Daifuku Warehouse Automation Technology Selected for Innovative Robotics Training Center in Michigan

Wynright Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daifuku North America Holding Company and a leading U.S.-based provider of intelligent material handling systems, today announced that it and its sister company Jervis B. Webb have received a contract to provide automated warehouse technology for an innovative technical education program at Lansing Community College (LCC) in Lansing, Michigan. The college will use the Daifuku technology, including automated storage and retrieval (AS/RS), conveying and sortation systems, for a new robotics and automation training center supporting a new mechatronics technician degree program.

“As Michigan’s skilled workers retire, and the advances in technology continue, we will depend highly on the specialized workforce,” said LCC President, Dr. Brent Knight. “In planning for the College’s new Center for Manufacturing Excellence (CME), we assembled an advisory board of 35 area industry leaders to ensure incorporation of cutting-edge technical tools and training for in-demand jobs. Daifuku technology was recommended for the supply chain realm.”

Development of the CME began in the spring of 2015 when the Michigan Economic Development Corporation awarded the college a grant to purchase new technology and create a space necessary to meet the growing demand for highly skilled automation technicians in the area. The grant has enabled LCC to modify its engineering labs and expand its overall learning space from 14,000 square feet to nearly 27,000 square feet.

The CME, slated to open in the fall of 2016, will feature a real-world training environment with a robotic assembly line. The Daifuku warehouse technology will extend the training environment into the supply chain maintenance area, helping students gain skills and a deeper appreciation of the role of logistics in the manufacturing field.

Jervis B. Webb and Wynright, both subsidiaries of Daifuku Co., Ltd. are developing an industrial solution that will integrate Webb’s inverted monorail, Automatic Guided Carts (AGC) and AGC software, with Wynright’s Automotion® brand conveyor, and Fanuc, ABB, and Universal collaborative robots utilizing machine vision and various gripping techniques. The closed loop system will use conveyor and AGC’s to transport parts between robotic stations where collaborative robots assemble, disassemble, load and unload product within the closed loop.

This project will allow LCC to develop a maintenance-focused curriculum around material handling equipment commonly found in an automotive manufacturing facility. The intent of this equipment is to provide a system that will function as a stand-alone closed-loop system as well as individual modules able to run independently of one another.

“We are proud to be part of this important STEM initiative and especially pleased that the new LCC degree program will address automation issues beyond the plant floor. Getting the product from the factory floor to the ultimate end user efficiently and profitably can be as complex as producing it. Much new employment and business efficiency opportunities are emerging in this space, and we are looking forward to working with LCC to help automotive and other industries to benefit from them,” said Kevin Ambrose, CEO Wynright.