The future of intralogistics belongs to automatization

Deniza Cristian 15/12/2022 | 18:19

Jesper Sonne Thimsen, Sales Director Central & Eastern Europe at Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR), a leading manufacturer of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), summarised the key trends impacting the AMR market during the press briefing.


Increased adoption of robots for primary production will lead to complex applications with larger AMR fleets forcing interoperability, more advanced collaboration with other robots and IT systems, easier maintenance and AI features.

45% growth and counting. Robotization from the market perspective

Mobile robot solutions are already firmly established in transport and logistics, with more than 49,500 units sold in 2021, according to IFR Report. This is a significant increase of 45% on the previous year. The sales results also reflect the demand for automated mobile transport in manufacturing – more than 80% of the units sold were mobile robots for transport and logistics in indoor environments without public traffic. In 2021, unit sales increased by 47% to more than 40,400 units.

“The need to automate material handling is accelerated by the shortage of manpower and the need for resilient production and service. Recent years have proven that robotisation is the answer to these problems. MiR robots serve 24/7, coping with a changing work environment and changing needs, enabling manufacturers to redeploy their workforce to jobs focused on increasing the value chain, rather than those that are merely a cost to the company,” – says Jesper Sonne Thimsen, Sales Director Central & Eastern Europe at Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR).

Eaton and Forvia – a glimpse into successful implementations

Romanian Eaton is a global energy management company. The Arad plant manufactures products for the Life Safety business unit. MiR robots were deployed there to optimise intralogistics and safety processes. The main reason was to relieve the workforce and redeploy employees to higher value-added tasks such as complex teams. MiR robots work at Eaton six days a week, operating in two shifts. They transport more than 100 pallets each day.
Prior to the deployment of the AMRs, materials were transported by employees using manual forklifts. This took up unnecessary time, especially between shifts when assembly lines had to be prepared for incoming workers. The entire fleet consists of 5 MiR robots. The company plans to put the new MiR250s to work – picking electronic components from the controlled environment of the SMT area.

There are 14 MiR robots in operation at the Forvia plant in Písek (CZ). 7 of them, heavy-duty MiR robots, mainly MiR600s, work in the finished goods area, bringing empty pallets to the assembly lines and picking up full pallets for the logistics area. The second area where MiR250 robots operate is the replenishment of components from the warehouse to the assembly lines. The robots in the plant operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, covering all three shifts. The MiR robots were chosen as the best fit for the manufacturer’s needs: globally present, providing end-to-end solutions, autonomous, including Wi-Fi connectivity, independently mapping, with fleet software. The final factor was the level of service and maintenance provided by Mobile Industrial Robots, which was rated as very high.

In all these cases, the cost of ownership has also been strictly calculated, which has proved useful especially in the face of rising power costs.

“We are proud to say that our products, among other features, are distinguished by their low energy consumption. A full day of MiR operation costs just EUR 2.58. By implementing our AMR, customers receive excellent performance and low energy bills” – Jesper Sonne Thimsen said.

MiR – getting momentum in CEE

Mobile Industrial Robots is visible in the whole CEE region with 14 distributors and certified integrators and 4 MiRGo partners. There is a strong partner network in these countries, enabling MiR being close to the customers and their needs.

“We relay a lot on our partners in the region, their knowledge of local markets, our current and future customers. We believe that thanks to appointing Paul Olariu, our new Area Sales Manager, our position in Romania will be strengthened and more Romanian companies will be able to benefit from implementation of our solutions” – says Alberto Botarelli, Area Sales Manager for Eastern Europe and Finland at Mobile Industrial Robots.

AMRs in the future – what can we expect

During the meeting, Jesper Sonne Thimsen presented the key trends that will shape the future of robotics and automation. These are related to demographic changes (labour shortages), the need to optimise costs and technological developments.

The rapid expansion of the presence of AMRs and other robots in industry and new communication standards will increase the need for tools to manage fleets consisting of machines from different vendors. Wider use of the 5G communication standard will bring new opportunities for faster data exchange and faster robot response times. This trend is enhanced by the development of AI enabling AMRs to communicate directly and, for example, relieve the operator of the task of prioritising missions. Also, the blurring of boundaries between different ‘classic’ robot applications, and the merging of different devices, from different suppliers, into a single solution is already noticeable and will intensify over time.

“Seeing how our customers use the solutions we provide, we know that the possibilities are endless – it just depends on the willingness to solve a problem,” – Jesper Sonne of MiR concluded.

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