Planetary gears

For mobile load robots

For mobile load robots

With its mobile load robots, the French robotics start-up JNOV TECH has established itself on the market surprisingly quickly. One reason for this success is the current new development CMR. Here, several vehicles work together as a collective - driven by application-specific planetary gears from the German manufacturer Neugart.

At first glance, the newly developed CMR (Collaborative Mobile Robot) by the French robotics start-up JNOV TECH looks like a somewhat oversized vacuum cleaner. But the modules, which are only about the size of a long-playing disk, can move loads of up to 8 tonnes. And not only that: several individual CMR vehicles always work together collectively to move large, complex loads. They are available in four sizes and in four performance classes with maximum loads between 1 and 8 t. Up to four vehicles can transport a load together. So if you connect four CMRs together, the total payload is up to 32 t.

The French start-up JNOV TECH is behind the mobile load robots. The company, based in Toulouse, was only founded in 2018 and now employs ten people with a turnover of €1 million in its first year on the market.

Transmission requirements

Each CMR is moved by two large drive wheels. One gearbox is used per drive wheel, so there are two per vehicle. As is the case with other Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), these transmissions have to meet very specific, high demands on design and mechanics: Since the transmission is located directly in the wheel, the entire weight of the vehicle and the load acts directly on the output bearings of the transmission, depending on the chassis principle. This results in high radial loads. In addition, the naturally tight space conditions in the vehicle require a particularly compact, space-saving design of the gearbox.

These special requirements can be excellently met with planetary gearboxes, as they combine reliability and efficiency in a small space: The proven gearbox type is characterised by a very high degree of efficiency. This reduces heat generation and increases the efficiency of the vehicle. With the NGV series, Neugart has a planetary gearbox model in its portfolio whose product features are specifically tailored for use in AGVs. The bearings play a central role: they are designed and positioned in such a way that they allow high radial loads at the output.

Gearbox solution from Neugart

The NGV was also initially considered as a possible solution when JNOV TECH first approached Neugart in search of a suitable gearbox at the beginning of 2020. At that time, JNOV TECH had already made the general decision in favour of a planetary gearbox. Tests had shown that this design is more cost-effective and powerful in the specific application than, for example, a shaft or cycloidal gearbox. "We had previously carried out a scoring with many criteria such as price level, compactness, performance, support, quality, etc. for more than ten suppliers and Neugart made the shortlist," Nicolas Dupeyron, founder and managing director of JNOV TECH, looks back.

With just a few clicks, all relevant technical data and 3D models of the NGV were at hand thanks to Neugart's configuration tool Tec Data Finder. The first product samples were available a few weeks later and ready for practical trials. It turned out that the special technical requirements of JNOV TECH in terms of a very compact design could not be met 100 percent with the NGV standard model.

So what was needed was a modification of the NGV gearbox specially tailored to the layout of the CMRs. In this case, the motor was built directly onto the gearbox without an adapter (motor direct attachment, MDA). By eliminating the motor adapter, the overall length could be reduced accordingly. In addition, the mounting concept was changed so that the gearbox could be placed even further inside the wheel body. As a result, more space is available in the vehicle to optimally accommodate the built-in lifting device and the battery.

Close cooperation

In only eleven months, JNOV TECH brought the CMR to market maturity. Almost incidentally, the decision was also made for another gearbox, namely for the lifting device of the vehicles. The ideal solution here was a standard gearbox from Neugart's Economy series, which is as reliable as it is cost-effective.

And the joint journey of JNOV TECH and Neugart is not over yet, according to the assessment of managing director Nicolas Dupeyron: "Neugart's teams have always found the best solution for our needs due to their adaptability. We are confident that Neugart will continue to be the best company to help us develop JNOV TECH in the future."