E-mobility success story

Louise Smyth

Mariana Maglione introduces a pre-assembled connection solution for tailor-made AGVs

Based in the Nuremberg area, a specialist in the development and construction of individual mobile transport platforms relies on robust connectors from an expert in power transmission in its electric drive systems. Stäubli Electrical Connectors’ customised pre-assembled cables and its modular, high-performance CombiTac system provide unrestricted flexibility in driving and manouevring, as well as failsafe operation of the mobile logistic platforms.

Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are an integral part of fully automated production and logistics processes. They must work in a wide variety of environments, function under precise control, have an extremely high load capacity depending on use, and offer reliable long-term operation.

Over a period of decades, the Wittich family has established a company that specialises in the construction of custom machinery and mobile platforms. The company has been part of the Stäubli Group since 2018 and today operates under the name Stäubli WFT.

Based on its own mobile individual transportation (MIT) systems, called WFTMIT, the team of specialists develops technologically advanced platforms for automated transport. The customer base for these custom-made machines includes well-known industrial businesses throughout Europe, from aeroplane construction firms to manufacturers of agricultural machinery, rail vehicles and compressors.

The various types of drive systems of the WFTMIT allow them to carry loads of up to 500 tons. If necessary, multiple MIT systems can be easily combined into one large platform, so that even very large loads can be transported when the systems operate in conjunction.

The innovative drive technology provides unrestricted flexibility and control in all directions. As a result, the systems can be used in an almost unlimited number of ways, since the vehicles can also effortlessly handle factory hall entrances and exits. They can be controlled precisely and conveniently with a mobile control panel or joystick, or automatically by means of various track guidance systems. Their environmentally friendly electric drive systems, with specially customised battery capacities and integrated regenerative braking, are quiet and emission-free.

Flexible, failsafe e-mobility connections

A secure connection for transmitting power to drive systems requires a high-performance, vibration-resistant connector with flexible connection cables. Not only was the CombiTac modular connector system readily adapted to WFT’s specific needs, it’s also extremely robust and offers high current-carrying capacity, thanks to the Multilam contact technology. Connecting multiple drive axles to the control cabinet on the base frame required flexible wiring to allow a 360° range of motion in all directions, while also ensuring a failsafe connection. In discussions with Stäubli Electrical Connectors during the project development phase also the complete wiring specification was fine-tuned, so the CombiTac solution is delivered with pre-assembled wiring harnesses from about 20in to almost 40ft in length. This shortens installation times while also eliminating sources of error during assembly, thereby ensuring smooth operation in customer applications without limiting maneuverability. The required cable length can vary from one WFTMIT design to the next, and Stäubli flexibly adapts its assembled supply as needed.

“The use of pre-assembled cables for the implemented CombiTac solution, and Stäubli’s flexibility on the lengths and cross-sections that are needed for the cable design, improves our production quality and increases the reliability of our WFTMITs,” explains Manuel Schäffer, design manager. “Based on our positive experience with CombiTac connectors and pre-assembled cables for the first small batch of MITs, we decided to go with this type of connection as the standard for all the other MITs in our portfolio as well.”

Mariana Maglione is head of global portfolio management at Stäubli


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