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A Small Scale Automated Warehouse

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Manufacturing Division Poster Session

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.106.1 - 14.106.9



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Paper Authors

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Tayte Nelson Oregon Institute of Technology

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Jialu Xie Oregon Institute of Technology


John Anderson Oregon Institute of Technology

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John Anderson is an Associate Professor of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at Oregon Institute of Technology and a registered mechanical engineer. His primary teaching and research interests are manufacturing processes, industrial controls, and manufacturing automation. He has 12 years of teaching experience in higher education, and over 20 years of experience as a mechanical engineer in industry. Prof. Anderson has been awarded two patents, has authored over 20 published technical papers, and has managed several industry and government funded research projects. He is currently Co PI of a National Science Foundation Grant to facilitate the pipeline of new engineers into the aerospace manufacturing industry segment.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Flexible Robotic Manufacturing


The following paper describes a hardware and software system used in modeling an automatic flexible manufacturing system. This system was designed, constructed and tested by students at the Oregon Institute of Technology to model an agile manufacturing system. The focus of this system is exploring processes to remove rigidity in automated processes. Modern automated processes deal with diversity in products by either installing a number of different manufacturing systems, or by producing large amounts of stock to be sent to inventory followed by modification of the manufacturing systems for new products. Rather than following these costly and time-intensive processes, the goal is to construct a single system that is able to flexibly switch between different manufacturing processes on demand and produce directly based upon demand. That is to say that rather than having a number of systems, or producing large amounts of stock to send to inventory, a localized system would be able to automatically produce to order. In this manner costs of large systems, changing out systems, and inventory are reduced while preserving the precision of automated systems.

The project described models a flexible manufacturing process from the aspect of servicing stationary work cells. The issue with flexibility from the standpoint of a manufacturing cell is not so much the ability of the cell to carry out a variety of tasks, but rather the issue is of receiving and locating different materials and tools necessary to these processes. As such this project covers supplying parts and materials to stationary robotic work cells in a manner that is fully automated and can be interpreted within the stationary work cells.

This project employs an autonomous intermediate robot used to transfer and receive parts and goods between stationary robotic work cells and a central supplying depot. Parts and goods are interfaced between the intermediate robot and stationary systems in preloaded modules to be placed inside the stationary work cell work space. The primary constraints are presenting parts and goods in space in a manner that can be found by both intermediate systems and stationary systems. That is, the part and goods within the modules must be fixed in space with appropriate tolerances such that automated systems within the stationary work cell can find them, and the modules themselves must be fixed in space with appropriate tolerances such that the intermediate robot can find them in space. Further, in exchanging modules, intermediate and stationary systems must communicate to some degree.


The main purpose behind exploring flexible automated systems can be found within the principles of Lean Manufacturing. The primary goal of this project is the exploration of increasing product quality while decreasing both costs and time. This can be done by exploring the principles of the Seven Wastes in manufacturing processes, as proposed by

Nelson, T., & Xie, J., & Anderson, J. (2009, June), A Small Scale Automated Warehouse Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5625

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