Siemens Takes Automation to the Next Level
Siemens has been busy finding ways to take their automation to the next level so McGee Storage and Handling and FlexQube joined forces to make this dream become a reality. Previously, Siemens was relying on an older AGV but was unsatisfied as it required too much human interaction. Thanks to FlexQube’s eQarts (semi-automated AGVs), we were able to implement the first installation of two eQarts as well as an automatic pallet transfer for material ranging between 50 and 2,000 pounds! From the first meeting to on-site training, we couldn’t be happier with how this project turned out!
Siemens’ ultimate goal was to keep high-value motor/gearbox technicians at their workstations, eliminating the need for them to transport materials between work cells. This is where McGee and FlexQube came in! We needed to fully automate a previously manual operation, and were going to start by installing two custom, automated AGVs, or eQarts. These were designed specifically to meet Siemens’ automation goals, which is the beauty of eQarts as customization is a capability that many AGVs are lacking. The eQart was designed to transport palletized product to a custom FlexQube station where the eQart automatically drops off the product before returning to the loading area to retrieve more product. This action is automatically repeated with absolutely no human interaction!
This project had two primary challenges: working around the Siemens’ employees and the completion of a project full of firsts. This project impacted the workflow of Siemens’ employees and we needed a high level of employee cooperation, especially during the mapping and setup phase of the eQart installation. As mentioned, this project truly tested the extent of FlexQube’s customization abilities with the modular design structure. As a team, we were prepared to jump in for strategy sessions. Though this project was thoroughly planned, we still made a few adjustments to make sure the eQarts performed the way they needed to.
Ultimately, the solution was to maintain a high level of communication and transparency not only as we were working around Siemens’ employees, but also as we worked on something that had never been done before with FlexQube eQarts. Our strong relationship with FlexQube assisted with the success of this project, and we’re looking forward to future endeavors with them!
At the completion of this project, we had a successful install of the two custom eQarts that featured an intersection between eQarts and automatic transfer for materials of various weights. Not only was one of our McGee resident experts, Duncan Anderson, able to be trained on FlexQube eQart installation, but we also received verbal confirmation that more eQart installations are expected to be running in the near future. This was a great opportunity to try out something new and provide our client with a top-of-the-line, customized product.
- eQart delivered directly to Siemens
- Top of eQart box acts as ramp
- Charging the backup battery (~2 hours)
- Laying tape for eQart
- Setup of automated pallet transfer
- Discussing zone adjustments
- eQart mapping process
- Creating missions for eQart to follow
- Onsite eQart training with Siemens
- Discussion of future eQart implementation