Mobile Industrial Robots recently announced a worldwide strategic collaboration with one of the world’s largest private companies, Koch Industries. Cooperation started between MiR and Guardian Industries, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, in 2020. To optimize productivity and internal workflows, Guardian Industries tested different solutions for automating inhouse transportation, including deploying MiR robots in two U.S. sites as pilot projects. The success of these pilot projects resulted in the agreement between Koch Industries and MiR to evaluate the technology globally.
“We have entered into this strategic agreement with MiR because it has the capacity and extensive knowledge to support us in streamlining and optimizing our logistics operations,” said Antonio Blanco, global category manager, Guardian Industries. “MiR offers flexible automation solutions that can be tailored to address our current and future operational needs. We are implementing this technology at multiple facilities because we consider MiR as a long-term partner that has the experience and capabilities to support us in achieving our productivity goals.”
With five autonomous mobile robots, MiR has the widest range of AMRs in the market to take over various transportation tasks, from moving smaller parts to heavy duty loads up to 2200 pounds (1000kg). The largest robots can automatically pick up, transport and deliver pallets. Regardless of the task, these collaborative AMRs are designed to work alongside human colleagues and relieve them of various physically strenuous work so they can focus on more valuable tasks.
The versatility of MiR’s robots, which can be customized with different top modules to meet customer needs, is another key reason why Guardian Industries chose to collaborate with MiR, and why other Koch companies are also evaluating possible implementations.
“We will implement the robots in multiple plants with different layouts and products, so it is important for us to have a logistics solution that can fit into all types of environments and easily adapt to new tasks,” said Peter Westrick, material handling engineer, Guardian. “That is exactly what MiR offers.”
Autonomous mobile robots on the rise
As demonstrated by MiR’s 55% increase in sales in the first quarter of 2021, Guardian Industries and Koch Industries are not the only companies that want to optimize internal transportation flows.
“We are pleased to enter into this collaboration and contribute to Guardian’s productivity goals by deploying our flexible, collaborative and safe mobile robots,” said Christian Clausen, sales director, MiR. “In general, we see a great potential across industries for optimizing internal logistic workflows, from inbound and outbound logistics to material handling in manufacturing plants, and our industry-graded robots can be deployed directly into these different workflows. The plant setups of today are agile and highly dynamic, and people, equipment, pallets and other obstacles can appear in what used to be open passageways.”
“Our mobile robots fit these ever-changing environments very well,” Clausen added. “With their collaborative, autonomous navigation, automated material transportation becomes flexible and easily adaptable without additional cost or disruption to processes.”
According to robotics analyst Frank Tobe, “Almost every MiR pilot project has resulted in the client subsequently ordering multiple MiR AMRs. There are many reasons, but two stand out: First, with the addition of low-cost shelving and handling accessories, clients keep finding new applications for these versatile mobile robots, and second, MiR's navigation, fleet and handling software is simple to install and activate and provides continuing ROI. MiR focuses on flat-surface apps, which are ideal for almost all manufacturing and logistics operations around the world. I can see why Koch and other inventive multi-business conglomerates are interested in MiR. It's an ideal fit of need and product.”
MiR has a global distribution network in more than 60 countries and local offices in New York, San Diego, Singapore, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Tokyo and Shanghai.