Nidec strengthens innovative capacity thanks to mobile robots

To keep production processes lean and stocks low, the automotive supplier, NIDEC GPM Group, relies on the autonomous mobile robots from Mobile Industrial Robots: at its location in the Thuringian municipality of Auengrund, three MiR100 robots, equipped with the MiRHook towing system, transport material and empty containers between the warehouse and assembly lines. The freed-up human resources can be converted into productive time. Such innovative capacity is a prerequisite for NIDEC to remain competitive.

For about 70 years, the current NIDEC GPM Group has been developing innovative pump solutions for the automotive industry. The manufacturer, based in the Thuringian municipality of Auengrund, is considered a technology leader and continues to set new standards in the field of pump technology. Taken over three years ago by the Japanese NIDEC Group, the former family-owned company now wants to successfully establish itself on the market as e-mobility progresses in order to remain competitive in the long term. Above all, a strong focus on research and development is crucial for this. Of the 1,200 employees at the German location, one in ten is already employed in this area today. In order to use the existing capacities as efficiently as possible, NIDEC GPM has increasingly relied on the Lean principle since the acquisition to avoid wasting resources and to maximise performance.


The company increasingly incorporates state-of-the-art robotics solutions on its production lines. In light of this, it seemed only logical to automate internal material flow as well. Those responsible went in search of a driverless transport system that could manage without structural changes to the infrastructure and could be implemented quickly. Finally, at a trade fair, they came across the autonomous mobile transport robots from Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR). “The robots immediately won us over with their great flexibility,” recalls Andreas Vogt, Deputy Production Manager and Lean Expert at NIDEC GPM. Equipped with sophisticated sensor technology and safety algorithms, the agile MiR robots manouvre independently and safely – also in the vicinity of their human colleagues. They recognise obstacles such as objects or employees from a distance and always move around them or make a safety stop. As a result, there is no need for magnetic strips or rails – exactly what the people responsible for the plant in Auengrund had been looking for.

MiR alla Nidec


After a brief test phase, the decision to acquire robots from MiR was soon made. In close collaboration with the local system integrator, the company successively introduced three MiR100s with the MiRHook towing system in two different production areas. Thanks to their uncomplicated commissioning process, NIDEC GPM was able to quickly integrate them into the current processes. Before their first mission, the robots first travelled all over the factory floor and mapped out their future working environment. For this the robots rely on a powerful laser scanner. On this basis, the mobile robots can get their bearings later on and independently find the fastest way to the destination. Finally, the hook enables them to grip carts and shelf trolleys ideally and move up to 300 kilos per journey. They autonomously navigate between storage and assembly areas, transporting oil pump lids, water pump bearings and drive shafts to where they are needed.

MiR alla Nidec

11 km of travel saved per robot on a daily basis

Franz Scheibe, Team Leader for Assembly, programs the mobile robots for their daily tasks. For this he uses the fleet management software MiR Fleet, which is incorporated in all three robots. “A typical journey looks like this: when the robot is summoned by an employee, it starts from its waiting position in the ‘supermarket’, which is the area where all our parts are in stock. Then it hooks up to the appropriately loaded cart, which it recognises by a QR code, and sets off”. When driving, the robot beeps so that the employees hear it despite the machine noise and do not accidentally run it over.

“With the material in the cargo area, the robot then moves to the assembly line where the respective parts are needed”, continues Scheibe. “It uncouples the full cart and takes an empty one back in return. It transports the empty cart back to the warehouse before returning to its waiting position in the ‘supermarket’”. On the way, the robots also independently cross a lock gate, which opens in contact with a magnetic loop in the ground. On average, each robot covers eleven kilometres a day – a distance that the employees now do not have to walk. Scheibe sums up as follows: “Imagine this: we have the robots operating around the clock, five days a week. This saves our employees a lot of walking and thus a lot of work time”.

mir robots keep stocks low

In one production area of the Thuringian plant, a mobile robot supplies the employees with material at an almost fully automated plant. Two robots are in use in another area, where they supply ten assembly lines there with components. This used to be done by a logistician, says Andreas Vogt. “In those days, there was usually too much material on the assembly lines – and that is of course an unnecessary cost”. Today, the robots supply the employees at the machines with exactly the amount of material they need at the right moment. For NIDEC GPM foreman Johannes Otto, the impact on everyday working life is clearly noticeable: “We have much less material in the production area than before. This saves a lot of space”. Fully in keeping with the Lean principle, NIDEC GPM can optimise its stock and keep storage costs low.

