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Integrated Manufacturing and Logistics (IML)

Our main facility is what we are now calling the IML (Integrated Manufacturing and Logistics) demonstrator, formerly the Automation Systems Demonstrator (ASD) and it was also known as the Automation Systems Workbench (ASW). This consists of various manufacturing stations, serviced by Autonomous Guided Vehicles, for the assembly of automotive battery packs. The demonstrator includes, or will include:

  • a miniature Automated Storage and Retrieval System (AS/RS) which we have called a micro-warehouse, with a goods-to-person system (these are currently at the design stage).
  • the “legacy loop”, a conventional, conveyor-fed system comprising of two robotic stations (from ABB and Mitsubishi) and two pick and place stations (from SMC and Festo).
  • an autonomous station for simulated laser welding.
  • an autonomous station for camera-based visual inspection.
  • a manual station with an Operator Guidance System.
  • three MiR AGVs and eight trolleys configured for parts delivery about the IML and micro-warehouse.
  • The IML is supervised by a central PLC linked by EthenetIP and ProfiNET networks to the station PLCs.
  • Schneider electrical-energy monitors have been implemented on some of the stations.
  • We will be implementing a Festo (pneumatic) energy efficiency module as a demonstration of Industry 4.0.
  • There are two Kepware servers which monitor the PLCs and IoT devices, these report to data-analytics systems on IT managed virtual servers.
  • The IML will eventually be supervised by an MES system.