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Spool storage system operated by AMR (Autonomous Mobile Robots)

A tire manufacturer approached us with a challenge regarding the storage of semi-finished products placed on large steel spools, which served various production stations within their factory.

The existing approach of storing spools on the floor in different parts of the halls led to occupying a significant floor area and spending time searching for spools with the required materials.

At that time, the client had already automated spool transportation within the facility and was considering automating their storage in a high-bay warehouse.

After examining the issue and analyzing the process of spool receiving and issuing, we decided to collaborate on the development and construction of a production-oriented high-bay storage warehouse.

The location chosen for the warehouse was right next to the machine producing materials wound onto the spools.

The warehouse was equipped with docks designed for automatic spool receiving and issuing to and from the warehouse by autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), including:

• 2 double-spindle docks operated by a robot for spool exchange with the material-producing machine,

• 2 triple-spindle docks serviced by carts transporting 3 spools each,

• 2 single-spindle docks operated by carts carrying 1 spool each or manually by an operator.

A particular feature of this application was the adaptation of the warehouse structure, stacker crane layout, and docks to the specific shape of the spools, which varied based on individual characteristics of the facility.

Our project team executed this task flawlessly, devising the structural elements, gripping and transferring mechanisms for spools within the stacker crane and exchange docks.

The entire warehouse complex is managed by dedicated WCS (Warehouse Control System) software based on the Scada AVEVA platform (formerly Wonderware) and integrated with a SQL Server database.

To ensure full functionality, the warehouse complex was also integrated with the existing systems within the facility, including:

• The production management system,

• The spool flow management system, and

• The fleet of autonomous mobile robots.

This integration required the development and implementation of new interfaces to these systems in collaboration with the facility's IT departments.

One of the crucial aspects we focused on was user safety. All warehouse docks are automatically operated, so we devised special safety solutions to protect users from unauthorized access to areas where machines operate in automatic mode.

As a result, the client received a fully automated spool distribution system controlled entirely by the IT system, without human involvement.

This automation led to reduced production and storage costs through the automated management of spool locations, issuance, and production. Additionally, the facility reclaimed valuable floor space that was previously occupied by spool storage, optimizing the overall efficiency of their production process.