Strategic collaboration to optimise internal logistics

11th January 2019
Alex Lynn

A collaboration has been announced by Mobile Industrial Robots, with Faurecia, to deploy AMRs in manufacturing plants worldwide to take the company’s automation to a new level. Faurecia has investigated and tested different solutions for automating its inhouse transportation for years in order to optimise productivity and internal workflows and hereby gain competitive advantages.

The company has now partnered with MiR to rethink the internal logistics in Faurecia’s production sites globally and make their logistics processes more efficient via flexible, autonomous mobile robots.

Eric Moreau, VP Supply Chain & Digital Enterprise, Faurecia Clean Mobility Business Group, stated: “We have entered into this strategic partnership with MiR because it has the capacity and extensive knowledge to support us in streamlining and optimising our logistics operations. MiR already has a proven technology, and many of the worlds’ largest multinational companies are using its robots to increase logistics efficiency. We generally have a high level of automation, but material handling has until now been a challenge, and we see a huge potential in automating logistics.

“We are continuously adjusting our facility layouts to meet the demand for a high number of smaller batch sizes in our production. This needs to be supported by our intralogistics systems, and that requires a high level of flexibility. This is offered by MiR, since its autonomous mobile robots do not need any guidance to navigate other than their own internal map that can easily be updated.”

MiR offers a range of collaborative and autonomous mobile robots that are designed to work alongside their human colleagues, to relieve them from physically strenuous work and to redeploy them for more valuable tasks. The mobile robots are extremely user-friendly and can be operated without prior programming experience. The employees can easily interact with the robots via a robot interface that can be accessed via smartphone, tablet, or personal computer, and send them on their missions with a push of a button. The simple operation results in easy deployment and low total cost of ownership.

The robots from MiR can be customised with different top modules depending on the customers’ need. The versatility of the robots is another reason why Faurecia chose to collaborate with MiR.

“The mobile robots from MiR have the ability to not just transport goods but also to combine other process steps such as loading and unloading in order to increase the overall efficiency of an entire production line,” Moreau added. “The mobile cobots are extremely flexible, and we have already identified several different applications where the mobile robots from MiR can take over the monotonous task of transporting goods both within the production lines and between production and warehouse and thereby drive efficiencies.”

The latest figures from International Federations of Robotics (IFR) show how Faurecia is not the only company that sees the potential in automating its internal transportation. Sixty-three percent of the total service robots for professional use that were sold in 2017 were logistics robots, and IFR expects the sales of logistics robots to increase to about 600,000 units between 2018 and 2021.

Thomas Visti, CEO of MiR, stated: “We are pleased to enter into this collaboration and contribute to Faurecia achieving their productivity goals by deploying our flexible, collaborative and safe mobile robots. In general, we see a great potential in the automotive industry, which is adopting advances in autonomous technology more rapidly than most other industries.

“The plant setups of today are agile and highly dynamic, and people, equipment, pallets and other obstacles can appear in what used to be open passageways. Our mobile robots fit these ever-changing environments particularly well. With the collaborative, autonomous navigation of our robots, the automated material transportation becomes flexible and easily adaptable without additional cost or disruption to processes.”

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