Mobile Industrial Robots ApS today announced a strategic collaboration with Koch Industries that includes global evaluation of autonomous mobile robots.
Guardian Industries, a subsidiary of Koch Industries Inc., began working with Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) last year. It had tested different systems for automating in-house transportation to optimize productivity and internal workflows. A cross-functional effort led by the company's Manufacturing Transformation Team allowed to deploy MiR robots in pilot projects at two sites in the U.S. The success of these pilot projects resulted in the agreement between Koch Industries and Mobile Industrial Robots.
“We have entered into this strategic agreement with MiR because it has the capacity and extensive knowledge to support us in streamlining and optimizing our logistics operations,” stated Antonio Blanco, global category manager at Guardian Industries. “MiR offers flexible automation solutions that can be tailored to address our current and future operational needs. We are implementing this technology at multiple facilities because we consider MiR as a long-term partner that has the experience and capabilities to support us in achieving our productivity goals.”
Guardian Industries to use AMRs in multiple sites
Guardian Industries said it intends to scale autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) throughout the organization.
“We will implement the robots in multiple plants with different layouts and products, so it is important for us to have a logistics solution that can fit into all types of environments and easily adapt to new tasks,” said Peter Westrick, material handling engineering manager at Guardian. “That is exactly what MiR offers.”
Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Guardian Industries employs 15,000 people worldwide. The company manufactures high-performance float glass; coated and fabricated products for architectural, residential, interior, transportation, and technical glass applications; and high-quality chrome-plated and painted plastic components for the automotive and commercial truck industries.
Wichita, Kansas-based Koch is one of the largest private companies in the U.S., with estimated annual revenues as high as $115 billion, according to Forbes. It owns a diverse group of companies involved in chemicals, consumer products, electronics, automotive components, and investments, among other industries. Koch recently invested in Percepto for autonomous inspection of industrial sites.
Autonomous mobile robots on the rise
Guardian Industries and Koch are not the only companies that want to optimize internal transportation flows, according to Mobile Industrial Robots. The Odense, Denmark-based company recently reported a 55% increase in AMR sales in first quarter of 2021, which makes it the best first quarter to date.
MiR, a Teradyne company, said it offers five AMR models capable of transporting everything from small parts to heavy loads up to 1,000 kg (2,204 lb.). The robots are also capable of automatically picking up, transporting, and delivering pallets and can be customized with different top modules, depending on the customers’ needs.
Mobile Industrial Robots said its collaborative AMRs are are designed to work alongside human colleagues and relieve them of physically strenuous tasks, freeing them to focus on more valuable tasks. It has a global distribution network in 58 countries.
“We are pleased to enter into this collaboration and contribute to Guardian’s productivity goals by deploying our flexible, collaborative and safe mobile robots,” said Christian Clausen, sales director at MiR. “In general, we see a great potential across industries for optimizing internal logistic workflows, from inbound and outbound logistics to material handling in manufacturing plants, and our industry-graded robots can be deployed directly into these different workflows.”
“The plant setups of today are agile and highly dynamic, and people, equipment, pallets, and other obstacles can appear in what used to be open passageways,” he added. “Our mobile robots fit these ever-changing environments very well. With the collaborative, autonomous navigation of our robots, the automated material transportation becomes flexible and easily adaptable without additional cost or disruption to processes.”
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