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Southwire yesterday announced a partnership with Ready Robotics (READY Robotics), a developer of automation systems that overcome the obstacles faced by manufacturers, to deploy automation at five of the company’s facilities.
Through the partnership, Southwire’s Retail East Customer Service Center (CSC) in Villa Rica, Ga.; Utility Products Plant in Carrollton, Ga.; Kentucky Plant in Hawesville, Ky.; Florence Plant in Florence, Ala.; and Bremen Campus in Bremen, Ind., will participate in the automation pilot.
“Partnering with Ready Robotics provides us with an opportunity to leverage their expertise, as we continue to deploy cutting-edge technology within our operations,” Alex Thomas, chief engineer at Southwire, said. “Continuous improvement is critical to assuring that we safely service our customers, and this partnership helps us accelerate those efforts by using smart solutions that fit nicely with our history as an innovation leader in the industry.”
To prepare for the project, Ready Robotics said it conducted an Automation Readiness Assessment (ARA). This systematic analysis, led by automation professionals, identified potential automation opportunities within Southwire’s production facilities. The ARA process evaluates both traditional automation opportunities and high-mix low-volume (HMLV) operations. These HMLV operations are often seen as challenging to automate without a versatile solution like Ready’s ForgeOS, their proprietary industrial OS for robotics and automation.
Allan Gibson, vice president of Automation & Manufacturing Technologies at Ready Robotics called the partnership a “game-changer.” He said, “Our collaboration with Southwire to deploy industrial robotics, mobile robotics like automated guided vehicles (AGVs) or autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), and Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) across their corporation using ForgeOS is transformative. It underscores Southwire’s commitment to efficiency, quality and sustainability.”
As a part of its commitment to Living Well, Southwire says it works to enhance the lives of its team members daily by building a workplace that is diverse, supportive and engaging. Safety and health are the company’s top priorities, and this partnership is an extension of those efforts.
“Our partnership with Ready Robotics supports our ongoing assessment and initiative to provide a safe environment for all team members,” Se Oh, Southwire’s vice president of Operations Sustainability, said. “Through close collaboration between READY Robotics and our Modernization, Health and Safety and Packaging Engineering teams, we plan to cultivate material handling safety and related automation for our existing assets and future investments.”