Automated pallet transport system using AGVs/AMRs. Process simulation guarantees successful implementation

22 Sep 2022 - Jarosław Hławiczka

Automation of internal logistics processes based on autonomous trucks is undoubtedly a costly investment. Currently, all material handling processes carried out by our company are preceded by the preparation of a digital model of the customer’s processes using FlexSim. It enables us to minimize the risk of initiating such activities without the certainty that they are well prepared, thought out and conducted in the right way. Carrying out a simulation that reproduces production conditions in virtual reality and conducting it correctly ends with a summary. It translates directly into all technical aspects of the prepared installation project and eliminates wrong decisions. This can bring considerable savings and provides hope for higher rates of return on such an investment.

Implementation of an AGV/AMR based system in 7 steps

Autonomous trucks in your company? Make sure you have good data to begin with!

To key to success is planning and this is based to a large extent on data. The better the data, the easier it is to design and implement an effective solution.

In this regard, many specialists agree and confirm the need and such a sequence of activities in the investment process.

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The assumed objectives of the simulation and associated benefits are:

  • Learning about the potential costs of implementation
  • Preparation of a proper layout of the production hall or warehouse
  • Determination of performance indicators
  • Preparation of an effective strategy
  • Acquisition of new data
  • Careful planning
  • Selection of different solution options
  • Selection of the right number of mobile robots to support the process
  • Preparation of the right supporting infrastructure
  • Learning about the material flows
  • Indication of project risk – elimination of so-called bottlenecks
  • Verification of the business logic of the process
  • Reduction of the risk of overestimating or underestimating investments.

Finally, it is worth considering what course of events might take place if you do not prepare a simulation of your processes and use the valuable information you can gain from it. There can be many worst-case scenarios… Assuming adequate performance resulting mainly from calculations does not take on board their variability which has a tremendous impact on the whole operation and whose impact you can predict at this very stage.

Thinking about ideal processes is wishful thinking; life shows us that failures, delayed deliveries, and other types of events are a common thing. Avoidance of, among other things, such events and minimization of their impact on the existing or designed processes justifies such an approach in the preparation process of material handling automation using such vehicles as AGVs/AMRs.

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