Inside Unmanned Systems

DEC 2016-JAN 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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28 unmanned systems inside   December 2016/January 2017 LAND MATERIALS DELIVERY T he team at the GE Healthcare Mil- waukee repair facility is always look- ing for ways to improve efficiencies and to automate more processes—and that in- cludes moving materials through the 280,000 square foot building. The lean manufacturing facility serves as the repair operations center for all GE Healthcare equipment, which means materials are con- stantly traveling to and from the 250 "repair cells" it houses, said Patricio Espinosa, director of Americas repair operations at GE Health- care. The production lines start and finish re- pairs at different times, making it difficult to program a vehicle to simply go from one end of the facility to the other picking up and drop- ping off materials. To truly automate materials delivery, GE needed a solution employees could beckon at a moment's notice—one that could navigate from point A to point B on its own. After researching seven different options, Espinosa and his team settled on the OTTO self-driving industrial vehicle from Clearpath Robotics. Its biggest benefit? The ability to re- route when necessary. "The OTTO can look all the way around it and understand where it is based on the layout of the facility," Espinosa said. "If something is blocking it, it can turn around and take anoth- er route. It knows the facility. That gives us a lot more f lexibility and efficiency on the f loor." Facilities like this one have focused on au- tomating their processes for years, but weren't able to apply that to materials movement until recently, said Jeff Christensen, vice president Photos courtesy of Clearpath Robotics and Seegrid A vision-guided vehicle from Seegrid at work. "A BUSY FACTORY is like a small indoor city. We have control over infrastructure and intersections and security, so it's an ideal proving ground for concepts that can later roll out to outdoor cities." Matt Rendall, CEO, Clearpath Robotics DRIVING INNOVATION FROM THE INSIDE of products and services for Seegrid, a com- pany that develops vision-guided vehicles for industrial settings. How They Work Some of the earlier driverless indoor vehicles relied on wires in the f loor, magnets or tape to guide them along the correct path, Chris- tensen said, with the next generation turning

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