One system, two functions: the WaveHandling modular conveyor belt can transport and simultaneously sort objects without the need for an additional handling unit. A large number of pneumatic bellows modules deform the surface so that the objects are conveyed in a targeted manner by a wave movement. Our Bionic Learning Network sets new impulses for the automation of tomorrow.
Without tides and wind, the sea would be as smooth as glass. However, if the wind blows over the smooth surface of the water, the first small waves are created, which grow into large waves due to further air influences. And yet the water does not move from place to place in the sea. Water molecules within a wave only move up and down in a circular path, in principle however always remain in the same position. Nevertheless, the wave rolls over the surface of the sea.
The situation is similar with the WaveHandling: While each individual bellows only extends and retracts on the spot, a wave rolls over the surface of the conveyor belt. The WaveHandling is also flat at first. When compressed air is applied to one or more bellows, the first wave crest is formed. An object that was previously on the spot begins to roll down the wave until it stops at the next wave crest in front of it. This allows the system to form a wave crest that moves across the entire field and pushes the material being transported in front of it in a targeted manner.
Inspired by nature: the circular path of water molecules in the sea as a model for the pneumatic conveyor belt
The individual modules can be added and put together in any way, and configure themselves. This means that the system can be put into operation quickly and is available for a wide variety of configurations without any programming effort. Thanks to the integrated sorting function, an additional handling unit is no longer absolutely required.
Even today, WaveHandling already shows how the configuration of a system can be taken over by the individual modules themselves in the future. Previously time-consuming work steps, such as manual adjustment and programming, are no longer necessary due to the decentralized intelligence of the components.
It is possible to imagine the platform being used in the food industry when sensitive objects such as fruit and vegetables need to be transported independently and sorted for further processing. The WaveHandling system could distribute the corresponding goods to the left and right in the middle of a system along the following conveyor path. The principle of self-configuration creates new prospects anywhere that subsystems are expected to be immediately and flexibly integrated in the production process.