Designing an Automated Material Handler for Agricultural Warehouse Applications
thesisposted on 10.05.2018, 00:00 by Brendan Taedter, Mark Fenn
Plenty Unlimited farms are contained within 100,000 square foot warehouses which require a substantial amount of goods transportation. Currently, these goods are primarily transported by humans. In order to optimize labor efficiency within the warehouse, remedial tasks such as manually carrying goods should be conducted autonomously. This investigation aims to address the issue of automating the task of carrying goods. Automated material handlers for warehouses already exist; however, these handlers are very expensive and are riddled with non-essential functionality. The material handler design proposed by the senior design team and Plenty Unlimited engineers is a line-following, multi-directional robot capable of receiving a destination to which it will deliver up to 500lbs of produce. The current iteration of the design will have only the most basic functionality; however, the microprocessor is capable of being reprogrammed to include other desired functionality. The current design still requires the robot to be loaded and unloaded manually; this problem will be addressed in future iterations of the design and is not included in the current project scope. Because the robot will be used in an agricultural warehouse in which food is produced, the materials used to construct the robot must meet FDA standards. Furthermore, the robot must be safe and easy to use by humans. Implementation of the proposed design will provide Plenty Unlimited with a safer and more time-efficient means of goods transportation.