Vered Tomlak met us at the booth for Vecna Robotics at Promat 2019 in Chicago for her first interview with IndustrialSage! We had a fantastic chat with John Hayes last year at MODEX, so visiting Vecna again was a no-brainer.
This was Vered’s first time with Vecna Robotics at Promat, though the company has been attending MHI shows for a few years. Vecna specializes in creating autonomous solutions for the logistics market. Their inventory includes self-driving robotic vehicles, a pivotal orchestration system, and a beacon service.
This year at Promat, Vecna introduced their fifth-generation tugger and pallet jack. It’s one of the only tuggers on the market that can automatically hitch and charge all by itself. Those abilities may seem small, but they can save workers a lot of time before long.
“Incremental help goes a long way in productivity.”
The pallet jack is also capable of autonomous identification, lifting and drop-off. Again: that’s a rare feat. Other companies create vehicles that require strict pathways made up of rigid lines. However, Vecna robots have the ability to adapt their predetermined paths if obstacles end up in their way.
Once Vecna maps out a facility’s layout, Vecna’s vehicles can navigate seamlessly. They don’t need to follow paths of reflective tape or wires to get the job done. In fact, they’re smart enough to identify the fastest route to their destination and recalculate to avoid barriers if need be.
Vecna’s multi-model sensors on their vehicles means they have never caused accident or injury. That is a very, very rare (and prestigious) claim!
In addition to functioning 24 hours a day where before human workers could not, Vecna vehicles also aid multiple stages of the automation process at once. Other robotics companies focus on one step of that process at a time. As Vered explained to us, that’s really more of a short-term solution.
Vecna Robotics, on the other hand, strives to improve over-all workflow in material handling. They want to adapt and scale alongside their customers.
“It’s really not about replacing jobs…these are supposed to be companions. Compatible, collaborative robots.”
Large companies like Amazon are increasing the speed at which consumers demand their products. Vecna robots help cut down excess time that employees might otherwise spend on menial tasks, which means they can be more productive. “These [vehicles] come in, keep people in their jobs, and create more jobs that people want,” Vered explained to us.
The invention of the bulldozer, for example, didn’t put construction workers out of a job– it increased their productivity and meant they didn’t have to spend as much time exhausting themselves to move large quantities of soil or gravel. The automated, fast-thinking robots exhibited by Vecna Robotics at Promat are very similar. They actually keep people in the industry and improve quality of life.
See the full video interview here.