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The Industrial Equipment Design Centre (CDEI UPC) has developed a new system for omnidirectional movement based on standard wheels. A specific mechanical and kinematic configuration allows 360º rotation, notably reduces repositioning time, and provides maximum flexibility to manoeuvre without restrictions at a lower cost than the omnidirectional wheels that are currently on the market.

The prototype that has been designed can move forwards, backwards, sideways and diagonally, with independent rotation and great accuracy. It facilitates movement in small spaces and spaces with obstacles. In addition, the capacity to interact with other machines or environments (industrial plants, autonomous vehicles) can be integrated for complex logistics management.

This innovative technology enables movement over any kind of ground without causing damage. No prior adjustments are required, unlike current versions of mecanum, spherical, or special wheels. Due to the low contact pressure between wheel and ground, the movement is smooth, without vibrations, so that loads can be moved safely and reliably.

The system is more cost competitive than omnidirectional wheels due to the simplicity of the design (it has few parts and therefore less need for maintenance), the low cost of standard wheels (which, in turn, have a lower maintenance costs), and the fact that the ground does not need to be prepared for movement of the platform.

The new module has no weight or volume limits as it is a modular system. Therefore, it has a range of applications, including internal transport of medium loads (between 500 kg and 2 Tn) in automated processes of industrial production or storage (palletized loads with rollers, modular shelves, etc.), the transport of special loads of large volume or weight (10-20 Tn), which require a highly manoeuvrable vehicle (automobile moulds, aeroplane parts, large machinery, special transport, etc.), transport of small and medium-sized loads in an environment shared with people (offices, hospitals, shops, or public spaces), last-mile transportation, robotics, or more specific applications such as wheelchairs, toys, 4x4 or leisure vehicles, among others.

The system has been patented by the CDEI UPC.

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