In June 2021, unmanned logistics project jointly created by an internationally renowned ceramic company and VisionNav Robotics has been successfully launched, becoming an excellent example of intelligent logistics upgrading in ceramic industry.
The company mainly produces ceramic tiles and plates, rock plate and other ceramic products, especially their ceramic plates, which enjoys a high reputation in both domestic and overseas markets. The company owns 3 large production bases, 21 ceramic tile production lines and 4 ceramic plate production lines in China and foreign countries. In recent years, with increasing demand of customization, company is actively looking for opportunities for intelligent upgrad. After several investigations in supplier’s strength, research and development capabilities, product performance and service capabilities, the company choose VisionNav to cooperate in their first unmanned logistics project in ceramic tile production.
In ceramic production, especially for customized tile plates, material is very heavy and fragile, raising high requirements in intra-transportation. Several business processes are involved in this project including material transportation from kiln to semi-finished stereoscopic warehouse, from warehouse to polishing line, which all need to realize unmanned logistics and automation management.
1) Complicated working conditions: working conditions in ceramic tile production area are normally very complicated, mainly are with high concentrations of dust and bad ground flatness. When unmanned facilities are introduced to the scene , man-machine mixing situation also needs to be considered. Therefore, higher requirements for safety and system scheduling ability of driverless vehicles are put forward.
2) Particularity of material: ceramic tiles, especially tile plates, are heavy in weight, large in size and fragile, which is a extremely test in carrying capacity and stability of driverless vehicles;
3) Process requirements: due to the requirement of precise stacking in stereoscopic warehouse, the perception and adaptive control ability of driverless vehicles are highly required.
Solution and project deployment
After preliminary investigation and site visit, VisionNav Robotics developed an intelligent and replicated solution for internal unmanned logistics based on customer's needs and existing processes. Considering heavy weight of the material, the use of heavy-load driverless forklift VNL45 is proposed, with system integration between VisionNav central control system and customer’s existing business process management system. There is no need to install reflectors or magnetic strips on site, which enhance flexibility and scalability in the project.
Heavy-Load Pallet Stacker Type Forklift AGF
1) System deployment
Customer has already deployed its own WMS system. VisionNav’s central control system (RCS) manage seamless system integration with the existing system to have accurate data.
2) Terminal deployment: Kiln → Semi-Finished Stereoscopic Warehouse → Polishing Line
Material: semi-finished ceramic tiles, 1000~3000Kg
Equipment: heavy load pallet stacker forklift AGV VNL45
Operational Process: Customer system calls forklift AGV via RCS to transport semi-finished products from kiln to stereoscopic warehouse. After 1 day for cooling, AGV will again transport products to polishing line, and return with empty rack.
Highlights: The material rack at customer site is with four-legs bearing type, which needs to be accurately stacked to a fixed position (4 fixed piles) on 1st level of the rack in the warehouse. VisionNav Robotics’ forklift AGV automatically stacks material rack accurately. With the help of space perception, AGV can improve the accuracy of its operation.
1st Level of the Rack in the Warehouse
This project achieves unmanned material transportation between production line and semi-finished goods warehouse, effectively replacing manual work and improving operation accuracy, helping peer companies to achieve:
1) Precise operation: forklift AGVs can work 24/7 to automatically unload, transported and store material, achieving in-time intra-logistics and reducing human operational errors.
2) Intelligent management: scheduling system can do real-time matching of information flow and logistics flow, achieving the goal of digitalization, automation and intelligent management.
About VisionNav Robotics
VisionNav Robotics（www.visionnav.cn), a global leader in industrial driverless vehicles, is committed to enabling vehicles with technology, promoting flexible unmanned application in logistics. VisionNav Robotics provides industrial driverless vehicle products and flexible unmanned logistics solutions for manufacturing and warehousing logistics. At present, a number of driverless forklift and tractor products have been developed and produced, breaking through rigid demand scenarios such as 9.4m high access, 2.0m narrow channel access, driverless loading and unloading vehicles and multi-layer mobile frame stacking, which are widely used in automobile manufacturing, tire manufacturing, transportation, food, petrochemical, e-commerce logistics, third party logistics, pharmaceutical and other fields.