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Sherpa Mobile Robotics installs fleet of AMRs for line-side automation at FPT Industrial

Sherpa Mobile Robotics is providing further details of their first installation with fleet management.

For a several weeks now, six Sherpa-B autonomous mobile robots have been co-working in total safety in the midst of humans, automated guided vehicles, forklifts and other industrial machines at FPT Industrial.

The FPT Industrial plant in Bourbon-Lancy, in the Saône-et-Loire region, assembles 35,000 high-powered gas and diesel engines per year, destined for agricultural machinery, buses and trucks.

These parts are large and heavy, and with the specific tools needed for their assembly, the pallets were taking up too much space in the assembly line. Parts flow management and operator movements were not optimized.

Malaurie Faivre, logistics product manager at FPT, says: “We wanted to improve the logistics flow and the working conditions of our operators.”

To achieve its objectives, FPT called on Sherpa Mobile Robotics and its mobile and collaborative robots. Unlike AGVs, these AMRs do not rely on dedicated paths. They are programmable to be able to adapt to their environment with its constraints and constant evolution.

SMR proposed a complete reorganization of the assembly line with the support of a fleet of six robots managed by its Fleet Management System software.

Objective: one piece flow

The assembly was reorganized into two parallel lines separated by a central aisle. One line is dedicated to the preparation of the sub-assemblies and the other to the assembly of the 150 engines to be produced each day, working in two shifts.

The six robots are deployed in twos, two each for the three assembly stations for motor supports, motor flywheels and basins. At the robot’s departure point, one person prepares the parts. When the robot arrives at the assembly line, another person is there to receive the parts.

The robots have three programmed missions for each of the assembly stations. Each robot brings a prepared and assembled sub-assembly from the preparation area to the assembly area and then returns.

Central to this organization is line side management that is both automated and mobile. The operators stay in their work area. The Sherpa robots come to them, carrying the parts and specific tools.

The parts are prepared elsewhere, in the preparation line, where they are unpacked and laid out ready for assembly, along with the necessary tools.

Damien Winling, technical director at SMR, says: “The robot arrives at the right time with the right part.

“Using this fleet makes assembly tasks less arduous and reduces the risks associated with transporting loads. Because the flow is managed more smoothly, this increases productivity. The robots are used 20 hours a day. In total, 450 robot missions are carried out daily.”

Faivre says: “By increasing our productivity and getting closer to one piece flow, these robots are fully in line with our 4.0 strategy.”

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