Process-Integrated Material Handling

Company Background

Colorado-based Image Projections West (IPW) offers remanufactured toner cartridges. Using a lean production system, they are able to offer more than 400 different cartridge types from more than 11 different OEMs, saving their customers money while protecting the environment. Toner cartridge remanufacturing is a highly manual process, employing more than 50 manufacturing workers at IPW’s Denver location.

“We had looked at different types of autonomy and production tracking software in the past. The reason we never pulled the trigger on anything is that it was not versatile enough to the needs of our business. The RM Studio software and MIR cart combo is one of the most versatile forms of autonomy out there hands down.”

Joel Cornuet, VP of Manufacturing, IPW

Problem

Maintaining a continuous improvement process and tracking waste throughout their factory on a daily basis requires painstaking manual data collection and analysis. Implementing the entire process from cartridge disassembly, cleaning, refilling, reassembly, storage and shipping incurs considerable transport waste, requiring two full-time material handlers.

Solution

IPW has modeled two of their core processes with RMStudio and installed commodity tablets at every station, automatically gathering statistics on efficiency and throughput. IPW also relies on RMStudio’s built-in integration with the MIR-100 autonomous cart that performs transportation across all three processes.

Result

Before Robotic Materials, we had two full time team members moving material throughout our production area. Employees usually called on a radio to notify the material handlers what they needed. They normally would be calling for things because they were out of something. Now things show up to our production workers stations before they even know they need it.