Features

Automating Australian Made

Diverseco shares how its appointment as Official Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR)Partner will leverage Australia’s manufacturing productivity through today’s factory floor demands.

The supply chain crisis we are currently experiencing has highlighted the lack of manufacturing that is in Australia. Re-shoring products back in the nation has been a vital point of recovery, however the cost of labour is still an issue. Keeping the cost of manufacturing down whilst limiting human-to-human interaction is a spiking trend across Australian factory floors

“Automation is able to improve productivity of our local manufacturers, without increasing their head count and that’s what the Australian supply chain is looking for. Automation is also allowing Australian manufacturers to be competitive during this time,” Peter Hern, Business Development Manager – Automation at Diverseco says.

Robots have been prevalent in the automotive industry for almost 60 years now, but the use of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) is still relatively new. “AMR’s are very consistent in what they deliver, they don’t need a forklift or even people on the factory or distribution centre floor,” he says.

Peter says having a fleet of AMRs in a factory facility can assure assemblies, raw material or even finished product is moved where it needed to be without a lot of human intervention. Diverseco is currently working with a snack food manufacturer with multiple locations for its pallets of pre-packaged products. “Instead of hazardous forklifts, we’ve set up a system so the AMR’s can pick the pallets from the finished line and deliver them to their required destination based on a barcode in a safe and highly efficient manner,” he says.

EVOLVING INDUSTRY THROUGH PARTNERSHIP

In July, Diverseco announced the new addition of Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) to its growing portfolio of industry-leading automation and robotics systems. Peter says the company now has Konica Minolta and MiR as robotic partners that will be a pivotal success to various Australian industries.

MiR plays an important role in the evolving industry, logistics, and manufacturing sectors by adding highly reliable, robust, and safe collaborative autonomous mobile robots to organisations looking to improve their overall efficiencies through automation. “MiR is a Danish company that comes from a region that is extremely well known for its robotics. Diverseco is now the Integration Partner for MiR, supporting the local distributor, Konica Minolta. Our engineering capabilities and pool of resources alongside our partners, will ensure customers get maximum return on their investment in automation,” he says.

Peter says the MiR range caters for a capacity up to 1000kgs loadings that is most suitable to a large proportion of pallets that we see in manufacturing across Australia. These robots are now used by manufacturers in a wide range of industries and healthcare sectors to automate their in-house transportation. “For customers it’s all about having flexibility. Customers can change the location of where items need to go and add new locations without the need for costly reprogramming,” Peter says.

AUTOMOTIVE TO MOVE AUSTRALIA

Unlike automated guided robots (AGVs), autonomous mobile robots can move around obstacles independently, are easy to set up and don’t require fixed routes. Peter says this makes them safer, smarter and more flexible than AGVs.

“AGVs have served industries well for the past 30 years, but the path they follow is strictly determined by tracks on the ground of the warehouse. In today’s current climate with the logistics industry expanding at an unprecedented rate, thanks to increasing expectations from e-commerce consumers, flexibility is the future,” he says.

To mitigate the labour shortage logistics companies, have no choice but to boost productivity of the existing workforce by investing in more autonomous technology, like AMRs. And while large internationals within FMCG such as P&G, Coca-Cola & Unilever have seen success from their automation practices, businesses must keep innovating in order to compete better.

“The MiR has very good capabilities with APIs to be able to directly integrate with a current warehouse management solution. The flow of the product on the production line and where it needs to go in the warehouse is transmitted during real-time, which is controlled wirelessly with the MiR units,” Peter says.

For companies and manufacturers who are changing their processes on a daily basis, it’s very easy for AMR units to support and adapt to its operation, especially during a time of major uncertainty. “Our partnership has expanded our knowledge, skills and experience in supply chain, and we’ve got the ability to cover many different layers within an operation, right from product manufacturing to the logistics and everything else in between,” Peter says.

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