In a busy warehouse, space is limited. Customers are impatient. Competition is fierce. This means that time, personnel, and space must be optimized.
In a high-tech, high-rise warehouse in Odense, Denmark, hundreds of pallets are transported during a 15-hour workday. Over the course of a year, the ICM logistics center processes over 31,000 pallets and over 100,000 orders for workplace and personal safety equipment. Most of these orders are for next-day deliveries.
To improve their processes and benefit from new efficiencies, the company invested in three MiR1000 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs). The new logistics flow has warehouse employees place pallets on special MiR racks, from which the robots collect them and transport them to the aisles. The MiR robots leave the pallets at the end of the aisles where they are then collected by human-driven high-reach trucks that place them in the relevant racks.
Check Out Three MiR1000 AMRs in Action.
Robots Save ICM 40+ Hours a Week
The new process saves three employees about 3 hours each day – resulting in a savings of over 40 man-hours each week.
“It’s a very efficient system. Our high-reach truck operators immediately report when they take a pallet from a rack,” says Jesper Lorenzen, warehouse assistant at ICM, “Then I just press a button on my tablet and send a robot. It enables us to ensure that our high-reach trucks are always supplied with pallets.”
A Fine-Tuned, Collaborative System
The constant warehouse traffic, with high-reach truck operators and robots sharing the thoroughfares, makes communication and collaboration vital.
Previously, the warehouse space was very cramped because of the many operations with manual stackers on the main traffic routes. Now, with the MiR robots replacing some of the manual stackers, there is more room on the floor. ICM also created a dedicated route for the mobile robots, freeing even more space for other vehicles.
Operators know where the robots are at all times by monitoring the warehouse map on a tablet in their trucks. In addition, the mobile robots are equipped with audio signals and flashing lights to make themselves more noticeable in the busiest areas.
MiR’s fleet management software, MiR Fleet, efficiently distributes tasks between the mobile robots. The robot that can carry out the task in the shortest time is always selected, and the robots automatically dock in their charging station between tasks to minimize downtime.
With the 40+ saved hours each week, warehouse employees can now focus on higher-value activities like planning and optimization. Assessing and prioritizing pallets and their contents are complicated tasks that require insight and experience. Tasks that can only be solved by people.
“We are using the time we’ve saved to optimize and fine-tune warehouse flow,” adds Lorenzen. “We have learned to work in a completely different way. The more we explore what they can do, the more time we save using these mobile robots.”
The AMRs have improved more than just efficiency. According to Brian Brandt, warehouse manager at ICM, they also enhance the working environment and attract good employees.
“The design of the MiR robots is so simple, user-friendly, and logical to use. Being able to move something from A to B without even touching it, that’s really cool,” explains Brandt as he observes a MiR1000 robot moving past, carrying a 600 kg load of cleaning cloths on a pallet. “It’s just so much fun working with these robots.”
Looking Toward the Future
ICM management expects to automate even more processes in the future. Right now, robots handle product flow from the receiving area to the storage aisles, but in the long term, they envision using robots to automate processes in other areas such as product picking and delivery.
Contact NEFF for an Offsite Demo
The solutions experts at NEFF Automation are ready to give you MiR robot demo at your facility. We’ll observe your current logistics and help you determine whether MiR AMRs are a good choice for you.
Request a Consultation with one of our Experts