Rocla celebrates its 30 years of AGV solutions

Rocla has developed and manufactured AGV (automated guided vehicle) solutions since 1983. First AGV, innovated by young engineers at Rocla, was designed and manufactured for Kone Corporation in Finland. Today Rocla is one of the leading providers of automated solutions with more than 7000 vehicles delivered in more than 1000 automation projects. Product range is wide: the smallest vehicles have been less than 30 cm in height, and the biggest ones about 12 meters long.

After the first successful AGV project Rocla’s new vehicles helped to build also Talbot cars manufactured in auto factory in Finland. In the 1980s many vehicles were also delivered to Sweden, and by 1990s export of Rocla’s automated solutions had expanded to other European countries. AGV business unit was called Rocla Robotruck with many dedicated automation experts.

First AGVs used wire navigation, whereas in the 1990s laser guided vehicles started to appear. Laser navigation is easier to install and update with no need to cut the floor. Nowadays laser navigation is the most common navigation method used in AGVs. The smallest vehicles, less than 30 cm in height, were delivered in the late 90s to the Netherlands for mushroom plantation. During those days also the biggest vehicles so far, more than 12 meters long, were shipped to CERN nuclear research laboratory for particle accelerators in Switzerland.

In the beginning of the new century a major contract with Tetra Pak packaging company was made.  More than 80 automated vehicles were delivered to eight factories in Europe and Japan. Today, when these vehicles have been in use for more than a decade a retrofit project has been started on-site to update the technology side of the automation system. Updating the current system is a cost-efficient way to ensure the automation system will also run for the next ten years.   

Rocla’s biggest AGV so far, more than 12 meters long vehicle is in use at CERN laboratory.

New way of thinking

In 2007 Rocla launched the world’s first serially manufactured, fully modular automated guided vehicle, AWT. These vehicles use standard tractor units with modular load handling, mast, and support structure options tailored to various customer needs. In 2010 this family grew with ATX, automated truck for pallet handling and order picking. With ATX Rocla made it easy to automate just a part of the process also in smaller application environments. 

Rocla’s current AGV models are modular and flexible to meet different customer needs.
Traditionally AGVs have been tailor-made with long delivery time, fixed system and very high costs. Rocla AGVs are a durable, flexible, and modular solution with short delivery and ROI times and lower life-cycle costs. Also, AGVs can easily be updated and modified if needed. Rocla’s AGV system can also be leased, leaving no capital tied up in investments. In addition to AGVs Rocla offers warehouse management system and all the supporting services for automated warehouses, factories and production.

Rocla’s unique approach to automation has also been awarded in international design competitions. In 2008 Rocla won the AGVS Award and in 2009 the new vehicles were honored in Fennia Prize competition. 

Rocla celebrates its 30 years of automation solutions stronger than ever. Rocla’s history as a way-maker in designing and manufacturing warehouse trucks goes back even further to 1942, when the company was founded. Today Finland-based Rocla is part of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries group, who has appointed Rocla as a global design center. Rocla’s global presence and strong emphasis on R&D and industrial design boost also the competitive edge of Rocla’s automated solutions.