Every day, a user-friendly mobile robot automates many kilometers of travel in the production of fireplaces and wood stoves at the company Scan A/S in Vissenbjerg on Funen. It relieves the employees, who have been particularly welcoming of their new flexible “rolling colleague.”
Since 1978, Scan has worked to design and produce exclusive wood stoves that are effective, attractive, and environmentally friendly as heat sources. But an equally important reason for the company’s ranking among the top 10 in the industry globally is that the management has always been quick to invest in innovative production technology. Scan, therefore, quickly became aware of the innovative, mobile robot MiR100 and asked Mobile Industrial Robots to demonstrate its possibilities.
“It is costly when internal transport costs man-hours. It challenges a company like ours because we are based in a country with high labor costs. Automation of internal transport is, therefore, an obvious way for us to improve throughput and boost our competitiveness. We have approximately 10,000 square meters of the working area, and we move items from one end of the factory to the other. Before we got MiR100, an employee had to push the trolley from place to place. But of course, it is problematic to use highly paid, manual labor for that type of task. Moreover, it is boring and monotonous work,” explains René Hannibaldsen, Production Manager at Scan A/S.
The MiR100 robot at Scan now makes 10 to 12 daily trips with deliveries of bolts, screws and other parts for assembling the stoves. The scan produces 14,000 stoves on an annual basis.
“Our new mobile robot can find its way around between 5-6 addresses in the factory, where it delivers goods from our goods reception to the production area. You could compare our MiR robot to a mailman, driving around in the area handing out mail, and then driving back to the post office to collect new packages and drive off again to deliver them,” says Hannibaldsen.
Traditionally, the deployment of robots in a production process has been an expensive, time-consuming, and cumbersome process. But not with MiR100.
“We save about half of a full-time position by automating this process. But we expect to achieve further gains from the investment in the long term, as we have several other tasks in mind that we expect MiR100 can solve for us. The MiR robot is so affordable and easy to program that it can be implemented quickly and it, therefore, recoups the investment quickly. Here at Scan, the MiR100 has paid for itself in less than a year” concludes the production manager.
The ability to carry up to 300 kg of goods at a time by using the MiR robot with a towing hitch is also a clear advantage that Scan plans to exploit.
“It was important for us to introduce this type of robot into our production processes and to accustom our employees to having robots moving about around us, as well as forklifts and other rolling equipment. Naturally, we were a little skeptical at first, because it has to move about among walking staff and forklifts with goods, but there have never been any collisions. It moves smoothly around all obstacles. And all the employees think that MiR100 is fun, so the robot has generally been well received,” saysHannibaldsen.