Automating material input and output flows is a challenge for companies seeking efficient manufacturing. The automation process at Synersight starts with a clear goal: to become more efficient, produce more and better quality while reducing costs.
The industrial sector is constantly seeking solutions to optimize and automate processes, which is why innovative AGVs have been a true revolution.
Mobile robotics is rapidly being implemented because Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGVs) adapt very flexibly to each company’s logistics operations, accelerating the digitization of logistic processes. AGVs allow for everything from complete warehouse automation to resolving the operations of a very specific area.
At Synersight, we are a global company providing comprehensive services and projects. We offer our clients solutions to maximize process efficiency through our industry expertise and the application of technology with a unique approach.
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AS AN OBJECTIVE
One of the challenges we face is to create a constant logistic flow of material input and output in welding lines, specifically for the company Gestamp at its Dueñas, Palencia headquarters.
The main challenge in this automation case was to meet very ambitious expectations, aiming to overhaul the company’s operations from a manual logistics and warehouse system to a fully automated solution. The goal was to ‘Achieve a safe working environment with no coexistence of people with forklifts. Establish closed and repetitive flows for the entry and exit of materials,’ says Mayte Albarrán, Continuous Improvement Manager at the Gestamp Palencia plant.
One project also had an added difficulty: creating two different working subflows. One for large component workflow (GE carts 1000 – 1500 kg) divided into two circuits, and another for small component workflow (PE carts 800 kg).
DESIGN, IMPLEMENT AND OPTIMIZE
After a detailed analysis of the client’s requirements, the implemented solution included Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs), a technology that provided raw materials to the production lines. It also featured software that generated and centralized warehouse orders, and in a fully automated and robotic manner, searched for the reference, performed transportation, and delivered it just in time to the operator. Additionally, during the return journey to its parking area, the AGV would automatically perform a series of checks to either return to parking or attend to another call if it had not been answered by another AGV.
After two years of intense work and in close collaboration with our client, we have successfully designed and implemented a high-level, fully automated logistics solution.
This is an ambitious project that, in addition to completely transforming logistics and warehouse work, included 14 Finished Production lines and two Intermediate Production lines to supply adjacent lines.
Through these welding lines, four different material flows will be carried out, which will be transported by AGVs using different types of carts.
- GE Cart Line: In each welding line, the operator will have one or more containers they will be working with. Each of these containers will be duplicated so that when one of them is finished, the operator can continue working with the other while the exchange of the first one is carried out using a unidirectional AGV.
In both circuits, A and B, there will be two parking zones where the AGVs will be waiting for a request to exchange any of the workstations. When an AGV receives a call from one of the workstations, it will start up, and its process will begin.
- PE Cart Line: This circuit encompasses all the cells of the circuit, and a total of 7 bidirectional AGVs will coexist within it. In each welding line, the operator will have one or two different carts (depending on the line) to work with. These carts contain several backs with components, each back being a different reference. Everything transported by these AGVs is raw material, which will be carried in three different types of carts. Depending on the workstation, the operator can work with these carts in two different way:
- Duplicated Cart at the workstation: In this case, the operator will have two identical carts. One of them will be placed next to the workstation, from which the operator will directly take components, and the other will be used to continue working while the AGV performs the exchange of the first one when it is empty.
- Single Cart at the workstation: In this case, the operator will take the backs from the cart and place them on a nearby shelf, which will serve as a buffer to continue working while the AGV performs the cart exchange once the backs are unloaded.
A COMPLETE IMAGE MAKEOVER
The true success of this project lies in going far beyond the implementation of a cost-effective, efficient, and competitive automated solution. It has completely transformed the company’s image, creating a modern, clean, orderly, and safe work environment. ‘We have addressed each of the critical points at each workstation, achieving a safe and organized work environment,’ says Mayte Albarrán.
The logistics system implemented, based on the highest level of automation and robotics, has significantly improved the conditions for employees. They have seen their primarily manual tasks evolve into much more interesting roles: system control and programming, inventory and stock management, and more. All of this is managed through our proprietary application, VSystems. It’s a web application that enables the programming and management of AGV fleets, enhancing system efficiency and productivity.