proANT 436 in the Production of Conductor Boards

The Swiss technology firm DYCONEX relies on autonomously navigating transport robots from InSystems Automation to improve their internal material flow.

The robots navigate over three floors using the existing elevator system and overcome various clean zones as well as doors and locks. The three robots in use are the model proANT AGV 436 with lifting function and with slightly modified load handling. They transport stackable (590x470x95 mm) and standard (600x400x300 mm) KLT containers.

  • Industry: Electronics
  • Fleet of three vehicles
  • Order and warehouse management control via panels
  • Floor change with freight elevator
  • Opening doors
  • Slightly modified standard shelves G1

Task and customer benefit

The aim of the project is to eliminate manual material transport through various departments and clean room zones. The transport robot system is intended to further increase cleanliness in production, since, according to the customer’s investigation, this is a decisive factor for quality and rejects. Furthermore, the employees shall be relieved from work interruptions, which cause loss of productivity and costs due to the manual transport of containers to other floors with different clean room classes with respective changing and changing of protective clothing.

With the proANT system it is possible to continue to use the existing rack system with minor adjustments and to integrate the lift system into the material flow concept without any structural measures. The warehouse management and control of the transport orders has been implemented with an intuitively operated touch panel solution, which minimizes the training effort and increases the acceptance by the employees.

Initial situation

With more than 50 years of experience, DYCONEX AG is a leading global supplier of highly complex flexible, rigid-flexible and rigid HDI/Microvia printed circuit board and chip substrate solutions for all applications where miniaturization, increased functionality, quality and maximum reliability play a role. The PCBs are manufactured under clean room conditions and the production processes are distributed over 3 floors.

The transport of partly highly sensitive printed circuit boards was previously done manually by the employees, who had to leave their workplace in a time-consuming manner. Thus, the employees often had to wait for the elevator and change their work clothes between the different clean room zones due to high cleanliness standards.

Project description

InSystems has developed a material flow solution that fits completely into the challenging environment of the company. The autonomously navigating transport robots move over three floors, independently calling the elevator system and communicating via the company’s own communication network with the controls integrated in the automatic doors.

For the vehicles it is easier to meet the high internal cleanliness standards than is possible for people wearing textile clothing. Special mats are positioned in the transitions to the cleanliness zones, so that the vehicles roll over for cleaning. The transfer or pickup of the transported goods is currently carried out at 12 fixed ports or racks (passive stations). The transport robots are each equipped with an active load pick-up with skids, which can be moved to specific transfer heights of the individual compartments and can automatically pick up and transfer the containers.

The order control system has been developed with a very clear and user-friendly warehouse management system especially for the customer’s requirements and is operated via touch screen panels at the individual stations. If an operator puts a transport box on the shelf for a transport, he informs the transport order management system via the software panel about the pending order with the corresponding destination. The fleet management system then schedules the most suitable transport robot for this order. The management system follows methods that are coordinated in such a way that all orders are processed as quickly as possible, avoiding as many empty runs and unnecessary floor changes as possible. These changes have a considerable influence on the effectiveness of the entire fleet. At the source and destination of a transport, in addition to the software check, a sensor check is always carried out to determine whether the load transfer is still possible or valid.

Customer benefits:

  • Autonomously navigating vehicles enable the employees to support the process without being removed from their equipment to carry out transport tasks. Doing so, they can concentrate on the actual production process and on their tasks.
  • The AGVs can be implemented without changes in the infrastructure such as reflectors
  • Increase of product quality and process reliability
  • Bottlenecks in the process supply are minimized
  • Transport orders are processed precisely, efficiently and safely
  • Individual integration into the production context
  • The fleet of transport robots is scalable for future production increases.
  • All material movements are recorded in a log. The material flow in the company becomes transparent.