Montana Silversmiths recently installed anEgemin Packmobile® automated guided vehicle to perform robotic delivery of silver in their western style jewelry manufacturing facility. The Packmobile® transports work-in-process(WIP) goods between nine production lines and shipping. Within two days, the Packmobile® was installed and instantly increased production by tripling throughput.
Production personnel at Montana Silversmiths hand-carried trays and pushed carts loaded with thousands of silver components daily between stamping, water jet cutting, welding, and plating departments. This disruption caused a stoppage in production for non-value added transport. To overcome these interruptions, Montana Silversmiths employed runners (AKA spiders) who would manually transport parts after they had backed up in the assembly areas. Management was challenged to introduce a solution that would eliminate the need for personnel to leave their production stations and eliminate back ups in production.
Montana Silversmiths considered the use of pneumatic tubes, conveyors, and overhead chain drives as a solution to moving product. However, each did not provide the flexibility, changeability, or affordability of the Packmobile®. Additionally, the other solutions required a significant amount of infrastructure modifications and would have taken weeks to install. The Packmobile® was installed and operators trained in less than 48-hours.
The Packmobile® material transport robot was outfitted with three 2’ x 4’ wire shelves to securely hold thousands of custom silver jewelry components per delivery trip. Following a 1” wide invisible ultra-violet stripe on the floor, the Packmobile® safely travels the confines of the production and shipping departments, automatically stopping for personnel using a radar detection safety system. It can run for 30 miles on a single battery charge and has the ability to tow trailers behind. Operators simply press the “go” button to send it to the next stop after loading/unloading the required contents. The typical return-on-investment (ROI) for a Packmobile® system is less than 12-months.