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AGV IIoT Monitoring: Lean Six Sigma Monitoring

Manufacturers can now concretize data and make it actionable, predictive and fundamentally useful.
By John Hayes

This additional cost, combined with downtime, is rarely factored into vendor calculations and user ROI calculations. Omitting this cost is naïve at best and irresponsible at worst. For this reason, asset-monitoring tools and remote management capabilities in this new IIoT paradigm offer significant value to companies by reducing maintenance labor costs associated with nuisance error.

IIoT from a Different Perspective
The importance of the IIoT in logistics and manufacturing production is quite different from a lean-manufacturing perspective. In conducting an in-depth root-cause analysis, engineers determined the best approach to building a flexible and cost-effective IIoT monitoring solution. Free from being saddled with a commitment to a specific technology solution, this Six Sigma approach paved the way for authentic value stream mapping (VSM). This agile approach, coupled with a non-stop IIoT data stream, ensures that the future state of customers can be modified and adapted to needs as they arise.

This different view (one of robotics, not forklifts) has driven the use of a sensor suite, rather than an individual guidance type. This means that many different sensors can be used to achieve the best and lowest-cost solution to the customer. The sensor suite allows for the system to be used in a manner that takes the best of higher-costing AGV-type systems and lower-cost cart-type systems.

A sensor-based IIoT approach helps to ensure the new solution is flexible and capable of complex systems (such as with higher-costing legacy AGV solutions), as well as cost-effective (such as with low-cost cart-type systems). The recent introduction of real-time, high-level, non-stop asset-monitoring technology defines materials handling as a gamechanger. This approach positions AGVs with software that communicates with vehicles for traffic control, order generation, and routing locally and remotely.

Vecna Robotics' RT4500-DO is built to automate the point-to-point transport of flatbed cars or carts.

Part of the data transferred from the vehicle is local vehicle status information with respect to system anomalies. This data is also transferred directly to clients for immediate action, providing the maintenance and support team with the ability to fix issues and keep efficiencies high.

The most significant advancement is that local maintenance or support persons will never see these issues; with the use of the IIoT and the data transferred directly to the service facility, issues are assessed and addressed before they become visible to an end user. This nearly eliminates all user error handling and leaves these potential issues in the hands of the manufacturer.

John Hayes, Vecna Robotics' VP of sales and logistics, is a widely respected thought leader for the manufacturing, distribution and materials-handling industries. For more than 20 years, Hayes has been evaluating, designing, developing and implementing innovative software and hardware solutions, with a focus in the AGV space. He is a Supply & Demand Chain Executive "Pros to Know" recipient. Contact John at john.hayes@vecna.com or follow him on Twitter (@VecnaLogistics).

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