The future of materials movement in manufacturing rests on the adoption of automation. One of the most common solutions is an AGV/AMR tugger train for delivery within a facility. Automated options are available for almost every stage throughout the material handling process. Forklifts have been the traditional choice to transport materials within a facility, but as companies are looking to become safer and more efficient with fork-free initiatives, decision-makers are looking to tugger trains and autonomous delivery systems. Some keys to planning a successful automation implementation include:
- Efficient route planning. Working with your autonomous solution provider, you should consider all the variables like distance traveled, cycle times, replenishment rates, packaging footprint and weight capacity, all play a critical role in a successful route. These variables must be in balance to reduce downtime and traffic that will ultimately increase safety.
- Layout Process Mapping. Mapping the current facilities layout and how the new drop and pick up stations, cross transfers, and integration with existing equipment fits into the current infrastructure will help eliminate unforeseen issues with implementation.
- Integration with existing SOP. No doubt you will be changing your standard operating procedures but to limit your workflow disruptions you should use the MAYA principle, “Most Advanced. Yet Most Acceptable”. You want your employees to embrace this change and not feel threatened by automation.
- Start small. Although it is a larger investment for many companies, plan your implementation for a series of small but quick wins that builds confidence in your AGV/AMR’s adoption and then look to repeat and expand your routes.
- Behind your AGV/AMR. Automation does not have to stop at the AGV/AMR, there are now turn-key autonomous transfer cart systems available. Not just a powered roller cart that requires custom integration but plug-and-play systems that work with any AGV/AMR on the market today. Often the focus is on the AGV/AMR but the real ROI can be in the Cart system behind it.
Jtec has designed and developed CarryMatic, the first autonomous material transfer cart system. The CarryMatic system reduces the need for custom integrators by seamlessly connecting the AGV/AMR’s supervisor to the CarryMatic Supervisor that controls all carts and stations to make hands-free material exchanges. To learn more visit www.jtecindustries.com.