ARTI Services: Simulations for our customer KNAPP

In Austria, and especially in the Graz area, several major intralogistics and automation technology providers exist. The biggest one is KNAPP, a leading international technology company, specializes in all-in-one solutions for automation and digitalization of entire value chains. They work from production and distribution to the last mile and point of sale. The company is headquartered in Hart bei Graz and ranks among the top 5 material handling system providers worldwide.

KNAPP’s range of technologies and services in warehouse logistics is extremely wide and includes a series of autonomous mobile robots, such as robots for intralogistic services to a wide variety of robotic vehicles for intelligent warehouse logistics. The vehicles are available in various sizes and designs, for example, with forklift tines, and can ideally serve customer use cases.

KNAPP Open Shuttle | © KNAPP/BN Lichtbilder/Niederwieser

As a partner, we support KNAPP in the further development of their products and are pleased to be able to contribute to the company’s innovative strength. In particular, we work for KNAPP in the areas of simulation, navigation, and localization of individual systems.

© KNAPP/Marija Kanizaj

ARTI supports us with expert knowledge, development services, and simulations in several critical areas of AMRs such as localization, navigation, and scheduling. Due to this, we can speed up development of future products while also ensuring high product quality at the same time.

Thomas Ulz, Director Software Development, KNAPP Industry Solutions

Simulations are an essential pillar of ARTI’s range of services. Therefore, we would like to take a closer look at the topic of simulations/digital twins and the possibilities and opportunities of this technology.

What are simulations used for?

The autonomous movement of robots in real environments is a very complex process. It depends on both internal factors of the robot (drive system, driving characteristics, dimensions, possible speed, etc.) and external factors (dynamic environment, payload, other road users, etc.). This alone opens up enormous worlds of complexity. With the creation of a simulation environment, an attempt is made to emulate both the vehicle and the driving environment to keep track of this complexity.

Simple 3D Simulation

In robotics software development, the use for simulations is mainly testing and evaluation. They allow a flexible, time- and cost-efficient approach for trying out individual tasks, movement patterns, system dynamics, and processes. Testing and evaluation are challenging and critical tasks in robotics software development. This is especially true when it comes to detecting and avoiding safety risks. Changing test parameters in the environment and the vehicle is much easier and faster in simulation than in real test settings. Therefore, enabling much more varied software testing and providing broader coverage and more reliable results. The intelligent and targeted use of simulations can significantly reduce deployment risks and increase the quality of software solutions.

The possibilities offered by simulations in robotics are almost endless. Just to show the range, here are a few examples:

Evaluation of sensor set-ups

Simulation of process sequences

Better determination of the ideal number of robots per fleet to guarantee highly efficient processes

Estimating goods throughput

Carrying out functional tests to validate updates

Simulated sensors for evaluation and detection of relevant objects e.g. forklifts.

What forms of simulations are possible?

Simulations can be designed very differently depending on the application. They can be built as very straightforward simulations, i.e. in 2D and with relatively rough specifications for the vehicle and the environment. The scope of the simulation can also be very narrow, e.g. only a single situation/scene. However, the range extends to very elaborate and detailed 3D simulations representing entire warehouses and more complex workflows. The more accurate and elaborate such a simulation, the better the results. Of course, the results of a simulation still have to be validated on-site and in reality.

2D simulations are easy, quick and cost-efficient. They are ideal for the first rapid conceptualization. But also suitable for long-term analyses of functionalities and processes over weeks, months or even years. They are used to conduct automated test cases and track dynamic changes in an environment. 2D simulations are also suitable for large operation areas and swarm simulations (multi-robot scenarios).

Example for a complex 2D simulation

3D simulations, for example, Nvidia ISAAC or Unity, can provide ROS bridges and advanced tools to accelerate prototyping. In these sophisticated 3D simulations, it’s possible to create highly detailed and realistic custom environments or scenarios. They can come in various stages of complexity. Features can include weather conditions or high-fidelity physics with friction, damping and sensor models. Moreover, 3D simulations provide advanced collision detection and refined demonstrations of object interactions. Therefore, they can handle dynamic changes in the environment. These simulations are especially suitable for accurate sensor evaluation and machine learning processes. 3D simulations are also ideal for marketing purposes. With a good simulation, the planned solution can be presented to customers clearly and comprehensibly.

Two examples of nearly photorealistic 3D simulations

ARTI simulation services

Creating and managing digital twins of robots, assets, environments, and robot driving behaviour are essential pillars of ARTI’s service portfolio.

Comparison of different simulation types

At ARTI, we use simulations in 2D or 3D and various resolution qualities in many areas. On the one hand, in internal development, we test our AI Kits for functionality and safety. That is to increase the quality of our solutions. On the other hand, we support our partners, such as KNAPP, with simulations of their use cases. The aim here is, of course, to optimize robotic processes. However, simulations are also particularly useful for understanding customers’ use cases and processes in detail. So we at ARTI can provide them with the best possible service.

Finally, we also use simulations in research projects. Simulations are beneficial for illustrating the feasibility of unprecedented demonstrators and processes.

ARTI CEO Konstantin Mautner-Lassnig strongly believes that digital twins are an advantageous tool. They are good for all partners in every stage of a robotic project:

It has been shown over the years that companies that have built up a comprehensive simulation have consistently achieved a competitive advantage. Errors are found quicker, and new developments are incorporated faster, saving enormous costs and increasing end-customer satisfaction. When a partner showcases a digital twin, it clearly is a sign of quality and professionalism for me.

Konstantin Mautner-Lassnig, ARTI CEO

Are you interested in simulations?

When the information in the article intrigues you. Or when you think a digital twin could be helpful for your workflow or robotic processes. Then, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are happy to discuss your use case. And we like to discuss how we at ARTI can support you and your company with our simulation services.

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Hi folks, my name is Robi and I have the honor to keep you up to date with the latest information about events, stories and technical innovations @ ARTI.
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