Saturday, May 14, 2005

Robots Replace forklift drivers

CourierPress: Business

Robots latest line of automated processes at GE plant

By TOM RAITHEL, Courier & Press staff writer 464-7595 or
May 13, 2005

he big yellow fork lifts move without drivers over the factory floor. They lift boxes weighing hundreds of pounds and back up and steer down the lanes. Emitting regular beeps, they are guided by a laser sent from the top of what might otherwise be a cab.

Warehouse Robots

They bring their boxes to large conveyor belt that will load them onto trucks - all automatically.

The robots, or SGVs (Scanner Guided Vehicles) as they are called at GE, are the latest in a line of automated processes that have been applied to the packaging area of the Lexan production unit at the Mount Vernon plant.

Much of this process has been automated for years. But until recently, a certain portion of it, the movement of boxes from the finishing line to the truck to the warehouse, was done by workers driving forklifts, or operating other machinery.

The team's purpose was "to eliminate the nonvalue added jobs," Garris said. This means getting rid of work that is relatively menial to let workers do other things.

They selected FMC Technologies and Manufacturing Solutions Inc., both of Pennsylvania, to help build the machines.

In addition to the laser-guided fork lifts, the team designed a stacker that will automatically stack boxes (and make sure each of several products is stacked in the right place), a conveyor that will load them onto trucks and a conveyor that takes them from the trucks to the warehouse on GE property.
CourierPress: Business


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home