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The global automotive industry automates internal logistics with mobile robots

The global automotive industry has discovered the Danish company Mobile Industrial Robots’ autonomous robots for transportation, that makes workflows in the production and logistics more efficient and enables the employees to focus on more productive tasks compared to routine transportation of components.

Almost 25% of every sold MiR robot goes to the automotive industry, and according to the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) the use of AMRs in the automotive industry is a clear tendency. The automotive industry is clearly leading the installation numbers of AMRs as they are using mobile robots as part of their lean and agile manufacturing environments, states IFR in their annual report for 2019.  

“We see a tremendous potential in automating our internal logistics. We continuously adapt the interior of our fabrics in order to be able to produce a large, varied mix of smaller batch sizes. This is supported by our intralogistic systems and that requires a high degree of flexibility. This is something that MiR offers. Their autonomous mobile robots do not need to be guided by magnetic strips but instead they navigate by internal maps, which are easy to update,” says Eric Moreau, VP Supply Chain & Digital Enterprise at Faurecia Clean Mobility Business Group, one of the worlds’ largest manufacturers of auto parts. His claim is supported by a representative from an automotive OEM, namely, the head of communications at FORD, Spain, Pepe Pérez, who states:

“We are proud to be using MiR’s corporative mobile robots for internal distribution of materials and thereby having one of
the most innovative factories in Europe. This makes us more efficient in our logistics. “

For Visteon, another of the world’s largest part manufacturers for the automotive industry, including distribution to companies as Volkswagen, Skoda Auto, BMW, Ford and Citroën, MiR’s logistics solution offers three main advantages. Firstly, it is flexible because it is possible to use the same type of robot for different applications within many different areas of production, without having to change the existing processes. Secondly, it is fast to implement due to the user-friendly interface. All applications are operated via a functional graphical user interface and through this the robots can be programmed without previous experience.

The third advantage is the economic aspect:

“When we invest in new technology here at Visteon, the most important thing is the bottom line. Our company has one main rule which states that the return on investment must be within one year. MiR meets this demand. We look forward to a joint future with more MiR applications,” Richard Čiernik, Industrial Engineer Manager hos Visteon Electronics Slovakia, concludes. Like Faurecia, Visteon is one of the companies that has a global agreement with MiR and uses MiR as their global standard. Therefore, they have already installed robots at nine different sites all over the world.

“At MiR we see a large potential in the automotive industry that takes progress within autonomous technology in use faster than any other industry. The interior design of production facilities that exists today is agile and very dynamic. People, equipment, pallets, and other obstacles can appear in areas that used to be open passages. Our mobile robots fit well into these surroundings that are in constant change. Thanks to the autonomous and collaborative navigation of our robots, the automated transport of materials becomes flexible and easy to adapt to without any additional costs or process stops,” Thomas Visti CEO at MiR states.

Bob Doyle, leader of The Robotics Industry Association Association (https://www.robotics.org/) and The Association for Advancing Automation (https://www.a3automate.org/) agrees.

“The automotive industry as well as many other industries are increasingly shifting towards the use of mobile robots to gain competitive advantages in the production and supply chain. Mobile robotics technology has made it easier to automatize internal transportation of materials and objects without additional costs or production shutdown at the same as increasing employee safety at the workplace,” Bob Doyle, Vice President, RIA., states.

Taking over monotone and fatiguing work

The mobile robots from MiR typically take over the monotone work of goods transportation between production lines and warehouse and thereby increasing the efficiency.

“Our MiR robots transport material from the warehouse to the mounting line where the parts are to be used. Here it disconnects its loaded truck and takes an empty back to the warehouse before the robot returns to its waiting position. On average, each robot travels 11 kilometers a day - a stretch for which employees are now spared. It helps sharpen the focus on productive working hours and strengthens the company's research and development,” explains Franz Scheibe, team leader in the assembly area at NIDEC Auengrund, part of the NIDEC Group, a leader in the world market for small engines.

“With the product launch of MiR1000 in April and MiR500 last year we underline our position as international market leader within autonomous mobile robots. We are very proud that the automotive industry agrees with that,” Thomas Visti concludes.

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