Smart deliveries of components and materials to production lines will facilitate the entire manufacturing process and is therefore the first step to running smart factories, according to Kirin Chen, general manager for logistics equipment maker Axis-Group.
If deliveries are not well organized, workers may have to spend much time waiting for the arrival of components and materials, leaving machines idle, and significantly reducing production efficiency, Chen said.
There is large room for improving component/material delivery, Chen noted. For example, AGVs (automated guided vehicles) are adopted to replace manual delivery of components/materials and AGVs can be further combined with IoT technology to track the delivery progress, Chen indicated.
When land availability is limited, it is usual for factories consist of two or more floors, Chen said. This will pose challenges to smart component/material delivery, as manufacturing processes are disrupted when components/materials have to be vertically transported between different floors, Chen indicated.