The importance of AMR software for maximizing manufacturing floor space

OTTO Motors

In many manufacturing facilities, space is at a premium as a result of narrow aisles and crowded floors. While manufacturers may be concerned about adding more machinery to their already confined environments, many are turning to AMRs for its nimbleness and flexibility when navigating dynamic, space-constrained environments. AMR technology can solve material handling challenges, such as labor shortages and safety, while connecting fixed machinery to each other, known as “connecting islands of automation.”

Since its founding, OTTO Motors has been dedicated to addressing challenges like these through continuous software releases. One of our key priorities has been to empower manufacturers to improve their use of floor space and we’ve introduced several convenient features to help achieve this.

Optimize floor space in confined environments

Facilities with limited space and narrow aisles, particularly brownfield facilities, may not have enough free space to support AMR parking and charging, especially as the fleets grow. These facilities need solutions that can operate efficiently, and with a minimal footprint. OTTO helps customers achieve floor space optimization not just with compact hardware like OTTO 600 and OTTO 1200, but also through software innovations designed to maximize efficiency.

a. Decrease the space needed for dedicated AMR parking by up to 50% with parking space optimization

With the latest release, manufacturers no longer need dedicated parking space on your factory floor. OTTO AMRs can now park in the same areas they work, such as pickup and dropoff stands.

Previously, AMRs would have dedicated endpoints for each activity: material transfer, parking, and charging. For example, a conveyor in OTTO Fleet Manager would be for material transfer. Nearby, an empty space beside the aisle would be for parking. Now, that same endpoint used for material transfer or charging can be used for parking as well, enabling manufacturers to repurpose the physical space that was previously dedicated to parking. When work is dispatched to a material transfer endpoint where an AMR is parked, that AMR can start right away if it suits the job. But if it's not the right fit, it will make room for another nearby AMR to step in and get the job done. 

This feature can decrease the space needed for dedicated parking by up to 50% for some fleets, while also reducing travel time and improving productivity.

b. Minimize congestion and improve overall speed with team-based traffic control

Effective traffic management is one of the most crucial aspects of an AMR deployment. It keeps the robots moving and charged, while avoiding traffic jams and blockages.

With the team-based traffic control feature, launched in the last release, manufacturers can set custom rules—such as exclusion, speed limit and single robot zones—for different groups of AMRs. For example, you can reserve routes for robots with large payload overhangs, or avoid slopes for robots with sensitive payloads.

This enables users to create custom rules of the road for groups of AMRs in the facility, reducing congestion and improving overall speed of traffic in large, heterogenous fleets.

Unlock easier commissioning and fortify security with software updates

Alongside floor space optimization, OTTO Motors has made industry-leading strides in solving other top manufacturing challenges through the enhancements of key commissioning and security features.

a. Save 50% of set-up time with easier commissioning

Software that is complicated to use can lead to errors, increase training requirements, and require third-party assistance for changes. Now, with an easy-to-use commissioning interface for OTTO Fleet Manager, manufacturers are empowered to take full control of their system.

A simplified set-up process introduced in Spring 2023 saves users 50% of the time needed to create and edit facility maps and workflows. This change gave manufacturers a list of endpoint templates they could add to their facility with a single click, including pickup and dropoff stands, staging carts, pallets, chargers, and parking spots. 

In the latest release, these material transfer locations are relocated to the Endpoints Library—a centralized hub for storing and managing endpoints in a quick and convenient manner. You can swiftly apply changes across multiple endpoints, identify when settings have been overridden, create new templates, and effortlessly revert to defaults with just one click. This helps manufacturers confidently and quickly make system changes without errors or the need for third-party support.

b. Fortified security solutions built on trusted platforms

AMRs have been operating in manufacturing facilities for decades, but within the bigger picture of manufacturing, they are relatively new, which may lead manufacturers to feel unsure about how new technology will affect their data and security. Enhancing security is paramount for OTTO Motors and below are some ways our latest release empowers customers to implement a secure system in their facility.

  • A new user authentication function through an OKTA integration enables single sign-on and allows users to verify their identity each time they connect with OTTO Fleet Manager, offering the option to significantly enhance access control. The addition also enhances authentication and security capabilities by enabling easy assignment of specific permissions to users, distinguishing between user and administrator roles.
  • Encrypted communications between various elements of the OTTO solution, such as AMRs, Fleet Manager and User’s Browser, enables enhanced security for manufacturers.

As your AMR deployment scales, functionalities such as floor space optimization, easy commissioning, and security become crucial to remaining productive. It’s essential that the AMR provider you select has proven software and is committed to continuous updates that improve upon these functionalities to elevate your material flow. 

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