Saving time in production by automating logistics

 
PuntoArt is a small Italian company providing major fashion brands with embroidery and other trimmings based on its own designs. It complements traditional craftsmanship with hi-tech methods, such as hot air welding and laser cutting.
 
Each product goes through various phases, some of which are highly automated and some manual. The share of automation has steadily risen since the company was established 30 years ago. Despite this trend, raw materials and half-finished products are still carried in cases from workstation to workstation.
 
Manual logistics is basically quite practical, as orders are generally unique and quite small, and products to be carried are light. Also, the range and order of manufacturing methods vary with each order. The manufacturing process is, however, spread on two floors, which means that workers spend a considerable amount of time waiting for the elevator with their cases.
 
The L4MS experiment was initiated to find out how AGVs (Automated Guided Vehicles) could be used to tackle the elevator and boost intra-factory logistics at PuntoArt. Eutronica, a startup founded four years ago, took on the challenge. Eutronica has developed Jobot, a light AGV for small loads in order to offer an inexpensive choice for SMEs.
 

Experiment with OPIL turned into permanent solution

 
At the beginning of the experiment a digital twin was created to demonstrate current logistics and simulate Jobot’s future paths and all functions. After the 3D simulation it was decided that Jobot will pick up and deliver loads between workstations and use the elevator independently whenever needed. Workers will call Jobot with their tablets or smartphones and select its next task on the interface.
 
“We were able to implement OPIL modules directly to our software with minor modifications. The most important changes that were necessary concerned the scheduling of the tasks assigned to Jobot and the interface with the lift,” says Luca Valli, CEO of Eutronica.
 
 
After getting in touch with the elevator manufacturer, Eutronica created a connection between the AGV and the elevator’s control system. Now Jobot rides the elevator up and down daily.
 
“We wanted to make the tested solution permanent by acquiring Jobot. We also decided to invest in a new production line in a new factory. Logistics automation solutions can be used there as well in the future,” says Samanta Bruschi, Production Manager at PuntoArt. 
 

Ready for larger and taller buildings with the help of 3D simulation

 
According to Valli, OPIL modules will shorten Jobot’s route to market. One important factor is the module for 3D simulation.
 
“PuntoArt was already quite aware of the improvements we were aiming at. So, a 3D simulation wasn’t essential in this case. We, however, noticed that simulations can be very useful in the future when working with a more complicated process and suggesting bigger changes,” 
 
Another important addition brought by the experiment was the use of elevator.
 
“After the experiment we developed our elevator option even further to accommodate several floors, which can be extremely important for example in hospitals. During the Covid-19 pandemic, we have developed a system that carries UV-C lamps from floor to floor for disinfection,” Valli says.
 

Solution brought about considerable time savings

 
Benefits for PuntoArt were measured during the experiment and estimated after the final deployment of the solution. The time spent on manually moving materials reduced significantly.
 
- Before the experiment workers spent 20% of their time (Full Time Equivalent) manually moving materials between the two floors. After the implementation this was reduced to approximately 2%.
 
 
The final cost of the solution with one Jobot for PuntoArt was EUR 15 000. 
 
 
 

OPIL modules used in the PuntoArt solution by Eutronica:

  • Digital twin: the external 3D simulation tool Visual Components
  • Task Planner
  • Robot Agent Node
  • Human Agent Node: to enable Human-Machine Interface

Partners in the L4MS experiment:

  • Factory: PuntoArt Srl, small manufacturer of embroidery and other trimmings
  • Solution provider: Eutronica Srl, startup manufacturing AGVs
  • System integrator: Eureka System Srl
  • Support: Research centre E. Piaggio at University of Pisa

 

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RAMP is the digital marketplace for robotics capable of accelerating productivity in Small and Medium-size Enterprises and of broadening markets for Technology Solution Providers. We achieve this by making it easy for SMEs and Solution Providers to work together in ways that benefit both parties: As a manufacturing SME you gain access to robotics and digitisation technologies to improve efficiency and productivity. As a Technology Solution Provider you reach customers faster and enjoy access to a far larger market.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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