Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR), maker of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), is now in a global strategic collaboration with automotive technology leader Faurecia to deploy AMRs in manufacturing plants worldwide — and take the company’s automation to a new level.
Faurecia has investigated and tested different solutions for automating its in-house transportation for years to optimize productivity and internal workflows and hereby gain competitive advantages. The company has now partnered with MiR to rethink the internal logistics in Faurecia’s production sites globally and make their logistics processes more efficient via flexible, autonomous mobile robots.
“We have entered into this strategic partnership with MiR because it has the capacity and extensive knowledge to support us in streamlining and optimizing logistics operations,” said Eric Moreau, VP Supply Chain & Digital Enterprise, Faurecia Clean Mobility Business Group. “MiR already has a proven technology, and many of the worlds’ largest multinational companies are using its robots to increase logistics efficiency. We generally have a high level of automation, but material handling has until now been a challenge, and we see a huge potential in automating logistics.”
“We are continuously adjusting facility layouts to meet the demand for a high number of smaller batch sizes in the production,” Moreau added. “This must be supported by intralogistics systems, and that requires a high level of flexibility. This is offered by MiR, since its autonomous mobile robots don’t need any guidance to navigate other than their own internal map that can easily be updated.”
MiR offers a range of collaborative and autonomous mobile robots that are designed to work alongside their human colleagues, to relieve them from physically strenuous work and to redeploy them for more valuable tasks. The mobile robots are extremely user-friendly and can be operated without prior programming experience. The employees can easily interact with the robots via a robot interface that can be accessed via smartphone, tablet, or personal computer, and send them on their missions with a push of a button. The simple operation results in easy deployment and low total cost of ownership.
The robots from MiR can be customized with different top modules depending on the customers’ need. The versatility of the robots is another reason why Faurecia chose to collaborate with MiR.
“The mobile robots from MiR have the ability to not just transport goods but also to combine other process steps such as loading and unloading to increase the overall efficiency of an entire production line,” Moreau added. “The mobile cobots are extremely flexible, and we have already identified several different applications where the mobile robots from MiR can take over the monotonous task of transporting goods both within the production lines and between production and warehouse and thereby drive efficiencies.”
Logistics robots on the rise
The latest figures from the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) show how Faurecia is not the only company that sees the potential in automating its internal transportation. 63% of the total service robots for professional use that were sold in 2017 were logistics robots, and IFR expects the sales of logistics robots to increase to about 600,000 units between 2018 and 2021.
“We are pleased to enter into this collaboration and contribute to Faurecia getting their productivity goals by deploying flexible, collaborative and safe mobile robots,” said Thomas Visti, CEO of MiR. “In general, we see a great potential in the automotive industry, which is adopting advances in autonomous technology more rapidly than most other industries.”
“The plant setups of today are agile and highly dynamic, and people, equipment, pallets and other obstacles can appear in what used to be open passageways,” Visti added. “Our mobile robots fit these ever-changing environments particularly well. With the collaborative, autonomous navigation of the robots, the automated material transportation becomes flexible and easily adaptable without additional cost or disruption to processes.”
Mobile Industrial Robots has a global distribution network in more than 40 countries and local offices in New York; San Diego, California; Singapore, Frankfurt, Barcelona and Shanghai, and as a result, is able to support Faurecia globally.