Every day, a user-friendly mobile robot automates many miles of production floor deliveries for Danish fireplace and wood stove manufacturer Scan A/S. Employees–who have been relieved of the monotonous chore–have been particularly welcoming of their new flexible “rolling colleague.”
Since 1978, Scan has designed and produced exclusive wood stoves that are effective, attractive, and environmentally friendly as heat sources. But an equally important reason for the company’s ranking among the top 10 in the global industry is that management has always been quick to invest in innovative production technology. Once Scan became aware of the innovative, mobile robot MiR100, management asked Mobile Industrial Robots to demonstrate its possibilities.
“It is costly when internal transport costs man-hours. It challenges a company like ours, because we are based in a country with high labor costs. Automation of internal transport is therefore an obvious way for us to improve throughput and boost our competitiveness. We have over 100,000 square feet of working area, and we move items from one end of the factory to the other. Before we got MiR100, an employee had to push the trolley from place to place. But of course it is problematic to use highly paid, manual labor for that type of task. Moreover, it is boring and monotonous work,” explains René Hannibaldsen, Production Manager at Scan A/S.
The new high-tech mailman
Scan produces 14,000 stoves on an annual basis. To support that activity, the MiR100 robot makes 10 to 12 daily trips with deliveries of bolts, screws, and other parts for assembling the stoves.
“Our new mobile robot can find its own way around between five and six addresses in the factory, where it delivers goods from our goods reception to the production area. In fact, you could compare our MiR robot to a mailman, driving around in the area handing out mail, and then driving back to the post office to collect new packages and drive off again to deliver them,” said Hannibaldsen.
Traditionally, the deployment of robots in a production process has been an expensive, time-consuming and cumbersome process. But not with MiR100. “We save about half of a full-time position by automating this process. But we expect to achieve further gains from the investment in the long term, as we have several other tasks in mind that we expect MiR100 can solve for us. The MiR robot is so affordable and easy to program that it can be implemented quickly and it therefore recoups the investment quickly. Here at Scan, the MiR100 has paid for itself in less than a year,” said Hannibaldsen.
The ability to carry up to 300 kg of goods at a time by using the MiR robot with a towing hitch is also a clear advantage that Scan plans to exploit.
“It was important for us to introduce this type of robot into our production processes and to accustom our employees to having robots moving about around us, as well as forklifts and other rolling equipment. Naturally, we were a little skeptical at first, because it has to move about among MiR100 er jo et de helt store fordele, jeg ser ved dette produkt. løse. Så her i starten handler det om at have fået teknologiebblnblwalking staff and forklifts with goods, but there have never been any collisions. It moves smoothly around all obstacles. And all the employees think that MiR100 is fun, so the robot has generally been well received,” said Hannibaldsen.