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A mini forklift robot

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This paper presents the design of a mini forklift robot that can store and pick up object to/ from specified storage slot from/ to a base using line follower and RFID. Currently, in warehouse storage systems are mainly still done in a traditional way
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  A Mini Forklift Robot S. Liawatimena, B.T. Felix, A. Nugraha, R. Evans Computer Engineering Department, Computer Science Faculty  Bina Nusantara University, 9 KH Syahdan Street. Jakarta. Indonesia. 11480 Tel: (62)21 534 5830, Fax: (62)21 530 0244  s.liawatimena@ieee.org    ,    Member, IEEE {troojan_102000, b05nanta,    Rheza.Evans}@yahoo.com  Abstract This paper presents the design of a mini forklift robot that can store and pick up object to/ from  specified storage slot from/ to a base using line follower and RFID. Currently, in warehouse storage  systems are mainly still done in a traditional way using human operator to store and pick goods into  specified location. This project is intended to construct an autonomous mini forklift robot that use  Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) technology to find the coordinates of targeted storage  slot and goods identification. The control of movement consists of DC Motor with Pulse Width  Modulation; and infrared sensors for the line follower. The programming operation was performed by C language using Visual Studio 2005, CodeVisionAVR 2.05, and SQL 2005 as database. The program on the computer can serve two purposes. Firstly, the program can check, read, write, and erase data on RFID Tags. Secondly, it can ask a mini forklift robot to store and pick goods at a specified location. The robot can recognize two sides (A and B), 128 lines, 16 columns and 16 rows cabinets. The total of  success achieved was 100% in storing goods but 58.33% in retrieving goods, because robot fails to  park correctly to the base. Keyword:    Forklift, Line Follower, Radiofrequency Identification, Robot 1. Introduction Recently Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) has become a solution in the market to identify goods (books, pallets, boxes, and vehicle), living being (such as live stock, pets, and Automated Vehicle Identification). The application of RFID robot has a good potential in the warehouse management. It will replace the manual work and forklift in arranging and storing goods. Robot will manage the goods automatically according to the database that is programmed in the robot. This will save cost and time[1]. Loh’ robot can only pick up the item and navigate to prescribed destination using line follower module to store the item at the appropriate place and location in one dimension only. The robot in this paper can put goods up to four levels cabinet. The significant potential of RFID application, especially in manufacturing logistics management, is using RFID. [2]. RFID technology has become a supporting technology in the supply chain management which plays a large role. Its application will save labor costs, improve logistics efficiency and makes effective tracking of logistics, expand the scope of sharing information resources of logistics. [3, 4, 5] RFID-based logistics management significantly improves the accuracy of real-time tracking of automated parts or goods, which automatically collect data and place different raw materials or components rapidly and accurately. A RFID robot uses line follower concept for navigation to the specified row and column shelf of a cabinet. There is an idea to create a robot with forklift arm that can lift the goods into the cabinet. 2. Methodology Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) Radio-frequency identification (RFID) is a technology that uses communication via radio waves to exchange data between a reader and an electronic tag attached to an object, for the purpose of identification and tracking. RFID works by detecting and identifying tag in the reader, and then A Mini Forklift Robot S. Liawatimena, B.T. Felix, A. Nugraha, R. EvansInternational Journal of Engineering and Industries(IJEI) Volume2, Number4, December 2011 doi : 10.4156/ijei.vol2.issue4.647  transmit the read data to the computer or the other host devices to be processed further. In general, there are some important parts in the RFID system. They are the reader, tag, and the host (controller).   Figure 1. RFID circuitry   The HF RFID Module SL030 module is used to read and write a RFID tag using 13.56MHz frequency. The Mifare ISO/IEC 14443A is used as tags. The RFID module communicates with the controller module using the I2C serial communications. Motor Driver L298 The motor driver module is using the L298N driver IC, dual full-bridge driver, which is designed to receive standard TTL level logic and drive inductive load such as relay, solenoid, and motor. Two enable inputs can activate or deactivate the device in independent way based on input signal. L298N Motor Driver has four inputs, which is used for motor controller movement, and two enable inputs used for motor state switching from on and off state. A PWM signal form with duty cycle variable is used to control the speed of motor in enabling pin. Fast switching voltage from Vs and GND will give an effective electric power between Vs and GND where the value is depended on PWM’s duty cycle. 