How Industry 4.0 specialist delivers solutions that drive operational efficiency

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Applied Integration (AI) combines rigorous development processes, systems engineering and best in class autonomous mobile robot (AMR) and robotics products to help local firms embrace the digital transformation step by step.

In doing so, they enable customers to achieve world class productivity levels and meet the modern-day challenges of fast-changing demands.

AI’s core business model is to design and commission “safety-critical” control software to automate processes across a broad range of industry sectors where safety, process control and accountability are paramount.

The firm is able to share its partnership with some of the best AMR, Robot and Industry 4.0 technology global giants such as AutoGuide, MiR, Universal Robots, Techman, Omron, Siemens, Allen Bradley and B&R.

The collaboration between AI and its partners streamlines the deployment of autonomous solutions in warehouse and manufacturing operations to ensure improved efficiency and safety, with a fast Return on Investment.

Many industries are facing challenges such as labour sourcing, increased operating costs, a need to improve safety and productivity, new emerging technology choices and fast-changing demands. The Covid-19 pandemic has added to these challenges, with social distancing making it difficult for two or more people to work closely.

AI’s solution is to combine proven rigorous systems and engineering expertise with carefully selected world-class technologies. This approach ensures AI’s clients receive minimal adoption disruption, increased throughput, improved safety and future-proofed systems.

Customers benefit from AI’s industry process knowledge, rigorous development processes, technology expertise and more than 20 years of experience in supplying and maintaining safety and mission-critical process solutions, combined with leading AMR and robot suppliers.

Whether your firm is racking, stacking, picking or towing, AI says AMRs offer the potential to drive productivity gains of 30-400 per cent, streamlining workflows to reduce the cost of operation and resulting in investment payback within months.

With built-in intelligence, smart supervisory traffic and integrated task execution management software, AMRs can dynamically calculate job fulfilment routes in real-time for maximum throughput, calculate alternative routes or negotiate objects and people, should they get in their way, and even multi-task.

AI’s AMR portfolio includes MiR, Omron and AutoGuide. MiR and Omron AMRs, the company says, are perfect for tasks such as production line feed, general manufacture and assembly, inspection and laboratory assistance and are capable of transporting payloads up to 1,500kg.

“The latest addition to our portfolio is AutoGuide, which is a game-changer, making modular high-bay, tugger, pallet stacker and heavy payload AMRs that simply make sense,” says AI CEO Garry Lofthouse.

“The ability to manage large mixed vehicle fleets – including MiR AMRs – with a central intelligent fleet manager ensures we can provide holistic integrated solutions that deliver optimal operational agility and performance.

“The fleet manager dynamically optimises routing and scheduling to ensure vehicles always take the optimal path to fulfil tasks, while the inventory manager optimises task allocation to the vehicle for maximum capacity utilisation and reduced transport runs.

“AutoGuide provides a modular base that can be configured as a tow, high bay forklift or pallet stacker and manage payloads up to 6.8 tons.

“The AMRs are guided by laser, radar and environment mapping technologies, meaning navigation without the need to maintain navigational aids such as tapes, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags and reflectors.”

AMR benefits include…

• Dynamic real-time routing optimisations
• 60 per cent-plus reduction in walking/driving time
• Collaborative execution for all transportations
• Repeatable 24/7 operation
• Reduced errors (with add-on technology)
• Intelligent multiple-simultaneous ask execution based on capacity and pick/place locations
• Manage “new normals” (social distancing)
• Provide process analytics/reporting
• Operatives focused on value-add tasks. Collaborative robots, or cobots, have the distinct advantage of working closely and safely with humans.

“Cobots are helping workers to be more efficient, productive and profitable,” says Garry. “Currently over 2.7m industrial robots are operating in logistic warehouses, factories and labs worldwide.”

Robotics are essential to maintain world-class competitive production processes. Once trained, a basic robot can then execute tasks in accordance with a predefined process and is capable of repeatedly doing so 24/7, close-coupling the appropriate eyes (vision), brain (artificial intelligence/machine learning), one or more of a vast array of hand types (manipulators) and scope for handling increasingly complex task escalates.

Examples of their many uses include…

• Picking/placing – Picking required items from mixed item tote bin
• Sorting – Ensuring the right products are distributed to the right place
• Assembly – Car manufacturing, electronics
• Inspection – Inspecting product quality: for example, does it meet supermarket standards?
• A combination of the above – Hyve, an autonomous collaborative robot created by AI’s sister company, Applied Scientific Technologies.

“Our partnerships are all about collaboration, process alignment and implementation of appropriate requirement solutions,” says Garry. “As with all of our strategic technology partnerships, our role is to focus on our customer processes and engineer a solution that delivers on process improvement goals, meaning we can ensure seamless integration with a wide range of existing operations and deliver on promised productivity and ROI goals.

“Applied Integration UK are here to help you select the correct solutions, boost your productivity, increase quality and gain competitive advantage. If you’ve experienced a drop in your productivity levels or would like to know if and how automation can enhance your productivity, contact our team today.”

Applied Integration, founded in 2005, is a leading systems integrator, specialising in delivering the latest industry technologies with a focus on Industry 4.0, digitalisation, AMR, robotics and collaborative robots (cobots), Internet of Things (IoT), analytics, big data/cloud technologies and safety-critical systems (SIL1, SIL2, SIL3).

Learn more at appliedintegration.co.uk or call 01642 717555.