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Autonomous Mobile Robots To Address Labour Crunch Issue

Covid-19 causes human traffic restriction, both across the borders and within the countries, exacerbating labour crunch issue. Border closure and stay home order cause factories’ revenue to drop due to no manpower support to run production, and high cost of equipment idling due to no manpower to feed WIP to the million-dollar equipment.

The availability of autonomous mobile robot mounted with a robot arm helps to address the labour shortage issue. Such robots behave like factory operators, picking and dropping production materials from equipment to equipment to complete a production flow. Commands are sent automatically to the robots via computer integrated manufacturing system, despatching the robots to various storage locations to pick up WIP to feed the production machines. Similar to driverless vehicles, these robots operate on batteries and do not need guiding tracks on the floor, largely simplifying operations maintenance. It only requires basic facilities for the robot system to work: power supply for charging station and a good Wifi signal for data communications.

Castec advanced mobile robot integrates Omron’s autonomous mobile robot and Universal Robots’ collaborative robot arm to become i-Operator. i-Operator uses Omron SLAM technology (simultaneous localization and mapping) to move around production floor autonomously, avoiding obstacles in its way, while Universal Robots collaborative robot arm accurately picks up the WIP for machine processing, and stops if it encounters resistive force. Castec i-Operator is a human-size advanced mobile robot suitable for various types of production environment, including cleanroom. Major semiconductor fabs choose Castec’s solution due to its small form factor, which enables it to manoeuvre in tight work space, moving one step further towards human-free production floor.

Learn more about Castec here.