What is Flexible Automation?

 

by John Hayes, VP Marketing and Sales

 

The race to automate is on. But not all automation is created equal. Vecna can help you make automation work harder for your specific needs.

When most people think of automation, they picture something like the scene below; miles of conveyors or massive AS/RS racks (picture of said scene). However, implementing these systems requires significant planning and investment, and a facility with fixed automation means options are limited; you have to anticipate future capacity and are once a decision is made, you are stuck with it.

While we agree that this type of automation certainly has its uses, Vecna has taken a different approach by offering what we term “Flexible Automation.” Rather than fixed, our solutions are mobile; rather than changing an entire facility, we implement without any infrastructure changes; and rather than spend months or years planning and integrating, our solutions offer flexible scalability and can be implemented incrementally in a matter of days.

In short, rather than adapting your facility and operations to automation, Flexible Automation adapts to you.

Fully Adaptable to Any Facility

With Flexible Automation, robots can be re-tasked based on production needs. Instead of producing one part of your product, the sole of a shoe, you can produce the sole, liner and complete assembly.

Flexible automation is ideal for manufacturers who face frequent product change or use a production line for multiple products. In addition, flexible automation allows for the introduction of new product lines and faster product completion. Thus product changes will not be delayed by having to create a new manufacturing infrastructure or process.

For Vecna, Flexible Automation also means that you can transition into automation rather than dive in head-on. When implementing the Autonomy Kit – part our Robotic Logistics Solution – Vecna’s mixed fleet of fully-autonomous robots can be employed without any infrastructure changes. As a result, customers can determine when they want to use their automation capabilities. Our tow tractor, which can be driven by person, can also be controlled by our Fleet Manager, autonomously. (show clip of transition)

Benefits of Flexible Automation
The biggest benefit of flexible automation is that is helps you stay competitive. Without purchasing and implementing new hardware, costs don’t fluctuate. Your company can get more done for less money – which is attractive to your customer. If executing a new system all at once is not feasible for your team, the process is easily done in increments. Overall, by implementing flexible automation, it will be an easier and more seamless process for your company to adapt to future needs.

While flexible automation may seem daunting, Vecna can help your company ease into this process. With our End-to-end solution, Vecna starts the automation process by creating a simulation of the customer’s current environment to determine the best solution for their operations. In turn, this helps our customers to select the best automation package for their company – which could mean selecting a robot from our fleet or deciding to implement the process incrementally, addressing current or most urgent needs.

WMS Integration
Flexible Automation is part of Vecna’s larger Robotic Logistics Solution (RLS) product portfolio, including End-to-End Automation. For example, our Fleet Manager can integrate directly with WMS and automatically optimize a customer’s fleet management to determine the best material handling configuration. Flexible automation can be implemented for any industry, in any facility – including, but not limited to pallet transport, lineside resupply, goods-to-person or person-to-goods.

Start a discussion about Flexible Automation today with Vecna.