Driven by the development of e-commerce and the need for increased automation in logistics centers and factories alike, the AGV (automated guided vehicle) market is growing rapidly. At the same time, the AGV offer is becoming denser with new competitors on the market but also with historic players in handling who are automating their product ranges.
It is in this highly competitive context that the Japanese transport equipment manufacturer NKC has set out to find new ways of differentiating itself through new services and more innovative SLAM AGV.
In 2020, NKC is looking for a connected solution to better understand the use of its AGVs, which is a prerequisite for marketing its equipment-as-a-Service.
With a successful track record in AGVs, InUse was selected in early 2021 by NKC to help design the first connected services to be deployed on their new AGV Robot Fork 15.
Using data from the AGV's PLC and navigation system, the InUse Machine Relationship Management (MRM) solution enabled NKC to better understand how the AGVs were being used. Moreover, the new services delivered provide concrete answers to the needs expressed by NKC's customers:
In addition, each identified fault is the subject of a contextualized alert including a diagnosis of the type of fault encountered (safety, non-compliance with missions, faulty battery, etc.), the geo-location of the incident and a resolution procedure.
This combination offers concrete means to fleet managers and technicians to resolve incidents more quickly and increase AGV availability.
The deployment of the solution has resulted in numerous operational benefits for NKC's customers.
The identification and quantification of micro-stops due to repeated obstacles in the AGV's path, for example, has enabled planned missions to be adjusted. These adjustments favor higher battery longevity and a better match between planned missions and their actual execution.
Similarly, the geo-location of incidents enables operators to be guided more quickly to the site of intervention and, thanks to the recommended procedures, to significantly reduce the time taken to resolve failures.
The proactive service provided by NKC is positively perceived by users and ultimately contributes to improving customer satisfaction.
Moreover, the numerous data collected offer many indications on the real use of AGVs.
"In the space of just a few months, our teams have been able to appropriate the InUse MRM solution and deploy new digital services that satisfy our customers with complete autonomy and agility. We are now ready to scale up and start transforming our model to equipment-as-a-service."
Mitsukawa Ryusuke, Logistics Promotion Office Manager, NKC
About NKC :
A subsidiary of the Japanese Nakanishi Metal Works Group, NKC offers a broad portfolio of industrial equipment and supplies, including bearings, conveyors, automatic control devices, AGVs and more.