Bossard Smart Factory Logistics

MiR mobile robots enable intralogistics innovation at Bossard Smart Factory Logistics

Which processes in the production slow down the efficiency? If you ask Bossard, a global leader in the fastener sector, they may tell you that the answer is internal logistics. Therefore, Bossard is focusing on, Smart Factory Logistics, which is one of three core businesses at Bossard, is using two MiR100 mobile robots due to the robots’ features as safety, flexibility and user-friendliness. The robots are used to transport materials between warehouse, lab and workstations, adding new values for the intralogistics focusing on "Last Mile Management".

Issue & solution

With Industry 4.0 era, numerous industrial manufacturers actively participate in the vast automation production revolution. When automatic management and efficiency upgrading gradually become rigid needs, diversified human-machine collaboration scenarios emerge up, which enables greater values generated by collaborative robots as a solution on productivity advancement to be seen.

The Smart Factory Logistics solution practiced by Bossard, one of biggest names in global fastener industry, forms up and defines its "Proven Productivity" ecosystem together with Product Solutions and Assembly Technology Expert. Meanwhile, Bossard’s technology integration power has been proven again. Its "Last Mile Management" solution takes internal logistics as a practical and effective aspect to improve, in combination with MiR’s advanced mobile robotics technologies to upgrade and iterate.

The two MiR100 robots at Bossard Shanghai Logistics Centre rely on its outstanding security, flexibility and system adaptability, and gain definite recognition from both European and Chinese teams. With the help of the robots solution, a brand new outlook that workers are collaborating with mobile robots opens up, helping address pain points and bottlenecks that water spider model is not available enough in modern flexible production before. At the meanwhile, MiR also highlight how important intelligent intralogistics is through connecting to other operation system efficiently.

High security opens up a new complexion for human-machine collaboration

Security is the cornerstone of collaborative robot invention, and also the origin of developing mobile robotics.

An ancient poetry is saying "only when standing on the top of the highest mountain, you see others are small”. Following the highest and most stringent security standards worldwide, MiR mobile robots therefore have an outstanding safety performance throughout the industry. There are two MiR100 robots that back up the intralogistics of the Bossard Shanghai Logistics Centre, as the name suggests, they can move heavy loads of up to 100 kilograms in manufacturing or warehousing.

In fact, the Chinese and European teams both consider MiR has remarkable promise and potential just as a Chinese saying of “Great minds think alike” said. Introduced by Ellick Qin, Smart Factory Logistics Manager at Bossard Fastening Solutions (Shanghai) Co., Ltd, the European team finally selected a MiR mobile robot that strictly meets European industrial safety production standards in July 2018. Almost at same time, the Chinese team came across the MiR’s autonomous mobile robot solution at an industry exhibition in Chengdu. The cooperation has matched up ever since. After a three-month internal test in Europe, the MiR robot project was officially launched at the end of 2018 in Bossard Shanghai Logistics Centre.

Security has long been the hallmark of MiR mobile robots. With the world-class advanced navigation and sensor technologies, MiR robots can run accurate analysis and judgment for obstacles ahead in different application scenarios. For example, in Bossard Shanghai Logistics Centre, MiR robots enable to automatically identify passing workers, forklifts and other devices, with each other to keep the safe distance under dynamic circumstance, to proactively evade obstacles, while doing real-time prediction to movement feasibility and adaptively adjusting operation routes.

From the recommendation of MiR robot, to the completion of installation, debugging and personnel training, the whole application process took only a week, which shows the strong adaptability to different systems of MiR robot

Ellick Qin

Smart Factory Logistics Manager at Bossard Fastening Solutions (Shanghai) Co., Ltd

High flexibility matches flexible requirements of modern manufacturing

Mobile robots based on reliable safety are highly expected to meet actual production requirements, to deal with internal logistics bottlenecks, optimize work processes, save related operating costs, and create the human-machine collaboration scenarios that both sides perform their respective roles. The flexibility of MiR robot makes it a truly efficient internal logistics solution.

Externally, MiR robot is a good hand in assisting flexible production. There is no need to invest heavily in laying tracks up front like AGV robots. The deployment flexibility saves customers a lot of time, manpower and fixed costs. In addition, MiR robot is easy to operate and program. With a friendly user interface, MiR robot can quickly and flexibly respond to transportation requirements of different batches, which highly matches market requirements for flexible production and customized service in the era of Industry 4.0.

Internally, MiR robot is a wonderful hand for optimizing daily management. MiR robots can flexibly handle sample picking, sample delivery and replenishment for long distance, multi-point and high frequency requests in Bossard.

At present, the two MiR100 robots serving in Bossard factory play different roles: one robot stationed in the exhibition hall, presenting more like an ambassador of the enterprise, showing the operation mode of "Last Mile Management" to customers; Moreover, it presents in large-scale industry exhibitions and seminar activities, to introduce the most advanced internal logistics solutions to the industry.

The other robot is dedicated to fulfilling tasks. It is always going back and forth between the warehouse and the laboratory, to perform the work of sample delivery and sampling with full energy. At the same time, it assists distribution of receiving and delivering supplementary materials between warehouse to various stations.

High adaptability to connect various operating systems seamlessly

Bossard offers a full range of high-quality fasteners products for its various clients in precision manufacturing, engineering machinery, construction, transportation systems. Based on the characteristics of fasteners products, which includes various types, low individual value, relatively high hidden costs on assembly and transportation logistics, Bossard provides its intelligent internal logistics solutions ——"Last Mile Management", to its customers, in order to achieve the intelligent internal logistic optimization, from storage to replenishment.

Another reason that MiR robot can shine is that its excellent adaptability perfectly matches various systems of Bossard. "From the recommendation of MiR robot, to the completion of installation, debugging and personnel training, the whole application process took only a week, which shows the strong adaptability to different systems of MiR robot," Ellick Qin said.

In line with different sensor storage systems from customer side, information including fasteners inventory is managed by Bossard’s cloud-based operation system, then can be fed back in real-time way to ARIMS backstage with strong data analysis, to achieve full/semi-automatic replenishment demand at production station.

When MiR100 receives task orders from ARIMS, it can cooperate with ARIMS system online to customize its route for selecting goods efficiently in warehouse and assembly storage area. It can also make real-time adjustment based on practical circumstances. When it comes to the replenishment stage of the production station, MiR100 can also seamlessly cooperate with ARIMS system, to carry materials and participate in the water spider operation, so as to recycle replenishment for production stations efficiently and accurately.

In addition, due to the complexity of working environment, the high adaptability of MiR robot shows its outstanding advantages in various operation situation of Bossard Shanghai Logistics Centre, such as involving rolling doors, elevators, access control system and other elements in operation. In the near future, Bossard plans to build a new industrial park covering an area of around 3700m2 in Tianjin. The internal logistics requirements will be more diversified and complex at that time. It is believed that MiR robot’s advanced adaptive ability will definitely play a more important role.

As the application of cooperative robots in many fields continues to expand and deepen, more dull, repetitive, or high-risk mechanical operations will be handed over to safe and flexible cooperative robots to complete. But the value of human will not be replaced. On contrary, human worker can take more higher value task of using human wisdom after liberation of basic work. With the efforts of MiR robot, efficiency of internal logistics will be further motivated, which sets Bossard as a role model of improving internal logistics. The further man-machine cooperation mode created by industry 4.0 can retake the efficiency eaten by nonlean manufacturing, and thus is worthy of the entire industrial industry expecting.