On the way towards “lot size one”, the organisation of material requirements in the factory regarding time, place and quantity is becoming increasingly dynamic. In order to make it possible under these conditions still to provide fully automated supplies, the benefits of automated eKanban solutions are combined with the mobility of automated guided vehicles (AGV). The resulting trains move fully automatically through the factory according to the “milk run” principle, delivering the required materials to the right place at the right time.
In the automotive industry, an increasing variety of variants and individualisation of orders has already led to a situation where just-in-time delivery of materials to assembly points is no longer sufficient. Instead, materials must now also be delivered in the correct order for assembly of the car in question. Mobile AGV equipped with smart sensors work here as automated “shooters”, supplying individual assembly points with the replenishments needed to complete a particular production order.
In addition to its use as a runner, an AGV can also function as a mobile FIFO rack directly beside an assembly point. In this way a rack can be used at several different workstations as production requires, meaning additional supply chain optimisation independently of product individualisation. Here the reliable integration of sensor data is a key prerequisite for the effective control of mobile material flow.