On September 23rd, Sirris organized a public event where novel technologies for machining companies were demonstrated. The demonstrator focuses mainly on the logistics aspects of production and on digital tools to support the operators.
The demonstrator shows how the transport of parts between a warehouse and several work centers can be automated by using autonomous mobile robots. Autonomous mobile robots are the next step in the evolution of automated transport. These robots map out their environment and can autonomously navigate around obstacles. The previous generation of automated guided vehicles (AGV) needed navigation devices in their environments (like magnetic strips) to guide their movements and would stop when an object on the route was encountered.
Two different mobile robots (MiR200 and WEWO) are used to transport parts. The CNC machine operator indicates which parts he needs for his machine. This demand for parts triggers the robot to drive from the waiting position to the warehouse where the warehouse operator collects the right parts and places them in transport trays onto the mobile robots. As soon as the trays with parts are loaded on the mobile robot, it drives to the CNC machine. At the machine, the trays with parts are transferred without operator intervention to a specially designed construction, based on the karakuri-kaizen principles. Karakuri is the Japanese style of mechanization which allows building sophisticated transport devices without sensors or actuators.
The flow of materials between the work centers is coordinated by a unique digital manufacturing platform from the Belgium company Scalefactory. This manufacturing platform is a low code platform built on the technology of Salesforce. This allows manufacturers to reconfigure the software without the need for real programming. A digital Polca system has been implemented in the manufacturing platform to coordinate the supply of components at the various workstations. POLCA (LINK: http://machining4.eu/Technology-Sheets/POLCA) is a production control system that limits the work in process and keeps the lead time short. The digital manufacturing platform is further used as the digital backbone to pass on information between the Priority ERP-system, mobile robots, and other local devices.
The assembly station was equipped with a digital work instruction system from Azumuta. This system gives the operator step by step instructions on what to do. This system can also handle checklists and measurement data to assure quality. The Azumuta-system is connected with the information in the ERP-system by the digital manufacturing platform.