Nevertheless, some employees initially had doubts about their new robot colleagues, says Johannes Otto. “At first, even I had a bit of a concern about it. But then I quickly realised: this is progress and helps us in our daily work. That’s a good thing”. The robots are only relieving employees of repetitive transportation tasks. Add to that the fact they’re easy to handle – and the misgivings quickly disappeared. “The robots are really super intuitive to use”, says Franz Scheibe. “My colleagues quickly learned to generate new orders and get supplies”. They use a web-based interface that can be accessed via a tablet, mobile or computer.

MiR alla Nidec


With MiR technology, NIDEC GPM has found a cost-effective way to automate its internal material flow. The acquisition of two more robots is already in the planning stage. Currently, the MiR100 frees up the resources of one full-time employee. Amongst other things, this eases the burden and contributes to a greater focus on productive work time. In addition, resources are pooled in the area of research and development. This is an important aspect, as NIDEC GPM soon wants to offer its customers technological solutions and advantages with regard to electrically driven pumps “The area of R&D is the basis on which we can develop our sustainable and innovative technologies”, explains Andreas Vogt. “By automating intralogistics with mobile robots, we are also keeping pace with innovative solutions in production”. With this approach, the company is laying the foundation for remaining competitive in the automotive market of the future.

MiR robots are working at Visteon to improve productivity

A fleet of seven autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) from Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) works around the clock to optimize the transportation of raw materials to its production and storage lines while improving the work environment.

As the only Tier 1 supplier exclusively dedicated to cabin electronics, and with the broadest product portfolio in this segment, Visteon is in an unrivaled position to meet the needs of automobile manufacturers of smart digital cabins for electric and automatic vehicles. The company’s mission is to guarantee that drivers and passengers can interact easily, efficiently and safely with a vehicle’s sophisticated technology. To stay competitive in a fast-changing market, Visteon is constantly looking automate its workflow. For example, Visteon faced numerous challenges with its internal logistics as its employees manually transported raw materials from the warehouse to the production lines and returned with finished products. This undermined productivity increased the risk of physical injuries and slowed transportation times.


To overcome these challenges, the company looked for an automated, traceable, autonomous, flexible and scalable solution that could work through three continuous shifts and could automatically link the warehouse area with the production. Moreover, Visteon needed a system that could support the personnel operating inside the facilities, since their work was negatively affected by the manual processes that resulted in long transportation times and physical risks associated with pushing heavy carts.

Visteon decided to implement a fleet of seven MiR100 robots from Mobile Industrial Robots, the global market leader of AMRs. With these collaborative robots, Visteon aimed to improve and expand the autonomy of the company’s internal logistics, facilitate the remote control of the mobile robots, while being able to trace the delivery of material and overall increase increase staff productivity.

Six of the mobile robots are now constantly on the move between the warehouse and production, while one robot automatically picks up and delivers electronic component reels to and from the SMT machines. Visteon can constantly monitor the AMRs, which increases the efficiency of the internal material transportation.

“With the addition of innovative MiR technologies, we’ve improved the functioning and operability of the production plant by connecting our production and storage areas to transport our products and raw materials,” said Arturo Robledo Ulloa, plant manager, Visteon Reynosa. “In addition, these robots enable our workers to be more productive as they focus on tasks that provide greater value for the company.”

One MIR100 robot can deliver materials to three production lines singlehandedly, and and this automated and autonomous transportation has significantly increased the factory’s productivity. “All of our robots are working three shifts a day, so the robots have hugely increased our capacity,” Ulloa added.


Visteon’s operational team is responsible for assembling and reviewing plant activity. They record the finished products and coordinate the transportation. The entire operation is coordinated from the monitoring center, tracking the mobile robots through the user-friendly management software, MiR Fleet.

“The communication the robots use is very simple,” said Julián Méndez Guerrero, Automatization Engineer of Visteon. “With MiR Fleet, we can keep accurate track of all the robots and their tasks from one command screen at all times. The robots can even communicate with each other to guarantee the most efficient delivery routes.”

