- SPECIAL REPORTS
One maintenance product, the Breech-to-Muzzle weapon cleaning system, is even used by the U.S. Armed Forces. The system combines a flexible cleaning rod with a series of brushes and patches that are now standard issue for many U.S. military personnel.
ADAM intelligent AGVs transport parts to assembly stations and manufactured products to inventory autonomously and safely. Photo courtesy RMT Robotics
In 2005, Otis expanded its Lyons Falls, NY, manufacturing facility by 43,000 square feet and decided to make it a lean plant. The company evaluated each process to improve efficiency, increase accuracy and eliminate waste throughout the building. However, budget constraints forced the company to keeps its manual parts-handling and delivery system.
That changed in 2009 when Otis implemented an automated just-in-time delivery system using three ADAM intelligent automated guided vehicles (AGVs). The AGVs transport parts to assembly stations and manufactured products to inventory, thereby eliminating worker congestion and assembly errors caused by the placement of a large quantity of inventory on the floor around the workstations.
Made by RMT Robotics, ADAM is programmed to move parts and products safely and autonomously—undaunted by obstructions, machinery and people. Other components of the delivery system include automatic battery charging stations, wireless call buttons and an ADAM Commander interface computer.
Each workstation features a call button. When the station operator calls ADAM by pressing the button, the ADAM Commander selects the appropriate AGV for the task and then wirelessly sends the dispatch instruction to that vehicle. Once it receives the destination and task, the AGV is free to autonomously navigate through the facility to the destination. Unlike conventional AGVs, ADAM requires no wires, targets or markers to reach its destination.
When the AGV arrives at the destination, it is manually loaded with product and then assigned delivery locations by the operator via an on-board keypad interface. The operator can select any destination in the building from a pick list, or choose to send some of the load to a first destination and the remainder of the load to a second destination. For example, the AGV can start in production and bring one tote directly to an assembly workstation and the second tote to inventory.
Otis Technology Inc. makes 180 firearm maintenance products, including the Breech-to- Muzzle weapon cleaning system used by the U.S. Armed Forces. Photo courtesy Otis Technology Inc.
Once tasked, the AGV will autonomously navigate and deliver the products to the destination in the selected sequence. En route, the AGV will also monitor the state of its battery charge and, if time permits, automatically stop at one of the opportunity charging stations for a rapid charge of 30 to 45 seconds.
Over the past two years, the AGVs have done more for Otis Technology than simply transport materials from point A to point B. They have enabled the company to create a truly lean manufacturing environment.
“By marrying ADAM with other lean strategies, we have improved on-time deliveries from a success rate of 85 percent to 99.92 percent,” says Larry Williams, president of operations for Otis Technology. “We have better visibility into the management of our inventory, resulting in a savings of over $2 million dollars.”
For more information on intelligent AGVs, call 905-643-9700 or visit www.rmtrobotics.com.