Daihen Corp. shipped a wireless power transfer system for automatic guided vehicles using WiTricity’s wireless power over distance technology.

In particular, Daihen’s D-Broad autonomous charging technology shows the capability of WiTricity’s magnetic resonance technology to facilitate factory automation. The 5 kilogram power transmitting unit is rated for input power of 4kW and rated input voltage of AC 200 V.

Automatic guided vehicles (AGVs) move through factory floors on their own using on-board navigation as opposed to fixed underground wire guidance, but finding a way to work charging into the robot’s route can be a significant pain point. Instead of requiring charging connectors and cables, the Daihen system designed to manage a factory robot that can charge on the go. With this method, neither docking stations nor power rails need to be installed.

Daihen itself has a materials handling robot called the AI Transfer Robot, which runs using D-Broad and can charge without docking using a charging pad mounted to the front of its body.

Image credit: Daihen

“To be effective in factories, AGVs need to operate as efficiently and flexibly as possible – and that means working without interruption,” Ryohei Tanaka, General Manager/Chief Engineer, Research and Development Division at Daihen, said in a press release. “We aim to expedite factory processes and reduce running costs by delivering wireless power transfer systems that enable automatic re-charging.”

The AI Transfer Robot AGV will be available directly and on an OEM basis in spring 2017.