Final Tests in the Pregel Plant

PGplant 1 ridThe last three months of the project have been devoted to extensively test SAFERUN in the Pregel plant. More precisely, owing to the robust behavior shown by the system during the preliminary tests, the experimentation was extended to real operative conditions: the working area of the experimental LGVs was extended to the whole plant and their missions were autonomously planned by the plant supervisor together with the ones of the other vehicles. Practically, the novel LGVs have been tested, with continuity, for three months under actual operative conditions, i.e., by sharing their workspace with human operators and with other standard LGVs.

Statistics were collected from September 1, 2017 to November 30, 2017. Obtained results have been compared with the ones collected from May 1, 2016 to November 30, 2016, i.e., during a period in which all LGVs were driven by means of the standard planner. The technicians who supervise the plant were not specifically trained for the new vehicles but, conversely, they managed them as the other standard vehicles. This is to say that SAFERUN LGVs do not require a specific surveillance and that their use is totally “transparent” for the end-user.
Achieved results make it possible to draw some conclusions concerning the entire project. In terms of productivity, the final figure obtained is much better than the expected one. Originally, Elettric80 considered an efficiency improvement close to 4-5% as a good target for the project. The final gain measured under real operating conditions – and consequently accounting for the plant non-idealities – was equal to 8.48%.
Another fundamental point, which risks to be somehow hidden by efficiency considerations, needs to be stressed: time improvements have been obtained through an analytic method which guarantees the motion safeness. This aspect is very important since it allows overcoming the trial-and-error methodology used up to now.
The project also led to the creation of a tool that was not originally mentioned among the outcomes. In old plant, safety is guaranteed by means of a trial-and-error approach. The new tool allows an automatic safety analysis of old plants, so that critical configurations can be automatically detected and amended.
Pregel asked E80 to do not disable the SAFERUN planner after the end of the project. As a consequence, SAFERUN officially becomes the stable planner of the Pregel warehouse. Bearing also in mind the extensive three-month tests, it can be asserted that the project is ending with a TRL7 grade instead of the TRL6 one originally expected.
Elettric 80 is currently selecting a new plant, among the ones that are going to be designed, that will be entirely conceived for the use of the SAFERUN planner. Further improvements are expected by the combined adoption of SAFERUN and other ideas grown during the project.

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