Unlocking the Value of Autonomous Robots in Manufacturing

 

Manufacturing material movement is a great fit for autonomous mobile robot technologies. Why Autonomous Mobile Robots in Manufacturing breaks down the five key use cases and lays out how robots improve workflows. We cover the top four AMR value propositions and discuss the most crucial capabilities you should look for when evaluating robots for real impact in your manufacturing environment.

All that in just five minutes!

See previous episodes: Click Here!

See Forbes Article about NextShift Robotics: Link to Article!

Transcript of Video below:

Slide 1 – AMRs in Manufacturing

Visual – Podcast cover art.

Hello, and welcome to “Discovering the Secrets of Autonomous Robots.”  This is a series of short video takes on hot topics in the emerging world of Autonomous Mobile Robotics for materials handling.

Let’s look at the question we’ll address in today’s session:

Slide 2 – Why Robots for manufacturing?

Visual = text scroll/appear

The following are the 5 use cases we are seeing Autonomous Mobile Robots being deployed in, and making a difference in, in manufacturing:

  1. Autonomous material movement between machines or work cells
  2. Picking and delivering kits and assembly components from the stockroom to their point of use
  3. Delivering inventory, consumables and tools to a remanufacturing, maintenance or service point
  4. Clearing waste and packaging from work areas to collection points.
  5. Picking and delivering inventory and consumables from a central stocking point or “supermarket” to point of use?

Slide 3 – What is the typical workflow in manufacturing?

Visual = some sort of flow for this with a “!” on each signal point – like my ppt.

First we need a way to trigger the move, A production control system or manual trigger starts the process.

Worker picks inventory to a CONTAINER at a source location.

The robot retrieves the container unassisted and delivers it to point of use, a work cell or work point.

The robot then retrieves an empty container and the process repeats

Slide 4 – Why do you care?  What is the benefit?

Visual = infographic type slide

There are 4 hard value points that are achieved by deploying these robotic workflows:

  1. Worker Efficiency: Unassisted robot retrieval eliminates worker travel time, making workers available for more highly value added tasks. More value added work can be completed by fewer workers
  2. Material velocity: Robots ability to efficiently move single containers on-demand to point of use eliminates need for inventory and time buffers in process.
  3. Process Quality: Robots standardize the workflow and remove the majority of worker touches thereby increasing the quality of the process.
  4. Flexibility: Robots are available, on demand 24 X 7 and can be easily re-tasked for alternate workflows or flexed up / down for volume changes.

Slide 5 – Specific capabilities to look for:

What are the value differentiators manufacturing execs have learned to look for when considering and evaluating alternative AMR solutions?  (In this case I’ll cite the NextShift robotics solution, but you can generalize to similar autonomous robotic capabilities in your environment.)

  1. People-first Collaboration. Robots must operate around people and obstacles safely. The good news is that today’s real time obstacle avoidance systems offer a smart combination of LIDAR, Camera vision systems and odometry that allow AMRs to safely operate in the same space as workers.

Robot stopping for human

  1. Uneven and imperfect surfaces are found in most manufacturing environments. Robots should be as unfazed by this as the people they work with. Climbing ramps between work areas should also pose no issues.

Robot climbing ramp

  1. Grab and Go. The ability to pick up and put down a container is a must-have ability for AMRs in manufacturing use cases and workflows. And, wherever source and drop locations are at different heights, the AMRS should have variable lift capabilities. This automates workflows and frees the workers to operate completely independently.

Robot picking up tote and putting down

  1. Easy Button. 2 things here. First, The AMR platform must be flexible enough to mechanically interface with your production equipment and adapt to any specialized tooling or fixtures you may have. Second, the robotic system must have the ability to easily communicate with your existing MES and other systems to send and receive operating information.

Robot suction gripper

Slide 6 – Conclusion – Call to action

Visual – clickable link contact information

So to sum it up, Autonomous Mobile Robotic workflows hold a significant promise for manufacturing operations.  Adopting these robotic workflows provides excellent throughput, efficiency and quality. Savvy manufacturing executives are adopting these solutions to stay competitive in the digital age.

Slide – Logo and links

Thanks for listening and watching. If you’d like to learn more about autonomous mobile robots in your environment, please contact me!

crussell@nextshiftrobotics.com