Advanced Robotics Working Group Overview – August 1, 2019

Catalyst Connection held a meeting of the SWPA Advanced Robotics Working Group on August 1 at Catalyst’s offices in Pittsburgh, PA.  The session, with nearly 30 attendees, had a wide cross section of manufacturers (10 unique companies represented!), product and service providers, and other regional development groups.  The session focused on autonomous mobile robots with an overview presented by Matt Minner of Catalyst Connection and an Implementation Journey shared by Chris Adams of Siemens.  Additionally, Tim Walborn of PHD presented a great overview on gripper technology, including a sneak-peak at newly developed gripper “fingers”. 

Key takeaways from the session include:

  • Did you know that AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robot) and AGV (Automated Guided Vehicle) are not synonymous?  AGV units have a fixed route and typically lack the intelligence to navigate safely around obstacles.  However (as we learned during the discussion), there are hybrid solutions coming out the combine the simplicity of an AGV with the increased capabilities of AMR units.

  • When selecting a vendor, be conscious of all the benefits and risks of working with an established provider vs. a startup/early-stage company.  Many variables come into play that could compromise your project.
  • Prioritize vendors who are local or at least have a local presence.
  • Next generation articulating tooling provides flexibility to pick a wide range of object shapes and sizes without changing tools.

In case you missed the session, we have a video Chris’ presentation posted to the Catalyst Connection YouTube page:  Siemens AMR Implementation Journey

To join or learn more about the SWPA Advanced Robotics working group, please visit the Catalyst Connection AR webpage or contact Matt Minner at