SMART INTRA-LOGISTICS

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IN MANUFACTURING

The global world of manufacturing has been a leading adopter of digital solutions for decades: industrial robots, computer-controlled devices, management information systems. This process accelerates and becomes more radical as the digital tsunami transforms entire industries. The vision of “digital factory” involves a number of key concepts:

THE CASE FOR SMART INTRALOGISTICS

Intralogistics - the area involving internal processing of materials, components and related information - is a significant part of industrial value chain where operations need to change due to labour shortages, operational hazards and often obsolete, inefficient technology. The automation of intralogistics tasks has to meet the growing demand for flexibility of shop floor operations. Product personalisation and unpredictable fluctuations of production volumes become important aspects of modern manufacturing which challenging traditional intralogistics solutions.

For this reason many manufacturing organisations select SMART INTRALOGISTCS as the key, enabling concept of manufacturing transformation driven by digital innovations. The following capabilities are critical for successful rollout of SMART INTRA-LOGISTICS:

AMR/AGV BASED AGILITY

The key capability of SMART INTRALOGISTICS is to quickly and cheaply introduce changes in material flow, to enable changing requirements of manufacturing or warehousing processes. Naturally the flexibility must not compromise fundamental productivity of operations and its cost efficiency. In discrete manufacturing and warehousing the most mature technology that delivers this capability is represented by Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), the most advanced segment of AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles).

RELIABLE AUTONOMY

This is the capability of executing intralogistics tasks (pickup, transport, handover of materials, components and goods) without human intervention or process related navigational "hard" infrastructure. Human intelligence creates benefits when applied to process optimisation, not to execution of mundane tasks related to transport of material. The "zero infrastructure" requirement is another important enabler of process agility. Autonomous units which are fully self reliant in executing transport assignments, can adopt to changes in intralogistics processes in real-time, without the need for costly and time consuming reconfiguration of beacons, guiding lines etc. In an industrial environment a fundamental requirement for this capability is reliable performance. It is not enough that autonomy works "most of the time". From the perspective of master process (manufacturing or warehouse management) the reliability and performance of smart intralogistics solution has to match the reliability of all other process automation solutions.

INDUSTRIAL SAFETY

The shop floor is a living environment, with many participants of daily traffic, changing floor layouts and traffic patterns. The autonomous components of intralogistics solution have to cope well with unpredictable behaviour of other traffic participants, enabling undisturbed execution of manufacturing operations. Also, they need to provide uncompromised compliance with industrial standards related to health and safety. Finally - as any digital solution - SMART INTRALOGISTICS requires mature approach to cybersecurity in deployment and operations.

PREDICTABLE AMR AND PROCESS PERFORMANCE

This is the capability of simulating and predicting key performance aspects of intralogistics process configuration (such as throughput, cycle times, asset utilisation, energy consumption) without costly, and potentially disruptive experiments on the actual shop floor. This capability is the key to developing and maintaining a positive business case of investment in SMART INTRALOGISTICS solution based on AMRs.

MODULARITY AND INTEROPERABILITY

Truly effective SMART INTRALOGISTICS solution takes more than deployment of smart robots. Essential components of the solution include AMR fleet coordination software (Mulit Robotic System - MRS), simulation environment, and seamless integration with systems governing shop floor operations (MES/WMS/ERP). Well designed SMART INTRALOGISTICS platform enables factory managers to view the intra-logistics as a "Plug-N-Play" process component of their manufacturing operations. Such capability simplifies management and improves the organisations potential for comprehensive digital transformation.

VERSABOX ACADEMY

Register to participate in VERSABOX ACADEMY to get insights from innovators, practitioners and industry experts. Share your experiences and examine best practices through facilitated discussions. VERSABOX ACADEMY events are designed to support manufacturing and logistics organisations facing the challenges of digital transformation.

In this seminar we will present the panorama of cybersecurity challenges and threats as well as the best practices which allow for secure digital transformation of intralogistics processes.

Key topics include: Cybersecurity defined Best practices in Cybersecurity Governance Best practices in Industrial IoT architecture Secure Smart Intralogistics – a case study based on the AUTONOMY@WORK™ solution

Resources