Via MiR Fleet, all robotic information is concentrated in a single system, which simplifies the internal transportation and the work with the robots. The real-time monitoring enables Visteon to keep track of their components and ensure on-time deliveries of the right materials from the warehouse to production.


At Visteon, the mobile robots are contributing to a better work environment by taking over the heavy lifting from the employees and saving them many steps – and wasted time – each day. The robots drive completely autonomously and avoid all obstacles on their routes, including people and other robots. The robots are therefore able to navigate in the same workspace as the employees. Fortunately, due to the tasks that the robots have taken over, Visteon’s employees have come to see the robots as their colleagues.

MiR is an open source system that allows customers to develop solutions that are customized for their needs. Consequently, Visteon developed its own interface for the robots, one that allows employees to summon a robot with a single push on a button at the kiosk lines, making the robots especially easy to work with for the employees.



3 MiR1000 optimize warehouse logistics at Icm

Use robots where it makes sense, and people to do higher-value tasks. That’s the philosophy behind the design of the entire logistics flow of wholesale company ICM. The company’s Odense high-rise warehouse operates with manned trucks that move along narrow aisles formed by racks that reach 12 m high, removing or placing pallets in position in the racks. MiR robots deliver pallets in a steady stream to the ends of the aisles. Experienced logistics personnel in the warehouse receiving area solve complex tasks, while ensuring the robots take care of the internal transport tasks. The automated pallet transport setup has saved 40 hours a week. Time that the personnel can now spend on more complex and higher-value activities.

The high-tech warehouse with its myriad of pallet transport operations running from 07:00-22:00, is located in Odense. Tonnes of goods arrive at the ICM logistics centre every year on a total of 31,000 pallets. The ICM staff manage 100,000 orders a year, most of these next-day deliveries. ICM is one of Scandinavia’s leading suppliers of personal protective and technical equipment and work environment solutions.

Space is limited. Customers are impatient. Competition is fierce. This means that time, personnel and space must be utilised optimally.

“Thanks to an investment in three mobile MiR1000 robots, three employees now save several hours each on daily activities. They no longer have to spend time manually moving pallets from a stacker to the aisles in the high-rise warehouse.” Instead, they can place the pallets on special MiR racks, from which the robots collect the pallets and transport them to the aisles inside the high-rise warehouse. The MiR robots leave the pallets at the end the aisles to be collected by high-reach trucks that place them in the relevant racks.

“The high-reach truck operators automatically report when they have taken a pallet from a rack, so I can just press a button on the tablet screen and send one more MiR robot on a mission. This way the robots ensure the high-reach trucks are always supplied with pallets”, says Jesper Lorenzen, Warehouse Assistant and responsible for goods reception at ICM A/S.


The high-reach truck operators use a map on a tablet in the truck to see at all times where the small robots are, and the mobile robots make themselves noticeable using audio signals and lights in the busiest areas. This means that there is a close collaboration between the trucks and the robots and in a company with constant internal traffic, communication between vehicles is vital to avoid different machines blocking each other’s path.

ICM has made a dedicated route for the mobile robots, freeing space for other traffic in the logistics centre. Previously, space was very cramped because of the many operations with manual stackers on the main traffic routes, which have now been replaced by the MiR robots. MiR’s fleet management software, MiR Fleet, also ensures that the tasks are distributed between the mobile robots, so that it is the robot that can carry out the task in the shortest time that is chosen, and it also ensures that the three mobile robots automatically move to a charging station and charge up between tasks, so that downtime is optimised.

Overall, the mobile robots have saved approximately 40 hours a week at ICM, time that the staff previously spent on internal transport, moving goods between the receiving area and the positioning areas. These employees can now focus on higher value activities, i.e. planning and optimisation: Assessing, handling and prioritising the pallets and the contents is a complicated task that requires insight and experience because many parameters must be taken into consideration. Therefore, these tasks must be solved by people.

“The robots have saved time, which we can now use to optimise the warehouse and fine-tune flow. We have become used to the new technology and have learned to work in a completely different way. The more we apply it, the more time we save through automation using mobile robots” says Jesper Lorenzen.


Logistics at the high-rise warehouse now proceed smoothly, using a modern mix of employees, mobile robots and trucks. ICM’s setup consists of three mobile robots, four manned high-reach trucks, 10 manual stackers and 26 dedicated employees.

