Self-driving vehicles transport medical equipment for quick delivery along assembly lines.
KITCHENER, Ont. — At GE Healthcare’s 280,000 square foot Repair Operations Center in Milwaukee, WI, a fleet of OTTO self-driving vehicles are used to deliver parts to workstation cells to handle over 2,000 repairs of medical devices weekly.
The vehicles from OTTO Motors, a division of Kitchener, Ont.’s Clearpath Robotics Inc., are contributing to GE Healthcare’s lean manufacturing strategy.
GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services shaping a new age of patient care globally. When repairs are required on medical devices, the quality repairs are completed quickly and efficiently, and the devices are returned to the medical facility to be put back into service for patients that rely on them.
GE Healthcare has reduced the size of its repair cell stations at the Repair Operations Centre by 40%, much of which is due to the integration of the OTTO self-driving vehicles. Parts are delivered on-demand and navigate from the pick-up point directly to the destination, always taking the fastest route.
OTTO is also able to take on multiple jobs within the plant; the same vehicle can be used in different applications across the facility, from supplying parts to repair cells and moving finished goods to shipping zones. This multi-functional capability has led to a 66% increase in productive floor space.
Previous GE repair centers required technicians to manually push carts to move equipment into repair cells and shipping areas. Material transport was typically dependent on other manual tasks, which often led to delays. Furthermore, facilities suffered from wasted floor space due to room needed for carts and fixed infrastructure.
OTTO is a self-driving vehicle designed exclusively for material transport in industrial environments. The vehicles combine the reliability of an AGV, efficiency of a conveyor and flexibility of human decision-making by using advanced sensors and artificial intelligence.
Watch this video to see how OTTO is working at GE Healthcare: