Reduce long downtime of mobile robots (AGV/AMR)

Case study of the Indoorway solution based on an implementation at an FMCG manufacturer.

With data from Indoorway, customer improved

the reduction in the number of long stops of mobile robots (AGV/AMR)
8 weeks
time from start of measurements to first results

About the customer

International manufacturer of FMCG products with a global reach. It supplies its products to 130 markets in Europe, Africa, North and South America and Asia. The company employs more than 48 000 people spread across various divisions, while in Poland more than 2 000 employees work in modern factories near Lodz.

Description of the problem

The customer noticed a serious problem in the operation of mobile robots (AGV/AMR), which were not systematically delivering raw materials to production. The mobile robots were able to hang up for long periods of time, blocking travel on communication routes. One of the robots was able to block the work of three others, which significantly reduced production efficiency and the amount of finished product produced. Manual monitoring was difficult because the area requiring monitoring was about 22 000 m². A solution was therefore needed that would immediately and automatically notify the maintenance team of unplanned stops.

Indoorway system implementation

  • We have installed measuring devices over an area of 22 000 m² in the warehouse and production areas. We installed a locator on each mobile robots (AGV/AMR) that records its location and time spent in specific zones in real time.
  • The customer has access to live data, can monitor the movement of each cart individually and replay the traffic over a selected period and area. Detailed traffic information is available in the form of spaghetti diagrams and heat maps.
  • For the customer, a key element of the Indoorway system is a system of automatic SMS notifications for the Maintenance Department. Depending on the time of the mobile robot's stoppage (6, 15, 30 minutes), the notification with information about the forklift's place of stoppage goes to the appropriate warehouse employee or the manager of the entire shift. So the employee can immediately react by resetting the forklift and returning it to work.

By analyzing heat maps and spaghetti diagrams, we have identified areas with high mobile robots (AGV/AMR) traffic.

Solutions introduced and effects

The data from the Indoorway system not only made it possible to accurately identify the problem and make improvements, but also to implement comprehensive changes improving the competence of warehouse and production employees.

The main activities included:
  • Training for the factory crew, to refine training in resetting mobile robots (AGV/AMR). This enabled virtually every warehouse worker to get a mobile robot back on line, rather than just a few people.
  • A notification system for unscheduled standstills of mobile robots (AGV/AMR) was set up, which monitored a very large area of mobile robots traffic, allowing maintenance workers to respond instantly to the alerts they received.
  • The implemented changes helped reduce the number of long stoppages by 48% in just the second month of operation, affecting the delivery of raw materials on time to the production line.
  • The first effects were visible as early as 8 weeks after the implementation of the system and the system monitored on an ongoing basis whether the introduced benefits were sustained over time and how they were affected by newly introduced changes in the production process.

Check out what such a project might look like for your company

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