Labor shortages often force companies to operate with fewer people. In a response to labor shortages, many manufacturers are embracing the values of lean manufacturing, including removing non-value added activities.
The handling of materials leftover in the manufacturing process is one of these non-value added activities.
Extraneous material can acquire from product returns, packing processes, and especially manufacturing processes. This material is often handled manually by dedicated employees who remove recycling and trash to the waste collection areas.
In a market constrained by labor, this is one process that can be automated so that workers can be redeployed for higher value tasks.
As part of a joint investment with its client, IKEA, FM Logistics has just implemented an autonomous MiR500 robot, which will improve logistics processes in the warehouse in Jarosty, Poland. The client wanted innovative and flexible technology that can be freely configured and used in everyday warehouse operations.
The MiR500 robot will cooperate with warehouse employees in transport of pallets and other loads up to 500 kg. The main concept is to relieve employees of unproductive activities, improve worker safety and optimize warehouse costs. The AMR moves used packaging 24/7, six days a week at FM Logistics.
Alexander Damie, Innovation and Process Manager, FM Logistic Central Europe, explains: “In order to build a competitive advantage of the company and our clients, we invest in innovative solutions that are flexible, easy to use and therefore cost effective. Mobile Industrial Robots’ technology is much cheaper in use than the competing concept of AGV trucks. In this particular case, it is a solution more than two times cheaper than an AGV”.
The machine will work independently at the IKEA Distribution Centre in Jarosty. Currently, warehouse employees and persons who will supervise the robot receive training, and within a few weeks the MiR500 will work fully independently 24/7.