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proANT 436 in the production of conductor boards

The Swiss technology firm DYCONEX makes use of autonomously navigating transport robots made by InSystems Automation to improve their internal material flow.

These robots navigate across three floors using the pre-existing lifts and pass through zones with special cleanliness requirements, doors and locks. The three robots that make up the operating fleet are proANT AGV 436-models with an included lifting function and slightly modified load pick-up function. They transport stackable (590x470x95 mm) and standard (600x400x300 mm) SLC packages.

  • Industry: Electronics
  • Fleet of three vehicles
  • Order- and storage management control via Panels Order
  • Changing floors
  • Opening doors
  • Slightly modified standard shelves G1

Task and customer benefit

The project’s goal is to abolish manual material transports through different departments and clean rooms. The transport robot system is supposed to help improve cleanliness within the production processes, as this is, according to customer investigations, a crucial factor for quality and product reject amounts. This fleet is also meant to stop work interruptions  for employees caused by the changing of working clothes depending on area and floor, which have a negative impact on productivity and costs.

The proANT system allows the further use of the already existing shelf system with only a few minor adjustments. The lift system, which, too, is already in place, is integrated in the transport robot-based concept for the material flow with no adjustments needed. Storage and transport order management are accessed via a touch panel which is highly intuitive to use, minimizing any need for training and making it easy for employees to adapt.

Initial situation

Thanks to 50 years of experience, DYCONEX AG is one of the leading suppliers for highly complex flexible, flex-rigid and rigid HDI/Microvia printed board- and chip-substrate-solutions for all applications that involve miniaturisation, improving functionality, quality and reliability of the highest order. The conductor boards are made within clean room conditions and the production processes are spread across three floors.

The transport of these conductor boards, which are, in part, highly sensitive, had so far been taken care of by employees, who had to spend much time away from their working stations to do so, given that waiting for lifts or changing into the right clothing for clean rooms prolonged the transport process.

Project description

InSystems developed a material flow solution which fully adapts to the challenging environment of the organisation. The autonomously navigating transport robots move across three floors, call the lifts and communicate with the controls of automatic doors using the firm’s own communication network.

It is much easier to abide by the high cleanliness standards inside different areas when using robots than when people, who need special, textile clothing, need to pass through. For the robots, mats that they cross for cleaning are placed in front of the entry to such areas. The passing or pick-up of loads currently takes place at 12 set ports or shelves (passive stations), where the robots use their automatic active pick-up function via height-adjustable skids.

The order control system has been developed especially for this customer to be particularly clearly laid out and user-friendly, and is accessed via touchscreen-panels at different stations. When a worker sets down a transport box in the shelf for transports, he/she informs the transport order management system of the transport order and the transport destination using the the software panel. The fleet management system then allocates the robot that is best suited. In order to do so, the management system uses methods designed to make it so that all orders are served as quickly as possible with minimal empty trips or floor changes, as these have a significant impact on the whole fleet’s effectiveness. At the origin and destination of each transport, there is a sensory check besides the software check to determine whether the load transfer is possible and valid.

Customer benefits:

  • Autonomously navigating vehicles support employees‘ working processes. They now no longer need to leave their work to fulfill transport tasks and can instead focus on the actual production.
  • AGVs can be installed without any changes in internal infrastructure (i.e. the installation of reflectors or similar).
  • Improvement of product quality and process reliability.
  • Supply shortages are minimized.
  • Transport orders are fulfilled in a precise, efficient and safe manner.
  • Individual system integration in the production context is possible.
  • The AGV fleet is scalable, meaning that more vehicles can be added should they be needed due to future production increases.
  • All movement of materials is protocolled. This makes the material flow transparent.