As the only Tier 1 supplier exclusively dedicated to cabin electronics, and with the broadest product portfolio in this segment, Visteon is in an unrivaled position to meet the needs of automobile manufacturers of smart digital cabins for electric and automatic vehicles. The company’s mission is to guarantee that drivers and passengers can interact easily, efficiently and safely with a vehicle’s sophisticated technology. To stay competitive in a fast-changing market, Visteon is constantly looking automate its workflow. For example, Visteon faced numerous challenges with its internal logistics as its employees manually transported raw materials from the warehouse to the production lines and returned with finished products. This undermined productivity, increased the risk of physical injuries and slowed transportation times. To overcome these challenges, the company looked for an automated, traceable, autonomous, flexible and scalable solution that could work through three continuous shifts and could automatically link the warehouse area with the production. Moreover, Visteon needed a system that could support the personnel operating inside the facilities, since their work was negatively affected by the manual processes that resulted in long transportation times and physical risks associated with pushing heavy carts.
Significant time savings with autonomous navigation
Visteon decided to implement a fleet of seven MiR100 robots from Mobile Industrial Robots, the global market leader of AMRs. With these collaborative robots, Visteon aimed to improe and expand the autonomy of the company's internal logistics, facilitatethe remote control of the mobile robots, while being able to trace the delivery of material and overall increase increase staff productivity.
Six of the mobile robots are now constantly on the move between the warehouse and production, while one robot automatically picks up and delivers electronic component reels to and from the SMT machines. Visteon can constently monitor the AMRs, which increases the efficiency of the internal material transportation.
“With the addition of innovative MiR technologies, we’ve improved the functioning and operability of the production plant by connecting our production and storage areas to transport our products and raw materials,” said Arturo Robledo Ulloa, plant manager, Visteon Reynosa. “In addition, these robots enable our workers to be more productive as they focus on tasks that provide greater value for the company."
One MIR100 robot can deliver materials to three production lines singlehandedly, and and this automated and autonomous transportation has significantly increased the factory’s productivity. “All of our robots are working three shifts a day, so the robots have hugely increased our capacity,” Ulloa added.
User-friendly fleet management system supports traceability and simplification of processes
Visteon’s operational team is responsible for assembling and reviewing plant activity. They record the finished products and coordinate the transportation. The entire operation is coordinated from the monitoring center, tracking the mobile robots through the user-friendly management software, MiRFleet.
“The communication the robots use is very simple,” said Julián Méndez Guerrero, Automatization Engineer of Visteon. “With MiRFleet, we can keep accurate track of all the robots and their tasks from one command screen at all times. The robots can even communicate with each other to guarantee the most efficient delivery routes.”
Via MiRFleet, all robotic information is concentrated in a single system, which simplifies the internal transportation and the work with the robots. The real-time monitoring enables Visteon to keep track of their components and ensure on-time deliveries of the right materials from the warehouse to production.
Improved work environment thanks to collaborative and safe operation
At Visteon, the mobile robots are contributing to a better work environment by taking over the heavy lifting from the employees and saving them many steps – and wasted time - each day. The robots drive completely autonomously and avoid all obstacles on their routes, including people and other robots. The robots are therefore able to navigate in the same workspace as the employees. Fortunately, due to the tasks that the robots have taken over, Visteon’s employeess have come to see the robots as their colleagues.
MiR is an open source system that allows customers to develop solutions that are customized for their needs. Consequently, Visteon developed its own interface for the robots, one that allows employees to summon a robot with a single push on a button at the kiosk lines, making the robots especially easy to work with for the employees.