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Enabling Multi-Vendor Robotic Fleets

Many facilities across the world have taken steps to integrate robots into their workflow, - selecting the ideal robot vendor and model for their first specific use case. However, when the time comes to automate the next process, most customers find themselves siloed into the product line of the robot vendor they already have running in their facility. This can greatly limit options and often stall the adoption of increased automation - a problem Freedom Robotics has solved.

Freedom Robotics software can ingest data from all automation equipment in a facility, including mission data from mobile robotics platforms. Once it has access to that data it can enable the different robotics platforms to not only operate in the same environment, but to collaborate with each other and all other automation equipment in a facility. This allows the customer to choose the best robot for each task in a facility regardless of vendor, which in turn helps them get the most out of their robotic solutions.

Example 1 - Deploying a mixed vendor fleet 

You have a requirement to deliver items in overhead storage to the factory floor. There are some great overhead storage robots available, but they are not well suited to transport the payload over long distances quickly in a dynamic environment. With Freedom Robotics Software, it is possible to have robots that specialize in overhead storage work with Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) from a different vendor that specializes in fast transportation through dynamic environments. When the two robotic solutions work together, the path from high storage to the factory floor is much smoother than it could ever be with any single vendor. When implementing a mixed-vendor fleet, you're not tied to one brand or type of robot. You're able to shop the entire market and identify the best-fit robot for the task you're looking to complete. The end result is a fleet that moves more efficiently and effectively, while requiring lower capital investment. 

Example 2 - Integrating new AMR deployments into a facility with Legacy AGVs already in operation.

You have a facility with legacy Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) in operation. The AGVs have been finely tuned over the past decade, they work really well, and nobody wants to get rid of them. There are other material transport tasks in the facility that need to be automated and all the new vendors say they have AMRs that can easily handle the new task, but their AMRs can’t operate in the same facility as the legacy AGVs. With Freedom Robotics software, we can ingest the location of all robots and establish dedicated intersections and traffic rules that will enable the deployment of new AMR technology alongside legacy systems that still have plenty of life left in them. When new technology can be seamlessly deployed alongside legacy systems, you can continue to recoup the initial investment of the legacy systems while also investing in new automation solutions. 

Example 3 - Integrating new AMRs with existing automation equipment

When replacing manual fork truck part transportation with AMRs or AGVs, there are a number of things that a human fork truck driver can do easily that are very difficult to program a robot to do. This includes simple things like pushing a button, checking to see if a path is clear, or seeing if a payload is ready for pickup. Freedom Robotics software enables AMRs and AGVs to integrate with the factory as a whole in an easy to use codeless interface. If a human normally pushes a button to start a depalletizer when a payload is delivered, Freedom Robotics software can signal the depalletizer to start its operation automatically when the package has been delivered. If humans normally visually signal to each other to avoid traffic congestion at an intersection, our software can coordinate traffic control to eliminate bottlenecks between mobile robots. Freedom Robotics can ingest data from sensors or manual user input when inventory is low at a particular workstation and dispatch a mission. Our software can also enable the deployment and integration of new automation equipment into a facility to happen faster and with less integration cost.

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