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AUTOMATION AND ISLANDS OF WORK

By: Eastern Lift Truck Co., Inc. March 31, 2021
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In both manufacturing, warehousing and logistics, operation teams are constantly looking on how to improve throughput and efficiency of how materials move throughout their building. For decades it has always been conveyor systems or simple manual labor. In recent years there have been multiple solutions that hit the market that completely automate horizontal transport of materials from one place to another. 

A few of these solutions come in the form of robotic fork trucks or AMRs (autonomous mobile robots) that are able to lift pallets or pull carts across a building providing an efficient solution to material transport. In many cases an automated tugger or fork truck is the perfect solution but there are many where a larger vehicle is not. While these solutions are infrastructure free, there are some facilities that do not have the room for a robotic fork truck to maneuver properly or safely. 

Enter OTTO Motor's Material Movement Platform with the ability to meet the demand for automation and connecting islands of work. 

An island of work is simply an area where work is done like any typical work cell. These can be kitting lines, packaging areas, picking areas, racking or manufacturing lines. The idea of connecting islands of work is the ability to transfer materials from one to another without needing hardwired infrastructure. The goal is to remove the requirement for: 

  • Manual fork trucks

  • Manual order pickers

  • Carts or tugger trains

  • Miles of conveyor - case or pallet 

Here is the challenge from one of OTTO Motor's customers:

"We needed a flexible and efficient solution to a complex logistical problem" they wanted to ensure the right materials were delivered to the right spot at the right time, and they wanted a safer option to replace their tow-motors. 

When assessing options for automation, a lot of facilities were not designed with AMRs in mind. This lends itself to areas that don't provide enough room for an automated fork truck to work in. However, OTTO's form factor can move and operate in smaller areas.  

The OTTO acts as a mobile material conveyance system that will remove the need for additional conveyor systems and manual labor. Associates will be able to work smarter and not harder alleviating long back and forth movements and be able to focus on more productive tasks. 

OTTO utilizes laser-based perception and artificial intelligence to dynamically move through facilities, infrastructure-free. OTTO combines the benefits of manual labor, conveyors, and AGVs to provide the most advanced method of material transport. 

The OTTO material handling platform can interface with existing conveyors and deliver product to the next step in the existing workflow, interact with other stationary automated systems like pallet wrappers or move carts around. There is a myriad of opportunities for these robotic solutions to improve your workflow.

Whether it's labor scarcity or increased demand that is driving your need for automation, there is a solution out there that can increase productivity, drive down costs and deliver it all within a favorable ROI. 

Contact the systems group today or Jason Dodge directly for further information and to get started on your project today.  

Jason Dodge Automation Manager | Systems Division Eastern Lift Truck Co., Inc. Cell: (609) 605-1043 Email: jdodge@easternlifttruck.com

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