Visteon Corp. is the only Tier 1 automotive supplier exclusively dedicated to cabin electronics. The company claims to have the broadest portfolio of such technologies, putting it “in an unrivaled position to meet the needs of automobile manufacturers of smart digital cabins for electric and automatic vehicles.”
Visteon was spun out of Ford Motor Co. in 2000 and is headquartered in Van Buren Charger Township, Mich. It said its mission is to guarantee that drivers and passengers can interact easily, efficiently, and safely with their vehicles.
To stay competitive in a challenging global market, Visteon had to overcome challenges with internal logistics and workflows, as employees manually transported raw materials to production lines and returned with finished products. To save worker time and improve efficiency, the company turned to autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) from Mobile Industrial Robots A/S.
Visteon’s manually intensive processes for materials handling undermined productivity, increased the risk of physical injuries, and slowed transportation times.
The manufacturer looked for an automated, traceable, autonomous, flexible, and scalable solution that could work through three continuous shifts and automatically link the warehouse area with production.
In addition, Visteon needed a system that could support the personnel operating who were pushing heavy carts inside its facilities in Reynosa, Mexico. It also wanted to be able to trace the delivery of materials and increase staff productivity.
Solution and management
Visteon decided to implement a fleet of seven MiR100 robots from Mobile Industrial Robots. With these collaborative AMRs, the automotive supplier aimed to improve its internal logistics and take advantage of remote controls.
Six of the mobile robots are now constantly on the move between the warehouse and production, while one robot automatically picks up and delivers electronic component reels to and from the surface-mount technology (SMT) machines.
Visteon’s operational team is responsible for assembling and reviewing plant activity. They record the finished products and coordinate internal transportation from the monitoring center. The team constantly tracks the mobile robots with the MiRFleet management software.
“The communication the robots use is very simple,” said Julián Méndez Guerrero, an automatization engineer at Visteon. “With MiRFleet, we can keep accurate track of all the robots and their tasks from one command screen at all times. The robots can even communicate with each other to guarantee the most efficient delivery routes.”
Because all the information is concentrated in a single system, it is easy to manage the internal transportation and work with the robots, Visteon said. The real-time monitoring enables the company to keep track of components and ensure on-time deliveries of the right materials from the warehouse to production.
Results at Visteon
At Visteon, the mobile robots are contributing to a better work environment by taking over the heavy lifting from the employees and saving them many steps — and wasted time — each day.
MiR’s systems include open-source elements, allowing customers to develop solutions that are customized for their needs. Consequently, Visteon developed its own interface for the mobile robots, said Christian Grimaldo Ramos, a developer engineer. It allows employees to summon a MiR100 with a single push on a button at the kiosk lines, making the AMRs especially easy to work, he said.
The robots drive completely autonomously and avoid all obstacles on their routes, including people and other robots. The AMRs are therefore able to navigate in the same workspace as the employees. After some uncertainty, Visteon’s employees have come to see the robots as colleagues because they have taken on such tedious tasks, said Méndez Guerrero.
“With the addition of innovative MiR technologies, we’ve improved the functioning and operability of the production plant by connecting our production and storage areas to transport our products and raw materials,” said Arturo Robledo Ulloa, plant manager, Visteon Reynosa. “In addition, these robots enable our workers to be more productive as they focus on tasks that provide greater value for the company.”
“All of our robots are working three shifts a day, so the robots have hugely increased our capacity,” he added.
One MIR100 robot can deliver materials to three production lines singlehandedly, and and this automated and autonomous transportation has significantly increased the factory’s productivity.
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