Autonomous mobile robots (AMR – article link here) are one of the most promising technologies in the logistics sector. They attract the attention of logistics managers in a multitude of sectors (Industry, Health establishments, Establishments open to the public).
AMRs are known for their ability to improve the efficiency and productivity of logistics transport operations.
There are more and more autonomous mobile robotic solutions on the market. It is therefore important to ask yourself the right questions in order to maximize your R.O.I. :
Identify your logistics flows and production steps. Identify all the missions that will be assigned to the robot(s): Type of mission? At what cadence? To meet what need? Determine what types of loads you want to transport and for what weight? These questions are essential in order to properly begin the study of your needs in mobile robotics.
What is the load that the robot can carry and the size of its containers?
When considering buying an AMR, don’t just look at the maximum speed, ask for the average speed and speed distribution for representative workflows. It is not enough to quickly move a large amount of material. You should minimize the time of service interruption. (Important: In order to comply with safety standards, the speed will have to adapt to the constraints of the environment in which the robots will operate.)
For example, the Mw² middleware (link to article) proposed by Meanwhile allows AMRs to evolve on several floors, taking the elevators. When the robot’s route requires taking an elevator, Mw² will control it to ensure that the robot arrives at the right floor. Depending on customer needs, elevator control can be adapted to different communication protocols.
It is essential to promote solutions that communicate with the existing environment in order to minimize integration costs, while facilitating the use of autonomous mobile robots. This will facilitate change management.
Example: Meanwhile has developed a device called Omnibox, allowing simple and almost transparent interfacing between mobile robots, existing machines (elevators, automatic doors, production machines, etc.) and other work environment equipment ( conveyors, warning light systems, etc.) and thus simplifying the implementation of the mobile robotics solution.
Are they CE certified? Do they comply with the ISO 3691-4 standard?
At Meanwhile, the safety of autonomous mobile robots is a top priority. All of our mobile robots have been designed in compliance with the standards mentioned, as well as the procedure for implementing the solutions. During the design, we anticipate possible risks related to safety in a global way, obviously through an ergonomic design. Our robots are equipped with functionalities ensuring safety such as: sensors, vertical lasers, emergency stop button, manual movement buttons, etc.
In addition to mission management, Mw² makes it possible to log a certain amount of data on the mobile robotic solution (missions, alarms, data samples from robots over time). This data can be viewed on a web interface, which allows it to be sorted, filtered, or consulted with statistics drawn from it, in order to analyze the performance of the Meanwhile solution. It is also possible to export this data in order to manipulate it on another tool.
Are you able to do quick troubleshooting? If your infrastructure changes, do you have the possibility to adjust the trajectories of the robots?
Meanwhile offers you to train your teams in the use of its mobile robotic solutions. These trainings aim to make you gain in autonomy, productivity and will allow you to use your mobile robots in an optimal way.
– Is it manual or does the AMR load itself?
– Does the fleet management system coordinate charging for you without your operators having to do anything?
– Is the robot fleet able to maintain 24/7 availability?
Autonomous mobile robots are able to compensate for their own failures. Unlike a traditional industrial machine which, if it breaks down, blocks the production line. In other words, if I have a mobile robot that breaks down my deliveries will not be penalized. Indeed, it is the other mobile robots that will come to replace it.
Example: Imagine that in a fleet of 10 robots, there is a robot that breaks down. Each robot has an autonomy of 10 hours. The fleet will then become under capacity by 10%, that is to say that for 4 days the robot fleet will continue to work without stopping production. Meanwhile, the maintenance team can intervene on the robot failure.
However, if a maintenance contract has been signed with Meanwhile, the assistance and maintenance of your solutions is guaranteed. The contract is customizable and its subscription allows you to benefit from the responsiveness of on-site intervention and preferential rates on corrective interventions and spare parts.
Another way to avoid bottlenecks is to simulate your environment and design your process flow before purchasing or deploying your AMR fleet. This is important for a deployment of any size, because you need to make sure you have the right number of robots before you start and can anticipate certain sticking points in your environment. You don’t want to be surprised later that you have to do extra work to reconfigure some settings.
For example, simulation helps determine the right number of robots so that your fleet can operate 24/7. This setting is to specify a sufficient number of robots in the fleet so that a percentage of it is still in charge and able to easily replace a robot that is nearing the end of its discharge cycle.
It is important to have a global vision of your autonomous mobile robotic solution. The list of variables to take into account should allow you to measure your return on investment by making the right choices to maximize it. This investment is significant because it will directly impact your competitiveness, growth and the sustainability of your business.
For any additional information, contact Meanwhile: email@example.com. We guide you in the expression of your needs and we support you in the implementation of fully adapted personalized solutions in order to transform your production tool and define a sustainable 4.0-oriented trajectory. This support allows you to reduce the impact on production, get the most out of your mobile robots while reducing the total cost of ownership of your solution.