Formest clothes Polytec Intralogistics’ AGVs


Mobile robots are smart devices that move completely autonomously within limited spaces and perform numerous tasks, including handling goods and fulfilling orders. 

Thanks to the use of sensors, digital mapping software, and artificial intelligence, robots know their position in space and the sequence of actions to be performed, as well as the route to be followed. The various types of AMRs (Autonomous Mobile Robots) include those for “man-to-goods” or “goods-to-man” picking, as well as sorting robots. 

The design of an AMR has to consider the people who inhabit the workplaces and the possible ways of interaction: it is not an operator who governs a static machine, but a context in which a machine moves and interacts with human beings in a dynamic way. 

Polytec Intralogistics develops both the mechatronic design and the guidance system internally. In order to meet the customer’s requirements, systems are extensively customised in mechanics as well as in technology. The design of the casing, which is the cover that protects the heart of the machine, requires specific expertise. Formest, a company based in Padua (Italy) and specialised in the manufacture of safety guards for industrial machinery, was engaged to give robots a “touch of design”.  

“Right from the very beginning, a lively dialogue was created, an exchange of knowledge that resulted in the perfect ‘fit’ between protection and technology”, comments Rita Salmaso, HR and Communication manager at Formest. “A special understanding arose with the customer, Polytec Intralogistics, dictated by the strong passion that both teams have. With our protections, we give meaning to objects, and for this reason, it is important to fully understand the contexts in which they will integrate. Thanks to a generous, open, and comprehensive dialogue, we managed to study an innovative design, not only protective but also capable of facilitating the interaction between man and machine”.

“In Formest, we found the partner we were looking for,” comments Fabiano Zenatti, CEO of Polytec Intralogistics. “Realising the solution that best meets the customer’s needs means developing tailor-made software and hardware for complete customisation. Through a careful choice of materials, shapes, and colours, we design the casing so that it is agile and beautiful. We are convinced that aesthetics can enhance the working environment and improve human-machine collaboration. Working together with people who have expertise in design and who understand our sensitivity to these issues further qualifies our market positioning. We always enjoy reporting the anecdotes we collect from customers. It is actually common to give the mobile robot a name and joke around with it.”

Emanuele Salmaso, Design area manager and senior mechanical designer at Formest, explains the choice of distinctive elements: “Polytec Intralogistics’ desire to foster as much as possible the collaboration between AMRs and operators inspired us to study a design that would give the robot a cheerful look: the zoomorphic expression makes it a friendly presence for operators and improves human-machine interaction”.

These days, mobile robotics can be integrated into all those sectors that require internal handling, from automotive to pharmaceuticals, from manufacturing to warehousing. The growth of e-commerce will also lead to an increase in AMRs in logistics hubs. Polytec Intralogistics, like all BM Group companies, has ambitious goals for the near future.

Voyager 50, the result of this beautiful “Made in Italy” collaboration between Polytec Intralogistics and Formest, is now a candidate for the ADI Design Index 2023, a competition that showcases the best of Italian design.

Video interview