Cas d'usage, le fonctionnement de Mw²

Use case: how Mw² works

The purpose of this article is to give you an overview of the power and range of possibilities with Mw².

Mw² is the nerve center of Meanwhile autonomous mobile robotics applications.

We find in these the vehicles with their charging stations which allow the robots to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will also find, depending on the needs, transfer stations that allow operators to pick up and drop off bins destined for the robot, which will then be transported to the next production stage. Finally we will find warning lights, telephone calls…

In the software part we distinguish 3 main families of products:

  1. Features related to production (mission management, fleet management, asset traceability).
  2. Features related to supervision (reporting tools, data logging, human-machine interfaces.
  3. The functionalities making it possible to make the fleet of mobile robots interoperable with its environment (connection with automatic doors / elevators,
    connections with landlines, etc.).

What are the missions of the fleet manager?

Once Mw² is installed (in one of your servers for example), it will communicate directly with the mobile robot if it is alone or with the fleet manager if there are several. The mobile robots communicate via Wi-Fi with the fleet manager, whose objective is to redistribute the missions generated by Mw² to each of the robots.

For example, if a robot is closer to a certain workstation, it will be assigned the mission created for that workstation.

Besides, it also tells mobile robots when to charge at which charging station.

In concrete terms, the fleet manager streamlines the navigation of mobile robots in order to guarantee optimal circulation.

What is the OmniBox?

An OmniBox is a box developed by Meanwhile allowing simple interfacing between autonomous mobile robots, through Mw², and factory/hospital equipment (elevators, automatic doors, fixed stations, etc.).

For example, we are going to install an OmniBox on an elevator to allow Mw² to reserve it for a robot.

Progress of an application

1. Point of view of an operator

• Objective: recover crates and bring them to production lines.

On a rack like the one below, the Meanwhile experts install an OmniBox box that will allow Mw² to know as soon as a crate is detected. Mw² will thus send this information back to the Human-Machine Interface (HMI) of the operator who, for his part, will be able to select the destination of the crate which has just been deposited by a previous operator.

Subsequently, Mw² will process this information by creating a mission so that the mobile robot can come and collect the crate.

Meanwhile, point de vue opérateur 1

The robot is heading towards the requested destination and will encounter an elevator after a few minutes of navigation.

At this moment, Mw² is able to know where the mobile robot is located, if it enters an area associated with an elevator and that its final destination requires taking an elevator.

So when the robot arrives in the area, Mw² reserves the elevator, waits to be sure that the robot has entered the elevator, then the pilot to get it to the right floor.

Meanwhile, point de vue opérateur 2

When the robot arrives at its destination, it places the crate on the station. This is equipped with an OmniBox box which sends back the information that the cash register has been deposited. Mw² can then, for example, control a remote light beacon in another room in order to indicate that the mission has been accomplished and/or that the robot has arrived at its destination.

Meanwhile, point de vue opérateur 3

2. A logistician's point of view

Logisticians have the ability to monitor the proper functioning of the complete application via Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs), similar to those of operators but which can include more information as needed.

They are thus able to see live where the mobile robots are located on the map, the missions in progress, to which destinations they are heading, if any boxes have been detected…

Meanwhile, point de vue d'un logisticien 1

3. A supervisor's perspective

Supervisors can view all historical data and statistics on robots, different missions and events on the web interface. They thus have an overview of the Meanwhile solution and can analyze the performance of the robot fleet over the week, month, year, etc.

Meanwhile, point de vue d'un superviseur

Mw² is a modular, adaptable software suite entirely developed within Meanwhile. Our team is therefore able to quickly develop new functionalities as needed. The same applies to Human-Machine interfaces: certain areas of activity require compliance with specific standards, so our team knows how to adapt to these requests and offer business-oriented products.

At Meanwhile, a collaborative system is a system that is not dangerous for the users who will move around the mobile robots, but it is also an easy-to-use and ergonomic system. Our solutions are thus developed with the aim of being powerful in their functionalities, productive but also pleasant to use.

The entire use case presented in this article refers to a solution installed in the field of industry, but it is important to emphasize that these functionalities are applicable in different fields: healthcare establishments, manufacturing industry , pharmaceutical, semiconductor, automotive industry etc.