Special Feature 2020 - Contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Eliminating Labor Shortage
The intensifying problem of the dwindling birthrate and aging population causes a serious labor shortage. Securing an enough number of transportation workers is becoming increasingly difficult in distribution centers and plants, which more manpower is expected to be in need in the future. To help address this issue, the Nidec Group provides labor robots capable of performing physically demanding work.
Case 1 Next-generation autonomous transport cart S-CART®,
which does more than carrying loads
The S-CART, the series of autonomous, flexible and convenient transport robots that Nidec developed to carry various large, heavy loads by themselves, have such features as: 1) remote control by tablet terminal; 2) magnet tape-free guideless navigation based on a laser measurement system and a floor layout memory function; and 3) compact design capable of long-time operation with the use of a high-capacity lithium battery. After debuting in December 2018, the S-CART 500 has proved to be capable of carrying a payload of up to 500 kg despite its size, which is compact enough for the product to be used in such small facilities as distribution centers. These features, combined with its merit of low-floor performance, significantly increased the S-CART series' applications in logistics settings. The S-CART series will continue to use the sensing, the robotics, and many other technologies that the Nidec Groups is focused on as we try to further expand its applications.
For More flexible and Simpler Transport Operations
The term “chronical labor shortage due to dwindling birthrate and aging population” is used so frequently now. The logistics industry, in particular, is said to have difficulty in soliciting female and senior workers due to its nature, and conventional image, as an industry that requires physically demanding, standing work. We developed the “S-CART,” an autonomous transport cart, to help resolve this issue. Nidec-Shimpo had long provided automated guided vehicle (AGV) units that have reduction gears, motors, and controllers for a long time, before launching AGVs themselves.
As explained above, the S-CART is a magnet tape-free AGV that runs on guideless navigation whose layout you can change flexibly. The cart's other autonomous features include deciding a destination based on the goods it carries, and avoiding obstacles by itself. Among all the S-CART series models, I would personally recommend S-CART 500, a general-purpose AGV that has a maximum transport capacity of 500 kg, together with other features such as a conveyor, a lifter, and a robot, all of which enable the cart to fully demonstrate its functions as a transport robot. The cart, also equipped with a function to follow a person or a cart, is designed to work with humans as well. As the term “follow” suggests, the cart literally follows you, and you will soon start feeling as if the cart were your own pet. Some female users have even commented to me how cute the cart is, that it stimulates their maternal instinct, etc. As labor shortage is said to intensify even further, we stay committed to engaging in product development and improvement so that our S-CART models can work in various places and environments, from factories to warehouses to hotels to commercial facilities.