Lenze is one of the world leaders in automation in the field of machine manufacturing, specializing in Motion Centric Automation. The family business, founded in 1947 in Germany, has 3,700 employees worldwide in more than 60 countries. Lenze works for and with its customers to create innovative mechatronic products and packages, high-performance systems consisting of hardware and software for machine automation, as well as scanning services.
In France, the Lenze group has two subsidiaries and employs 180 people. Created in 2004, the Ruitz site in the Hauts de France is a "showcase for the Industry of the Future". It now has 130 employees and produces frequency converters and geared motors. This site also includes a logistics platform to deliver these devices to the entire Atlantic coast of Europe and to the Maghreb.
It was for its small parcels packaging station that Lenze identified a need for improved ergonomics. Indeed, the post involved a lot of travel and repeated load carrying of parcels, with movements that could lead to MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders). In total, this was about 100 packages per operator per day.
In order to improve the ergonomics at the same time as the productivity of this station, the company decided to integrate a MiR200 collaborative mobile robot to take charge of the transport of finished products between the packaging station and the front storage station before shipping. The robot had to be able to travel autonomously nearly 5 km per day, or about 100 km per month. Olivier Regnier, Manager Logistics at Lenze, explains “The operator had to take the box for each package and carry it to place it on a pallet next to the post. Our goal was to simplify his work: by taking care of the transport of parcels, the mobile robot allows the operator to no longer waste time leaving his post ".
The choice was an AMR MiR200, equipped with a motorized conveyor. For this project, Lenze worked with integrator CJL Pack and distributor HMI-MBS. The implementation of the solution took a year, from the start of drafting the specifications to the commissioning of the installation.
A choice guided by simplicity and security
Lenze chose to focus on MiR solution because of the simplicity of implementation of the mobile robot, including the learning mode of the machine environment. Unlike conventional AGVs, the mobile robot does not just follow a predefined route in advance. It adapts in real time to the immediate environment.
With built-in sensors and 3D camera, the MiR200 is able to identify its surroundings and take the most efficient route to its destination, carefully bypassing obstacles and people on site. The robot only needs a starting point and an ending point, and calculates a new route based on the immediate factory setup.
Simple operation for immediate benefits
The MiR200 is equipped with a motorized conveyor, synchronized with an automated system consisting of several motorized drop-off and pick-up stations.
As soon as a box is packed and ready, the robot receives information and goes to the packing station. The system determines the size of the box, and the box is then loaded onto the robot by the motorized conveyor. The robot then moves to the drop-off point, and as soon as it is in position, the conveyor is activated: the box is then placed on a station where the boxes are consolidated before shipment.
The complete cycle, including movement, analysis of the box, entry of the box and transport, takes between 2 and 4 minutes.
The MiR200 operates continuously in shifts of 2x8 hours, between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m., and travels an average of 5 km per day.
Regarding battery management, the installation has been programmed so that the robot goes autonomously to its charging station, as soon as the battery level drops below 30%. In addition, Lenze uses break times to re-charge the robot so that it is available continuously between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. whenever it is called upon, without having to worry about changing the battery.
Lenze was able to quickly observe the benefits. "We have seen an improvement in productivity in the positions concerned of around 10 to 15%. This is due to the fact that the robot eliminates a lot of unnecessary travel for operators and also limits the load ports of around 2000 kg per day," underlines Olivier Regnier, Manager Logistic at Lenze.
The robot was also very well accepted by the employees. “We already had AGV-type autonomous robots on site. In addition, the reliability of operation of the MiR robot, and more broadly of the installation, made the acceptance of the robot very easy. Basic training in the use of the robot was given for the operators. This is more than enough to allow them to deal with the few challenges that they encounter sometimes."
Human-robot cohabitation therefore took place naturally, while the robot's work area is also a regular place of passage for people.
Lenze is considering other applications of the robot, in particular to extend the range of action of the current installation.
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