Founded in 1992 to spread the word of wellness traditions, Infinitus is a manufacturer of Chinese herbal supplements. The Jiangmen plant in Guangdong, which first opened its doors in 2005, is one of the company’s production bases.
First opened in 2005, the plant found was at a competitive disadvantage because its manufacturing equipment had been used for more than 10 years. And Infinitus’ reliance on human labor to transport materials was limiting productivity.
So it decided to automate, but the initial plan to use automated guided vehicles was halted due to the length of time required to lay guidance tracks.
The plant underwent a significant overhaul in 2017 and reopened in October 2018. During construction, Infinitus added three MiR200 autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) from Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR). The robot work in the packaging production line where there are 10-plus types of material involved.
With a payload capacity of up to 200 kg (440 lbs), a MiR200 robot can be configured with various top-loaded accessories and attachment hooks for traction. Infinitus encountered MiR’s AMRs at a packaging tradeshow in Guangzhou in 2018, while reconstruction was still in full swing at the Jiangmen plant.
“MiR200 robots are easy to assemble, flexible, and didn’t require the installation of additional infrastructure,” said Zhou Chaowei, Senior Director of the Infinitus Xinhui Production Center. “They allow us to optimize human resource allocation and maintain well-balanced workflows in terms of traffic and productivity. Our workshop floors see a lot of foot traffic and frequent material transfers, so we were concerned about the safety of our personnel working alongside the MiR200 robots, as well as whether the robots could keep up with production speeds. Since they were deployed, the MiR200 robots have met our expectations in terms of flexibility and efficiency, and their unique appeal has been welcomed.”
The three AMRs are managed by MiR’s fleet management software. Based on production needs of the workshop, the software manages task priority and designates the most suitable robot for any given task. Obstacles such as personnel, equipment, and pallets often appear in the robots’ path, and MiRFleet directs the robots on how to safely navigate multiple paths and intersections. The software also monitors daily parameters such as power levels, issuing instructions for the robots to visit a charging station and recharge themselves when necessary.
Case Study Breakdown
|Location: Jiangmen, China|
|Challenge: increasing productivity|
|Partner: Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR)|
|Robot: 3 MiR200 autonomous mobile robots|
|Task: materials handling|
|Results: increased production levels 3.5 times|
The MiR robots not only phased out excess manual labor, but it also streamlined human resource allocation. This allowed Infinitus to use employees more effectively. It also empowered personnel to engage in work that creates more value, such as material inspection.
Production levels at the Infinitus plant showed a marked improvement following its renovations and the deployment of the MiR robots. “Current production levels are 3.5 times higher than before,” Chaowei said.
And in addition to transforming intralogistics efficiency, the mobile robots also added brand value for Infinitus. Owing to its use of intelligent manufacturing and automation, Infinitus’ Jiangmen plant has become a shining example of how technology can enhance productivity.