Cooperation started between MiR and Guardian Industries, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, in 2020. To optimize productivity and internal workflows, Guardian Industries tested different solutions for automating inhouse transportation, including deploying MiR robots in two U.S. sites as pilot projects. The success of these pilot projects resulted in the agreement between Koch Industries and MiR to evaluate the technology globally.
“We have entered into this strategic agreement with MiR because it has the capacity and extensive knowledge to support us in streamlining and optimizing our logistics operations,” said Antonio Blanco, global category manager, Guardian Industries. “MiR offers flexible automation solutions that can be tailored to address our current and future operational needs. We are implementing this technology at multiple facilities because we consider MiR as a long-term partner that has the experience and capabilities to support us in achieving our productivity goals.”
With five autonomous mobile robots, MiR has the widest range of AMRs in the market to take over various transportation tasks, from moving smaller parts to heavy duty loads up to 2200 pounds (1000kg). The largest robots can automatically pick up, transport and deliver pallets. Regardless of the task, these collaborative AMRs are designed to work alongside human colleagues and relieve them of various physically strenuous work so they can focus on more valuable tasks.
The versatility of MiR’s robots, which can be customized with different top modules to meet customer needs, is another key reason why Guardian Industries chose to collaborate with MiR, and why other Koch companies are also evaluating possible implementations.
“We will implement the robots in multiple plants with different layouts and products, so it is important for us to have a logistics solution that can fit into all types of environments and easily adapt to new tasks,” said Peter Westrick, material handling engineer, Guardian. “That is exactly what MiR offers.”
Autonomous mobile robots on the rise
As demonstrated by MiR’s 55% increase in sales in the first quarter of 2021, Guardian Industries and Koch Industries are not the only companies that want to optimize internal transportation flows.
“We are pleased to enter into this collaboration and contribute to Guardian’s productivity goals by deploying our flexible, collaborative and safe mobile robots,” said Christian Clausen, sales director, MiR. “In general, we see a great potential across industries for optimizing internal logistic workflows, from inbound and outbound logistics to material handling in manufacturing plants, and our industry-graded robots can be deployed directly into these different workflows. The plant setups of today are agile and highly dynamic, and people, equipment, pallets and other obstacles can appear in what used to be open passageways.”
“Our mobile robots fit these ever-changing environments very well,” Clausen added. “With their collaborative, autonomous navigation, automated material transportation becomes flexible and easily adaptable without additional cost or disruption to processes.”
According to robotics analyst Frank Tobe, “Almost every MiR pilot project has resulted in the client subsequently ordering multiple MiR AMRs. There are many reasons, but two stand out: First, with the addition of low-cost shelving and handling accessories, clients keep finding new applications for these versatile mobile robots, and second, MiR's navigation, fleet and handling software is simple to install and activate and provides continuing ROI. MiR focuses on flat-surface apps, which are ideal for almost all manufacturing and logistics operations around the world. I can see why Koch and other inventive multi-business conglomerates are interested in MiR. It's an ideal fit of need and product.”
MiR has a global distribution network in more than 60 countries and local offices in New York, San Diego, Singapore, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Tokyo and Shanghai.
About Guardian Industries
Guardian Industries, a global company headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, operates facilities throughout North and South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Guardian companies employ 15,000 people and manufacture high-performance float glass; coated and fabricated glass products for architectural, residential, interior, transportation and technical glass applications; and high-quality chrome-plated and painted plastic components for the automotive and commercial truck industries. Guardian’s vision is to be a preferred partner to our customers, suppliers, employees and communities based on a foundation of mutual benefit. This drives our relentless focus on improving people’s lives by providing products and services they value more highly than their alternatives and doing so responsibly while consuming fewer resources. Guardian is a wholly owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, Inc. Visit guardian.com.
About Koch Industries
Based in Wichita, Kansas, Koch Industries, Inc. is one of the largest private companies in America, with estimated annual revenues as high as $115 billion, according to Forbes. It owns a diverse group of companies involved in refining, chemicals, and biofuels; forest and consumer products; fertilizers; polymers and fibers; process and pollution control systems; electronics, software and data analytics; minerals; glass; automotive components; ranching; commodity trading; and investments. Since 2003, Koch companies have invested nearly $133 billion in growth and improvements. With a presence in more than 70 countries, Koch companies employ 122,000 people worldwide, with about 62,000 of those in the United States. From January 2009 to present, Koch companies have earned more than 1,300 awards for safety, environmental excellence, community stewardship, innovation, and customer service. For more news and information, visit www.KOCHind.com.
About Mobile Industrial Robots:
Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) develops and markets the industry’s most advanced line of collaborative and safe autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) that quickly, easily and cost-effectively manage internal logistics, freeing employees for higher-value activities. Hundreds of mid-sized through large multinational manufacturers and logistics centers, along with several hospitals around the world, have installed MiR’s innovative robots. As the global market leader, MiR has a global distribution network in more than 60 countries, with regional offices in New York, San Diego, Singapore, Frankfurt, Barcelona, Tokyo, and Shanghai. MiR has grown quickly since its founding in 2013, with sales rising significantly every year. Founded by experienced Danish robotics industry professionals, MiR is headquartered in Odense, Denmark, and in 2018, was acquired by Teradyne, a leading supplier of automated test equipment. For more information, visit www.mobile-industrial-robots.com.
Photos from Mobile Industrial Robots HQ