I had the opportunity to sit down with Ed Mullen, VP of Sales - Americas for Mobile Industrial Robotics (MiR). We discussed the current state of MiR’s mobile robot business and the incredible growth that MiR has seen in their business this past year.
A lot has happened since the Teredyne acquisition in April, 2018. Since that time, MiR has been working primarily on expanding the breadth of their product line. At Automatica in June 2018, MiR prereleased the MiR 500. The MiR 500 is capable of transporting up to 500kg payloads. Since the June announcement, MiR has been busy redesigning the hardware, ramping up their manufacturing practices and designing their solutions for high volume production. Changes to existing products include a cast (rather than assembled) robot frame which leads to faster buildups.
MiR expects the MiR 500 to be deployed primarily in pallet moving applications. They have designed several “top modules" which will be available to enable various applications. The modules can be attached to the top of the robot. This includes lift capabilities to be able to pick up and reposition a load at a different height.
The official release for the MiR 500 is at the IMTS 2018 show this week, and they expect to ship the first vehicles by the end of September, 2018.
MiR recently put up an online showroom where you can see the latest vehicle configurations being deployed at customer sites.
A heavy Duty Platform
The MiR 500 has a metallic base, and includes the latest SICK scanners, which provides a finer view of the environment. The MiR 500 also includes two cameras, rather than one, to image the front of the vehicle. In addition, there are 6 LIDAR proximity sensors in each corner of the vehicle to help identify obstacles around the vehicle. The MiR platform has an integrated multi sensor planning algorithm integrates all of the sensing technology to make the vehicle safe to operate around humans.
The MiR 500 also includes new lighting features on the vehicle, including brake lights, and turn indicators which enable an operator to view the robots intentions from a distance.
MiR Expands its distribution channels
2018 has been another year of growth and expansion for MiR. This year they have opened an office in San Diego, for a west coast sales team. In addition, they have added two people in Mexico, Latin America and Brazil. They have expanded their distribution channel in North America and added 5 more distributors in South and Latin America. The Americas region remains the largest market for MiR with 25% of their business. The America’s and Asia are their highest growth regions.
“Automating internal transport with mobile robots is proving to be a key element for manufacturers to optimize production and increase competitiveness,” said Mullen. “This is especially true within multinational corporations that have successfully tested our robots within a few facilities and now want to optimize their internal transportation throughout their plants worldwide." “We are seeing growth in multiple sector including: farming, food production, semiconductor, and material handling. That's the real excitement in this product"
MiR is exhibiting at the IMTS show this week (Sept 10-15, 2018) at McCormick Center in Chicago. At the show this week, there are several product demonstrations in the booth:
- The new MiR500, with a lifting capacity of 500 kg (1102 lbs), which is designed to transport pallets in manufacturing floors and warehouses, and can automatically collect, transport and deliver pallets with speeds of 2 miles per hour.
- The MiR200 with a Universal Robots UR5 robot arm and OnRobot RG2 gripper, which demonstrates how the robots can pick up, autonomously transport and deliver circuit boards, allowing the UR5 to service multiple work stations. To meet the task’s precise requirements, the MiR200 connects to a docking station built into a stationary table.
- The MiR200 with a MiRHook, which can tow carts weighing up to 500 kg (1102 lbs).