Based in Vicenza, Italy, Amer SpA develops and designs AC and DC motors, gear motors, steering systems, and drive systems for vehicles. The company sought a way to fully automate the material handling in its production facility to maximize efficiency in the face of changing manufacturing operations. An innovative solution involving a Modula vertical lift module, AGV robots, and integrated software allowed Amer to accomplish its goal.
With ever-shifting changes in its production, Amer wanted a way to move parts from one section of the operation to another without requiring human intervention. Doing so potentially would save time previously spent by relying on human resources to pick and replenish goods as well as boost the accuracy of material handling. The hope was that an integrated system relying on automated storage and retrieval solutions and automated guided vehicle (AGV) robots could meet the requirements.
Amer had used Modula vertical lift modules in other production capacities previously. For the plant requiring full automation, Amer selected a single Modula ML75 to hold the semi-finished goods. The ML75 is 20 feet tall (6,100 mm) with trays that are 161.41 inches wide (4,100 mm) that can hold 1,653 pounds (750 kg). The unit receives semi-finished goods from a MiR robot and stores them as long as needed – a few hours to a few days – before another MiR retrieves the goods and carries them to another part of the factory for completion of the work.
The VLM is programmed to move the needed tray into position as the MiR heads in its direction. The robot arrives, docks by scanning the QR Code in front of the bay, picks up or places the material, and confirms the end of the operation, with no requirement for human intervention. All operations are coordinated with the use of AMER SW supervisor, MiR fleet manager, and Modula’s warehouse management system (WMS) software.
“From the beginning, our goal was to have a totally automated storage system, that is, fully unmanned and able to dynamically integrate with the production and shipping processes, said Daniele Fontò, Amer Production Manager. “Modula was the best solution not only for its storage capacity but also for its handling potential.”
“We are very satisfied with the project we have developed together with Modula,” Fontò said. “This is a rather ‘smart’ process innovation that can be implemented in the production departments with the efficient use of established networks, automation, and safety systems.”