MURAPLAST d.o.o. (MP) is the leading and most modern producer of Polyethylene blown film in Croatia and Southeastern European region. The product is mainly been used for the packaging of beverages, food and can be used in other industrial applications. In addition, company produces industrial bags, pallet covers and sacks mostly for industrial needs custom bags in terms of handles (Soft loop Handle bags, Patch Handle Bag, Die Cut Handle Bag) and others products of similar use.

Improvement in manufacturing process needed

MP need to optimize the process of taking the products (rolls of PE film) from the production lines, weighting them, and transport to ready to warehouse area while sending the information to the local ERP. This optimization would boost production productivity, reduce human error factor in weighting and reduce the manual labor needed to manipulate the products. Products are PE film in rolls and can be various dimensions.

Description of the experiment

The table below outlines current logistic processes and the corresponding process in L4MS

Current Process Process in L4MS
1. PE film in rolls comes down from unwinder to a pallet. The shaft on which the roll is winding is removed. A forklift drives the pallet to a scale. Roll is put on a scale, weighed and its weight is manually written on a label. The amount is copied on the paper (production work order). The Advanced HMI operator initiates a predefined task for “PE roll acquisition and storage”. The task is parameterized and optimized utilizing information from the OPIL Enterprise Applications, for production lines, and storage locations. Based on the task specification, OPIL Robotic Agent AGV nodes are assigned to each production line to receive the PE film rolls that comes down from the unwinder of each production line. OPIL IoT Agent sensor nodes and OPIL Robotic Agent AGV nodes provide the necessary information for localization and mapping to the OPIL Sensing and Perception module, while the OPIL Local Execution Layer of the AGVs implements the motion planning task to move AGVs to the unwinder locations. OPIL Human Agent nodes are assigned the task to remove the shaft on which the roll is winding. The OPIL Local HMI Layer informs the human workers that are assigned on the task, for the exact location and nature of the task. Once the Human worker informs the OPIL system through the The OPIL Local HMI Layer that the shaft removal task is complete and based on the task specification, the AGVs that are equipped with scale automatically transmit the roll weight to the OPIL Enterprise Applications ERP system through the Cyber-Physical Middleware Layer.
2. The roll is taken of the scale and back to pallet. Pallet is driven by a manual fork or fork lift to a special ready to warehouse area. The weight from production work order is copied in the ERP (usually by the end of the shift). Based on the task specification, roll loaded OPIL Robotic Agent AGV nodes are now assigned the task to navigate to specific storage location in the warehouse to unload the PE roll. Once the roll is unloaded, each OPIL Robotic Agent AGV node becomes available for its next task. OPIL IoT Agent sensor nodes and OPIL Robotic Agent AGV nodes provide the necessary information for localization and mapping to the OPIL Sensing and Perception module, while the OPIL Local Execution Layer of the AGVs implements the motion planning task. The OPIL Task Planner’s Task Supervisor module continuously supervises the task execution.  The Task is continuously monitored through the Task Monitoring and Control module of the OPIL Advanced HMI. Interaction between the OPIL Software System Layer, the OPIL Agent Nodes Layer and the Enterprise Application is achieved through the Cyber-Physical Middleware Layer.

 

L4MS partners involved in the experiment execution

Several project partners will be involved in the experiment execution bringing together different key actors along the full value chain and covering the cross-border approach as show bellow:

Partner Role Partner name Country
Manufacturing SMEs Muraplast d.o.o. (MP) HR
CCs supporting the Pilots CiR + ICENT; IML HR, DE
Technology Suppliers supporting the Pilot ASTI; ENG; VIS; ED, KINE ES, IT, FI, GR, FI
Business partner to support in defining the business and exploitation plan EiR + HBD; FBOX; FMWC HR; DE; FI; PL; ES

 

Main benefits of the Experiments:
  1. Reduce the occupational health hazard on workers involved in lifting of heavy objects in loading and unloading processes firstly in the pilot site and later in plants worldwide. The automation will remove the wrist, arm and back harm risks.
  2. Faster production, more accurate, better resource allocation.
  3. Shortage of labour for manual jobs among young people due to increasing trend towards higher education.
  4. Interaction between human forklift operators and AGVs
  5. Configurability: OPIL utilizes a variable mixture of human forklift operators and AGVs depending on the system’s running availability.
  6. Dependability: Unresponsive of faulty AGVs do not influence the completion of the task as complementary resources (other AGVs or human forklift operators are automatically assigned as needed).

 

Outline of the initial exploitation plan and business scenario:

 

Type entity Main benefits expected from each type of entities participating in experiment Outline Exploitation & Business Scenario
Manuf. SMEs (MP)
  • An 11% productivity increase is anticipated if AGVs are used for one type of product on two lines.
  • Reduce the occupational health hazards like musculoskeletal disorders and repetitive stress injury
  • Reduction of weighting errors due to the human factor
  • Reduction of manual labor needed to manipulate the product

Based on the benefits expected, MP will define, during the Experiment Execution, a detailed Business and exploitation Plan -with the L4MS partners’ support- to calculate the cost saving that the experiment will bring to the business, the investment needed to completely implement it and therefore the ROI estimation.


If the experiment get the benefits expected -as MP has recently done a big investment in building of production hall and due to the good financial situation of the Company (See MP Partner Profile)- MP will invest on implementing it on all 3 hall. L4MS will also support MP to raise additional public and private funding to implement it.

Tech. Suppliers This experiment will demonstrate widely applicable solutions for many SMEs:
  • Obtain knowledge and practice on implementing the OPIL system.
  • Enable diversification of the AGV platforms.
  • Learn how to use different (multiple vendors) AGVs together.
  • Reduce the system integrator’s difficulty in implementing logistics solutions

The scalability of other industries and applications will be demonstrated via Application Experiments selected by Open Calls during the project.

Tech Suppliers will promote the implementations in other SMEs and/or in other sectors. Agreements with MP, as the industrial partner even for those alternative markets will be explored.

In parallel, KINE, as system integrator, will define a business plan for the commercialization of those technologies having formalized first the agreements with MP and L4MS.

 

Smartization road map base on experiment execution:

The current experiment will be basic logistics operations, in order to evaluate the system, before proceeding with next step that is a highly automated logistics chain, which is the next step that MP is willing to implement.

Even more, current experiment will help to demonstrate the anticipated benefits (incremental innovation)  while moving towards the Industry 4.0 strategy. MP, supported by the EiR and the CiR, will start to define, based on current experiment result,  new business model motivated by the increased dependability, configurability and interaction capability (disruptive innovation).