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29.01.2018 Screw conveyor manufacturer installs transport robot

Van Beek, Drunen, the Netherlands, operates a manufacturing plant comprising 15 workstations located in two large production halls, each 120m long and 40m wide. The decision was taken last year to acquire an MiR 100 transport robot capable of carrying loads of up to 100kg as well as being able to pull up to 300kg. The vehicle has a speed of 5.4km/h and can cover 20km on a single charge – allowing it to keep on the move for a whole working day. The MiR can identify its surroundings independently by means of a 3D-camera, zone scanners and ultrasound sensors. This means there was no need to make any changes to the factory layout.
 
Initially there were some teething problems. For example, the robot sometimes confused pipes along the aisle with a wall, so it would stop and not know which way to go. It could also lose its way owing to low sun or spots of water on the factory floor. These problems were solved by adjusting the sensors and scanners. 
 
Previously a lot of time was wasted by staff having to walk the distance between the workstations and the stores – up to 560 hours walking a year, including interruption times. The robot has now been operating for the past couple of months, fetching parts from the central stores and taking them to the lathes and turning shop, carrying transport documents from the office to the logistics counter, and transporting screw conveyor components between the different workstations.
 
A post box service has been programmed into the robot so that it travels automatically from one workstation to another. There is a touchscreen on each work bench. Employees can use this to call the robot, which is connected to the Wi-Fi network. It then interrupts its post box service to go to the relevant workstation. The employee can place the item that needs to be delivered and tick the name of the recipient on the touchscreen. 
 
Van Beek already has an extensive ERP system that carries out many operations automatically. One idea is to have this system send the robot a signal when transport documents are created. It can then come and fetch these immediately and take them to the workstation. It is expected that with the help of the ERP system, the robot will soon be able to take over a lot of additional operations. www.van-beek.nl 
 
 
The MiR 100 transport robot fulfils a multitude of tasks at Van Beek’s factory

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