EK Robotics implements AGV system

To optimise its material flows, the pharmaceutical company F. Hoffmann – La Roche AG has chosen a driverless transport system from EK Robotics.

A powerful transport robot fleet with 17 automated guided vehicles (AGV) of the Vario Move series will manage the optimisation of the material flows and the networking of the production buildings in the future.

Roche Pharma AG was founded in Basel, Switzerland, in 1896 as one of the first industrial manufacturers of branded pharmaceuticals and has developed into the world’s largest biotechnology company and the global market leader in in-vitro diagnostics.

At the Kaiseraugst site near Basel, EK Robotics replaces an existing AGV system and is responsible for the automated transport of high-quality pharmaceuticals with 17 automated guided vehicles (AGVs) of the Vario Move series. On a route network with a driving course length of approximately. 1,000 metres, 16 Vario Move with telescopic forks take over the internal transport between the production and storage areas. A Vario Move CB with counterweights and adjustable forks takes over the transport of cryovessels to the deep-freeze warehouse. The stainless-steel jacketed freeze-thaw vessels are filled with liquid active ingredients in temperature ranges from –20 to –40 degrees and have a transport weight of up to 1,200 kg.

The changeover to the new AGV system must not interfere with ongoing production, which is why the changeover to the new system will also take place on weekends.

“Due to the high performance of the Vario Move transport robots, we will be able to optimise the plant performance in the future with a lower number of vehicles than before. This meets the ideas of our planned site development and convinced us just as much as the competent consulting and the many years of experience of EK Robotics,” says Mario Dobler, project manager at Roche.

With a material flow simulation from EK Robotics, Roche was able to define the route layout and the optimal number of vehicles even before the project started. The AGV simulation was also used to determine the ideal placement of the charging stations for uninterrupted operation. After commissioning, the reporting and analysis tool sara willanalyse the system activity and calculate further recommendations from the results in order to continuously optimise the performance of the system.

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