The mobile robots have not just increased efficiency at ICM. According to Brian Brandt, Warehouse Manager at ICM, they have also improved the working environment. He sees many positive perspectives on investing in technology that both increases capacity and job satisfaction.

“It’s just so much fun working with mobile robots. Being able to move something from A to B without even touching it, that’s really cool. The design of the MiR robots is so simple and user-friendly that I could take a new colleague in from off the street, and they would also think they’re logical to use,” says Brian Brandt and smiles as he observes a MiR1000 robot moving past, carrying a 600 kg load of cleaning cloths on a pallet.


Søren Jepsen, Supply Chain Director at ICM A/S, explains that devising the optimal workflow for the entire flow of traffic and transport of goods in the logistics centre has been a learning process.

“Our warehouse uses the chaotic storage principle, managed by a warehouse management system. We must be geared to be able to drop everything in order to be able to deliver within 24 hours to our customers in Denmark. This means it’s about using our resources shrewdly. We’re investing in new technology in order to safeguard our staff and to attract new, talented people,” says Søren Jepsen.

At ICM, the management sees clear potential in automating more processes. Right now, it is the flow from the good receiving area to the storage aisles, but in the long term, ICM will also automate transport from picking to the delivery of goods and get even more benefit from the robots.

ICM A/S was established in 1946 and since then it has growth through organic growth and the acquisition of companies related to safety and hygiene. It has an annual turnover of approximately DKK 400 million.


MiR at ICM

Publitec online, 29 Giugno 2020

MiR robots at Bossard Smart Factory

Company: Bossard
Sector: Elementi di fissaggio
MiR products: MiR100
Company location: Cina

Which processes in the production slow down the efficiency? If you ask Bossard, a global leader in the fastener sector, they may tell you that the answer is internal logistics. Therefore, Bossard is focusing on, Smart Factory Logistics, which is one of three core businesses at Bossard, is using two MiR100 mobile robots due to the robots’ features as safety, flexibility and user-friendliness. The robots are used to transport materials between warehouse, lab and workstations, adding new values for the intralogistics focusing on “Last Mile Management”.


With Industry 4.0 era, numerous industrial manufacturers actively participate in the vast automation production revolution. When automatic management and efficiency upgrading gradually become rigid needs, diversified human-machine collaboration scenarios emerge up, which enables greater values generated by collaborative robots as a solution on productivity advancement to be seen.

The Smart Factory Logistics solution practiced by Bossard, one of biggest names in global fastener industry, forms up and defines its “Proven Productivity” ecosystem together with Product Solutions and Assembly Technology Expert. Meanwhile, Bossard’s technology integration power has been proven again. Its “Last Mile Management” solution takes internal logistics as a practical and effective aspect to improve, in combination with MiR’s advanced mobile robotics technologies to upgrade and iterate.

The two MiR100 robots at Bossard Shanghai Logistics Centre rely on its outstanding security, flexibility and system adaptability, and gain definite recognition from both European and Chinese teams. With the help of the robots solution, a brand new outlook that workers are collaborating with mobile robots opens up, helping address pain points and bottlenecks that water spider model is not available enough in modern flexible production before. At the meanwhile, MiR also highlight how important intelligent intralogistics is through connecting to other operation system efficiently.


Security is the cornerstone of collaborative robot invention, and also the origin of developing mobile robotics.

An ancient poetry is saying “only when standing on the top of the highest mountain, you see others are small”. Following the highest and most stringent security standards worldwide, MiR mobile robots therefore have an outstanding safety performance throughout the industry. There are two MiR100 robots that back up the intralogistics of the Bossard Shanghai Logistics Centre, as the name suggests, they can move heavy loads of up to 100 kilograms in manufacturing or warehousing.

In fact, the Chinese and European teams both consider MiR has remarkable promise and potential just as a Chinese saying of “Great minds think alike” said. Introduced by Ellick Qin, Smart Factory Logistics Manager at Bossard Fastening Solutions (Shanghai) Co., Ltd, the European team finally selected a MiR mobile robot that strictly meets European industrial safety production standards in July 2018. Almost at same time, the Chinese team came across the MiR’s autonomous mobile robot solution at an industry exhibition in Chengdu. The cooperation has matched up ever since. After a three-month internal test in Europe, the MiR robot project was officially launched at the end of 2018 in Bossard Shanghai Logistics Centre.

