Factory 4.0: A mobile robot in the Villemur workshop
Safran Electrical & Power Villemur worked with Toulouse-based company Wyca Robotics to design an autonomous mobile robot. Its mission? To streamline workshop flows. So how did the machine now known as Elodie find its way into the factory? We ask project founder Loic Papaix.
“This has been my project for the past four years: To boost digital transformation and automation at Villemur’s industrial development department. The first step for me was to conduct a market survey to find industrial robot designers. Although the project was put on hold during the Covid-19 crisis, it quickly restarted in 2021. In the intervening period, the technology of one Toulouse start-up company had evolved, and we took an interest in their latest mobile robot: Elodie”, Loic Papaix explains when we ask him to tell us about how the project was born.
So, since 2021, the apprentice engineer has been working with Toulouse-based company Wyca on adapting their most recent standard mobile robot to meet the specific requirements of the Villemur factory. The result was that Elodie got something of a makeover. She gained a few centimeters so as to incorporate the trays in which she is currently transporting tools. And soon parts and products will be added to them.
“What took the most time was the creation and supply of the right software, enabling Elodie to move independently and address our issue of streamlining industrial flows within our factory.”
The premises were mapped to enable the robot to get around and know which areas it is authorized to pass through, as well as those for which it is not authorized. Its first test mission is to transport tools which need to be repaired from the production line to the maintenance department. The operative simply needs to push a button to call the robot and it comes over. Then the tool to be repaired is placed in the tray “and we try to store the calls from operatives in the robot's memory so it can process them one after another. It's also the first time one of Wyca’s robots of this type has been adapted, and our discussions are thrilling”.
If the mobile robot successfully completes the first tool test, it will then be able to undertake other journeys that have no added value for the teams, such as transporting components from the warehouse to production, finished products from production to testing or finished products from testing to dispatch.
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