Team HAMLet - Improving logistics for competitiveness
HAMLet (Hybrid Automated Mould Logistic solution) is a mould changing and materials handling logistic solution using Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) interacting with human operators to improve the logistics of mould change and material delivery operations.
Procalçado, the manufacturing partner, is one of the largest European producers of footwear components with 40 years of experience. The overall objective of the Application Experiment is to validate the cost-effectiveness and rapid deployment of mobile robots for moulding logistics in the footwear industry.
The HAMLet solution will improve logistics by automating all delivery actions for raw material pickup and mould transport. Improved indoor logistics will reduce machine downtime, and the improved just-in-time delivery will enable systematic mould preheating, which improves production efficiency and waste reduction.
Procalçado currently uses SAP for production planning. For this experiment, a custom-built application EL2OPIL (Event Logistics to OPIL) will be developed that will act as interface between SAP and OPIL (Open Platform for Internal Logistics). SAP will communicate production time planning, EL2OPIL will generate task requests sent to OPIL, and OPIL will, based on that information, ensure that moulds are delivered and prepared on time by the AGVs. The solution is developed by EWEN, an expert in energy efficiency and process optimisation.
“In addition to the intangible benefits from this experiment, HAMLet will bring clear operational benefits with a very positive impact. We are looking to have increased productivity, reduction of installation costs, quality optimisation, extending process and worker safety, the possibility of remote monitoring, and through these, a competitive advantage”, says José António, Operations Director at Procalçado.
The improvement of logistics and the time saved in the mould change process will both contribute to the increase of production. The use of AGVs for automated pickup and delivery with roller trays will greatly improve human safety and reduce operator stress.
Learning from those who may create value
With the L4MS Application Experiment, the solution provider EWEN has the opportunity to collaborate closely with the end-user groups on understanding their main requirements and best practices. This will contribute to increasing EWEN’s knowledge and enabling a more active role in areas related to Industry 4.0 and Manufacturing, especially in implementing innovation in the industrial logistics market. At the same time, HAMLet gives EWEN a unique opportunity to accelerate its entry into the industrial logistics market and to evaluate the role that OPIL and Visual Components could play in the construction of future solutions.
“EWEN sees that OPIL integration and involvement in the L4MS initiative accelerates reaching this goal. When ecosystem knowledge is shared, development costs can be reduced, which can boost end-user acceptance as OPIL usage spreads through Europe”, says Carlos Santos, Technological Manager at EWEN.
Potential of this Application Experiment
EWEN sees that the proposed solution within the L4MS Application Experiment clearly exceeds the current state of the art as it presents ground-breaking objectives not only for the Manufacturing SME participating in the experiment, but also to the whole industry. Because the issue transverses many companies, it can have a big impact on employees’ quality of life, skills and competences and reduce occupational health hazards while at the same time boosting productivity.
“The results of this experiment will enable EWEN to extend this solution to its solid customer base in industries such as cork, glass, tobacco, textile, rubber and plastics. EWEN is committed to expanding its involvement in AGVs, since it is part of the company’s short-term goals”, says Luis Ribeiro, Sales Manager at EWEN.
The success of the HAMLet experiment proposes to pave the way to strengthening EWEN’s competitiveness among its large portfolio of customers that are key performing industrial players. The transfer of scientific and technological knowledge will promote the digital transformation of industry through training, synergies and innovation in manufacturing SMEs.
After L4MS, “EWEN Tech”
EWEN, founded in 2004 as an energy service company, has extensive experience gained over many years in the field of energy efficiency. It is a company with a strong entrepreneurial spirit – two-thirds of turnover are currently generated by products and systems developed in-house.
EWEN is particularly geared for introducing energy efficiency in energy-intensive industries and large buildings. EWEN’s process studies enable proposing the best measures to reduce energy costs and improve productivity. The company has developed a wide variety of software tools and products for data mining and monitoring to address any improvement issue.
“Because we have huge expertise in data processing and integration technologies, and our performance in engineering projects has earned us the trust of the largest industrial customers in Portugal, we are now naturally involved in the optimisation of processes”, says José Lourenço, Technical Manager at EWEN.
The entry of technology into companies came to change the market. Through intelligent machines, software and other resources, the automation of industrial processes has become a reality. Today, we see many examples of totally automated factories and warehouses.
“It’s not about the future of business, but about today. More and more companies have access to this possibility, so it is important for EWEN to continue its growth into the automation marketplace”, says Carlos Santos.
In this context, a new company dedicated exclusively to process automation services, “EWEN Tech”, will appear in the market by the end of 2019. It will complement EWEN’s positioning and recognition in the field of engineering, being a new actor in the business value chain and adding HAMLet’s results to the L4MS marketplace.