This paper describes the features and performance of a mobile robot carried out for the application in the small-sized industry, capable of ranging within a production department using a wireless navigation system.
The reasons that have led to the development, of this mobile robot, at the laboratory of the Institute of Mechanical Technology of the University of Pisa, are discussed: In particular, this vehicle represents the material transport and handling unit of some experimental manufacturing cells developed in order to test new technologies and strategies to be used in a small-sized automated factory. On this puipose, the following cells are developed and briefly described: blank part preparation cell, machining cell, dimensional inspection cell and assembly cell. The solutions adopted for the definition of the main structure of the mobile robot and the workstations installed in each cell are described in detail. Particular emphasis has been given to the description of the navigation system, which is fundamentally based on the use of optical sensors on board the mobile robot and laser emitters, placed in the working area, that define the routes.