The factory encountered several challenges, notably the considerable distance between machine locations and the packing line (spanning 50 meters), posing a significant logistical hurdle for factory operators. While some machines are conveniently positioned, a majority are situated far from the packing line, resulting in prolonged delivery times and unattended machines. Moreover, the mishandling of bins further compounds the issue, as one operator is tasked with managing two machines, each with a cycle time of approximately 20-30 instances per day. This translates to an extensive 1.5 kilometers covered per day over an 8-hour shift. Complicating matters, the factory deals with high-value, sensitive, and heavy products, weighing around 20 kilograms and valued at approximately RM300,000 per lot. With a total of 100 machines and 50 workers operating across three shifts, the prospect of hiring an additional 150 workers solely for the purpose of pushing trolleys amounts to a significant investment of 3.6 million.
As an integral component of the DF solution implementation, a total of 7 Zalpha units, each equipped with a bespoke lifter and roller conveyor, alongside DFleet functionality and a tailor-made calling system, were strategically deployed. Within this framework, individual machines boast dedicated call buttons, conveniently located either on the machine panel or tablet interface. Accompanying these units are distinct buffer trolleys, utilized both for finished goods and raw material inventory management. The operational sequence unfolds with the operator assembling raw materials into bins, which are affixed with QR codes for seamless identification. Subsequently, the material order (MO) sheet is correlated with the corresponding bin QR code by the operator. A passive conveyor, replete with a barcode scanner and an IR sensor at its terminus, facilitates the material’s transition. The IR sensor’s activation prompts the automatic QR code read by the barcode scanner. Promptly thereafter, DF’s autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) initiate their intervention, transferring the bin from the passive roller conveyor to the designated production line, guided by the information encoded in the QR code. Upon completion of the packaging process, the operator places the finished goods into bins at the Finish Goods (FG) buffer stations. To signal the AMR’s involvement, the operator triggers the call button situated on the machine panel. The AMR swiftly complies, collecting the finished goods and proceeding to convey them to the active packing line via an integrated conveyor system. Subsequent to the AMR’s delivery, packing operators receive the bin, embarking on the final stages of the packaging process, culminating in the orderly arrangement of goods within shipment-ready boxes.