Features, Robotics & Automation

Creating more space with automation

Robotic Automation has a long history of supporting clients with their robotics and automation needs with manufacturers continuing to turn to the company to improve logistics and product storage.

Recently RA supported a prominent distributor in the logistics industry, which faced significant operational challenges in their existing warehouse facility.

The manufacturing company – like many others – had been so focussed on perfecting its product that its warehouse management had fallen by the wayside, with costly outsourcing becoming an issue.

The manufacturer had a lack of organisation and a haphazard arrangement of pallets which resulted in inefficiencies, with difficulties in locating stock leading to unnecessary delays and increased manufacturing costs.

When RA viewed the site there were immediate concerns around safety as well, with tall pallet stacks and incidents of forklift operators damaging racking structures. To address these issues, the client sought a solution that would streamline warehouse operations, improve stock management, enhance safety, and integrate seamlessly with a new, RA specified Automated Storage and Retrieval System shuttle system.

A major challenge facing RA was integrating the new Automatic Guided Vehicle system with the ASMS shuttle system and then transferring the entire warehouse to the new system without interrupting ongoing operations.

System installation

RA began with a phased approach for this specific solution, selecting a fleet of four MAXAGVs. These state-of-the-art vehicles are designed to autonomously navigate the warehouse environment, retrieve, and transport pallets of product with precision.

With the current stock in an extremely disorganised system, RA systematically removed all existing stock and scanned it into the new Warehouse Management System. This process enabled accurate tracking of each item while ensuring uninterrupted warehouse functionality.

A critical improvement RA made was to the palletising system. Pallets arriving from the manufacturing area were meticulously scanned by forklift operators. The WMS, armed with real-time data, determined the optimal rack location for each piece of stock, thereby enhancing storage density and accessibility.

Once the storage location was determined, the AGVs seamlessly transported the pallets to the designated rack location. The AGVs also controlled the new ASRS shuttle system, commanding it to store items logically in the up to 22  deep rack positions, maximising warehouse space utilisation.

The AGV system facilitated autonomous order fulfilment. Upon receiving an order, the AGVs efficiently retrieved the required combination of stock types and delivered them to the outfeed area, streamlining the order processing workflow.

The incorporation of a 3D visualisation component within the new WMS enhanced visibility and navigation within the warehouse and can be easily viewed on smart phones, pads and laptops. This visual representation of the warehouse layout enabled efficient stock identification and retrieval.

MAX AGV system

Max is a state-of-the-art, dependable AGV Control System that runs on a modern client server Windows environment. It utilises Microsoft products, providing great possibilities for future expansion. Max is user-friendly with well-presented screens and logical functionality.

Max Control System handles everything from transport and warehousing, load tracking, buffering, and order swapping to optimal dynamic route selection, location selection, charge control, priorities and dead lock prevention – all shown in real time 2D & 3D visualisation.

Max controls the AGV routing making split second decisions along the AGV’s guidance path in order to select optimum routes to specific destinations. In certain applications Max can be supplied with optional Warehouse Management for stock control and inventory. The Max system has embedded optimal dynamic routing and load tracking, so users know where pallets and products are at all times.

Automated benefits

The implementation of the AGV system in conjunction with the  ASRS shuttle system yielded several significant benefits for the company.

The company was able to transition to 24/7 operations, which significantly improved operational efficiency. Stock management was streamlined with the 3D visualisation tool that made retrieval simple and efficient.

The manufacturer was able to truly maximise its space with a gain of two to three times the volume pallets using the same footprint. With space restrictions always creating challenges, the company could now maximise warehouse storage through deep rack storage.

Safety on site was drastically improved, too, with tall pallet stacks no longer required and more space available, forklift-related incidents have been reduced.

By effectively integrating a sophisticated AGV system with an ASRS shuttle system, the client transformed a once-chaotic warehouse into a streamlined and efficient operation.

The innovative solution not only resolved the initial challenges but also laid the foundation for improved productivity, safety, and customer satisfaction. This successful case study serves as a testament to the power of advanced automation and integration in modern warehouse management.

35 years of automation

Now celebrating its 35th anniversary RA has a vast range of experience when it comes to improving a company’s automation processes and incorporating robotics.

Robotic Automation was established in 1988 and with more than 3500 solutions delivered, installed and  supported for a range of clients across the Australasia region.

RA is a leading supplier of turnkey solutions, deploying its core technologies from Motoman Yaskawa Robotics and MAXAGVs and the company says it looks forward to providing the next innovative solution for coming facilities of the future.

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