100% duty cycle will give similar electric voltage as Vs, and 50% duty cycle is similar to 0.5Vs and so on.  Figure 2.  Motor driver schematic diagram PWM that run the motor had a variation of 30Hz to 4 KHz, depends on the DC motor type in use. The use of PWM that is not appropriate with the DC motor will make the driver too hot and the DC motor will not operate in a good condition. H-Bridge, which is designed using an optional auto-shutdown, will stop the motor directly and motor will be protected if any disturbances happened like overloaded current that cause the driver become too hot. A L298 driver can be used for two motors. A Mini Forklift Robot S. Liawatimena, B.T. Felix, A. Nugraha, R. Evans48    Figure 3.  The H-Bridge motor driver for forklift arm As shown in Figure 3, an H-Bridge forklift motor driver can supply up to 6,7 Ampere to lift goods intoa specified row [6]. Figure 4.  Height sensors schematic Height sensors are installed on the forklift beam to know whether the forklift arm has reached the specified row. Line Follower Figure 5.  The line follower block diagram A Mini Forklift Robot S. Liawatimena, B.T. Felix, A. Nugraha, R. Evans49  A line Followers is a technique, which is used to follow a groove. A guideline can be a black line on a white surface (or in the contrary) or an unseen magnetic field. This method works by detecting a line to control robot maneuver to keep it on its position, and constantly correcting any wrong movement with feedback like a simple effective closed loop system.   Hardware Design Hardware design in this system is composed into two sections where the first is used for the robot and the second is used for control RFID from PC. The two batteries are with the same voltage value (12, 4V), which are used in the robot. That battery has a current value of 5Ah and it is functioned as the  power supply for every motor in the robot like the motor on the forklift and the motor on the right and left wheels of the robot. While the battery with the current value of 2.2Ah is used as power supply for robot’s modules. The RFID_PC module used adaptor 9V/1A. Figure 6.  The mini forklift robot block diagram The robot is using AVR AT Mega 8535 to process all of its movement. The robot can communicate with PC by using RS-232 bus, so it needs MAX232 IC to make voltage conversion from TTL to RS-232 and the opposite. The Robot also has RFID as stuff sensor to communicate with the RFID, which used I2C bus. The robot can also detects line follower sensor and height sensor on the forklift beam. Therefore, it uses DC motor as its actuator to moving around. There are three motors such as: left wheel, right wheel, and forklift arm lifter. It is also equipped with LCD module for showing any errors message that happened to the robot. An instruction is given from a Personal Computer (PC) to the AVR through serial communication on RS-232 bus, which is converted by MAX232 to TTL level voltage [7]. The AVR will do accordingly as instructed to check, read, write, or erase the tag’s contents by using RFID module controlled by I2C bus. Software design Software design steps were divided into three different programs, where every program is executed on PC, RFID_PC module, and AVR module on Robot [8]. Every program had its special function. The  program on PC is functioned as the bridge user between robot and the RFID tag. The Program uses the Visual Studio 2005 programming language, because of its complete function and user friendly. Besides A Mini Forklift Robot S. Liawatimena, B.T. Felix, A. Nugraha, R. Evans50  using the Visual Studio 2005, the also use SQL 2005 as the database program [9]. The databases that will be saved are database from goods that is saved in the cabinet, along with the status of its delivery or withdrawal. Figure 7. The main program on PC In general, the program on PC functions as the bridge between the RFID module and the robot. The  program on PC has five commands that can be accessed by the user, which is divided into two options: for RFID module and for Robot. Commands inside RFID module option are to detect tag availability nearby, to read data inside the tag, to write data on the tag, and to erase data on the tag. The commands inside robot option are for placing or picking the goods. All commands will resulted in the response status of the process that has been executed, which will be send to PC by the UART bus. (a)   Robot Controller Screen (b)Forklift Controller Screen Figure 8.  Graphical User Interfaces on the PC A Mini Forklift Robot S. Liawatimena, B.T. Felix, A. Nugraha, R. Evans51
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