Security has long been the hallmark of MiR mobile robots. With the world-class advanced navigation and sensor technologies, MiR robots can run accurate analysis and judgment for obstacles ahead in different application scenarios. For example, in Bossard Shanghai Logistics Centre, MiR robots enable to automatically identify passing workers, forklifts and other devices, with each other to keep the safe distance under dynamic circumstance, to proactively evade obstacles, while doing real-time prediction to movement feasibility and adaptively adjusting operation routes.


Mobile robots based on reliable safety are highly expected to meet actual production requirements, to deal with internal logistics bottlenecks, optimize work processes, save related operating costs, and create the human-machine collaboration scenarios that both sides perform their respective roles. The flexibility of MiR robot makes it a truly efficient internal logistics solution.

Externally, MiR robot is a good hand in assisting flexible production. There is no need to invest heavily in laying tracks up front like AGV robots. The deployment flexibility saves customers a lot of time, manpower and fixed costs. In addition, MiR robot is easy to operate and program. With a friendly user interface, MiR robot can quickly and flexibly respond to transportation requirements of different batches, which highly matches market requirements for flexible production and customized service in the era of Industry 4.0.

Internally, MiR robot is a wonderful hand for optimizing daily management. MiR robots can flexibly handle sample picking, sample delivery and replenishment for long distance, multi-point and high frequency requests in Bossard.

At present, the two MiR100 robots serving in Bossard factory play different roles: one robot stationed in the exhibition hall, presenting more like an ambassador of the enterprise, showing the operation mode of “Last Mile Management” to customers; Moreover, it presents in large-scale industry exhibitions and seminar activities, to introduce the most advanced internal logistics solutions to the industry.

The other robot is dedicated to fulfilling tasks. It is always going back and forth between the warehouse and the laboratory, to perform the work of sample delivery and sampling with full energy. At the same time, it assists distribution of receiving and delivering supplementary materials between warehouse to various stations.


Bossard offers a full range of high-quality fasteners products for its various clients in precision manufacturing, engineering machinery, construction, transportation systems. Based on the characteristics of fasteners products, which includes various types, low individual value, relatively high hidden costs on assembly and transportation logistics, Bossard provides its intelligent internal logistics solutions “Last Mile Management” to its customers, in order to achieve the intelligent internal logistic optimization, from storage to replenishment.

Another reason that MiR robot can shine is that its excellent adaptability perfectly matches various systems of Bossard. “From the recommendation of MiR robot, to the completion of installation, debugging and personnel training, the whole application process took only a week, which shows the strong adaptability to different systems of MiR robot,” Ellick Qin said.

In line with different sensor storage systems from customer side, information including fasteners inventory is managed by Bossard’s cloud-based operation system, then can be fed back in real-time way to ARIMS backstage with strong data analysis, to achieve full/semi-automatic replenishment demand at production station.

When MiR100 receives task orders from ARIMS, it can cooperate with ARIMS system online to customize its route for selecting goods efficiently in warehouse and assembly storage area. It can also make real-time adjustment based on practical circumstances. When it comes to the replenishment stage of the production station, MiR100 can also seamlessly cooperate with ARIMS system, to carry materials and participate in the water spider operation, so as to recycle replenishment for production stations efficiently and accurately.

In addition, due to the complexity of working environment, the high adaptability of MiR robot shows its outstanding advantages in various operation situation of Bossard Shanghai Logistics Centre, such as involving rolling doors, elevators, access control system and other elements in operation. In the near future, Bossard plans to build a new industrial park covering an area of around 3700m2 in Tianjin. The internal logistics requirements will be more diversified and complex at that time. It is believed that MiR robot’s advanced adaptive ability will definitely play a more important role.

As the application of cooperative robots in many fields continues to expand and deepen, more dull, repetitive, or high-risk mechanical operations will be handed over to safe and flexible cooperative robots to complete. But the value of human will not be replaced. On contrary, human worker can take more higher value task of using human wisdom after liberation of basic work. With the efforts of MiR robot, efficiency of internal logistics will be further motivated, which sets Bossard as a role model of improving internal logistics. The further man-machine cooperation mode created by industry 4.0 can retake the efficiency eaten by nonlean manufacturing, and thus is worthy of the entire industrial industry expecting.