Within the past few years, the number of Fastems’ CNC automation solutions utilising automated guided vehicles (AGV) or autonomous mobile robots (AMR) has multiplied, and the demand keeps rising. Most typical AGV applications include material intralogistics, delivering tools to machines, and moving machining pallets between production process phases. The common goal of all the AGV projects is timely, safe, and economical transfers of production items and Fastems is actively developing ways to utilise these technologies efficiently with CNC automation.
“Today, the majority of our customer industries are using AGVs or AMRs in some way. Whether in aerospace, defense, machine building, medical or subcontracting, there are automated vehicles in many production shops,” says Mika Laitinen, solution sales director at Fastems. “When it comes to CNC automation and AGVs or AMRs, they can be of great help in reducing manual transfers and forklift operations, reducing buffer sizes, increasing the automation level, and making production flow more predictable and reproducible.”
Fastems’ manufacturing management software (MMS) brings higher intelligence for AGV use by overseeing all production orders and resources and scheduling every piece of this complex puzzle for timely customer deliveries. In practice, MMS schedules production based on customer orders and available production resources such as machine tools, cutting tools and raw materials then prompts the AGV’s fleet management software to perform the right transfers at the right time.
“We can ensure that all the AGV transfers are done just-in-time,” says Laitinen. “The benefits include reduced buffer storage sizes between process phases, and employees being able to prepare the right production resources in advance to reduce machine waiting times. And, when the unexpected happens such as a tool goes missing, an urgent customer order comes in, or a machine breaks, MMS adjusts the production – including the AGV movement – so that the most urgent jobs still get done in time and all the needed resources are in place when needed.”
In addition to customer deliveries, Fastems has multiple R&D projects in progress to understand and find the most productive and economical ways of AGV and AMR use in CNC automation. The scope of research involves not only current customer applications but also looks further beyond. With interfaces already created for several AGV fleet management software programs, and a dedicated in-house interfacing team, Fastems can integrate any AGV brand of the customer’s choice.