cells: In a cluster of manufacturing cells, where completed loads need to be moved to the next operation, warehouse, or shipping, operators can use the Big Joe AMR. They manually drive the vehicle to the load, pick it up, and then send the AMR autonomously to its destination.
  2. Warehouse order picking: The AMR can be manually used for picking orders in a warehouse. Once the pallet is full, the operator can send the AMR autonomously to the shipping area.
  3. Milk run setup: The vehicle can be configured for a milk run, making stops in different areas where loads may need to be picked up and transported to their respective destinations. For example, in the case of 4Imprint's demonstration, the AMR will be used for a milk run to collect corrugate recycling bins and transport them to the baler.

Overall, the Big Joe AMR fills a gap in the AMR market by providing a simple and cost-effective solution for pallet handling tasks. Its versatility makes it suitable for a range of applications in manufacturing, warehousing, and logistics environments. 

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