BMW-Brilliance, a joint venture formed by Chinese and German carmakers, has partnered with Geek+ (极智嘉), a leading AMR manufacturer, to automate a smart automotive factory in China with Geek+’s goods-to-person digital picking solutions.
The collaboration took place at the Dadong plant of BMW-Brilliance in Shenyang, capital of northeastern China’s Shenyang Province.
According to a statement from Beijing-based Geek+, the partnership involved upgrading the entire factory to improve its levels of digitalization and automation. BMW-Brilliance is 75% owned by BWM and 25% by Brilliance.
Under the agreement between BMW-Brilliance and Geek+, they joined hands to build customized autonomous robots that “meet the highest safety standards,” to overhaul the in-plant handling of smaller car parts and integrate the intelligent manufacturing execution systems.
Despite the Covid-19 restrictions, Geek+ managed to deploy and deliver its robot fleet in only two months from start to finish. After its AMR solutions became operational, the automaker saw a 400% spike in the picking efficiency at its factory, while achieving a labor cost reduction of 64%.
In terms of individual labor, the robotic carriers helped to cut their walking distance by 22.5 km per day, and realized a picking efficiency of 99.99%, says Geek+.
It adds that “this (tie-up) represents an example of the automotive industry’s lean, green and digital production.”
The Shenzhen plant of BMW-Brilliance, which manufactures the Chinese editions of BMW’s best-selling models like X5, 5 series and full-electric iX3, is grappling with a larger number of car components in its quest to scale production.
These parts, involving complex logistics scenarios, pose a bigger challenge to the efficiency, safety and reliability of picking operations.
The establishment is no stranger to robot-assisted automated warehousing and logistics. As early as 2021, it introduced Geek+’s goods-to-person solutions to automate its logistics, employing P800R robots to move smaller-sized items known internally as “F-koli.”
“This project is an important step in BMW Brilliance’s move towards smart manufacturing and digital factories, and a key milestone in our logistics transformation,” said Ralf Schieder, Vice President of Strategy and Logistics at BMW-Brilliance.
He added that the collaboration with Geek+ not just realized the integration and coherence of the warehouse management system, but also provided the carmaker with more flexible and faster solutions for future upgrades renovations.