Russia's first robot plant, and what have the sausage?

    When I was invited to come to the presentation of the first robot plant in Russia, I thought that they would talk about the plant that produces robots. But it turned out to be still more interesting.


    1. Robots

    Remember Ilona Mask? So, he has a Tesla production plant almost completely robotized. Many factories in Japan are also well automated. I did not think that there are such people in Russia too. It turns out now there is. In general, all processes are robotized at the plant, starting from the ingress of raw materials to the warehouse of the plant and ending with packed pallet with boxes of products.

    Of the people at the plant, only truck drivers, people on forklift trucks, repairmen, cleaners work (after all, the entire plant must be completely washed at sanitary times), and people controlling the work of robots and the presence of packaging material - only 150 people. Instead of 700 people, in a similar non-robotic factory.


    It all starts with the fact that a wagon drives into the factory, while it passes through a special disinfecting shower. Then the truck is unloaded by people on loaders, taking the raw materials to a special warehouse. And then the magic begins.

    The warehouse employs several robots that take raw materials and after a while move it to production. Where, after the conveyor, the raw materials are turned into sausages, which are hung on the ramrods, which are placed in frames with the help of a special robot, and “mature” in the drying workshop.

    Throughout the plant, 12 warehouse robots drive, which weigh the frames with sausage (and this is important, because by weight you can determine the humidity, and hence the degree of readiness). Each frame every day robots have time to weigh 3000 times. When the sausage is ready, the robot transports it to the packaging conveyor. Robots do everything automatically, even they leave for recharging.

    On the packaging conveyor, everything happens so quickly that the eye does not have time to notice, because 120 sausages per minute rush by. At the same time, a special robot manages to weigh the sausage, assess whether it passes in the range of 300 - 315 grams, send it further or into marriage, and stick a label. Therefore, the first time actively used slowmotion for testing and configuration.

    Then the ABB-robot checks the labels, puts the sausages in the box, puts the box on a pallet, and then the flyizer packs it all up. Robots take pallets to the warehouse of finished products. And only then people re-connect to the process: with the help of loaders, they transfer finished products to trucks that leave through a separate exit. And it is important that the zones of raw materials and finished products are separated.

    Initially, the plant was divided into 4 zones, each is a mini-plant. Each zone has its own boss, who is fully responsible for everything from the construction stage to support, repairs and order fulfillment.

    When the plant was created, it immediately leveled at the most stringent biosafety standards - Japanese and European. When robotization of the plant, the goal was to robotize everything that is not biosafety. As a result, people are located a few meters from the production. In addition, wastewater treatment systems and other types of pollution were developed. This allowed the plant to stay in the reserve and be completely safe for him.

    Preparation and start-up of the plant

    The plant was planned in 2015, design started in 2016, construction began in 2017 and in the summer of 2018 the plant actively works, producing 11-16 tons of smoked sausage per day, which is 5% of the market needs.

    So that robots could work on such a production, it was necessary to think over and prepare all it-systems. That is why it contractors began work at the plant construction stage. And the commissioning work itself took 3-5 months.

    For example, in a warehouse where robots are now driving, the floor was buried 1.5 meters so that there were no vibrations that prevent robots from riding.

    For a long time, a solution was chosen for WiFi and communications - after all, access points should be protected from moisture. Let me remind you that the plant every day is completely washed with Karcher. As a result, we stopped at WiFi routers in hermoboxes and outlets according to the standard IP68 stainless steel and a network category 6A.

    The network itself consists of several rings that are interconnected. Of course, all systems were reserved. Communication points - 2N. Servers - N + 1. All workplaces of controllers and engineers are made as tablets, working via WiFi. SLA to eliminate IT errors by engineers is 15-30 minutes. This is possible thanks to 90 cameras and a variety of sensors throughout the plant, and the fact that all robots collect all the necessary information. And can report in case of any disruption to work.

    But how to transfer these tons of information? After all, no WiFi will not sustain such a load. And this is where the foggy computations that are used in IoT help. Robots process all the information on their own, and decide for themselves what information to send - reducing the load on WiFi by several orders of magnitude. This is achieved through visual adjustment of the behavior patterns of robots in special software.

    Next, the data is exchanged with the MES system, which is located at the factory. And the MES-system, in turn, communicates with the ERP-system, located on the data center in Moscow. And so that failures did not cause a shutdown of the plant - 3 levels of fault tolerance were developed. If there are problems with the ERP-system, the MES-system can safely continue to work. But then ERP and MES reconciliation will be required. And even if the failure occurs in the MES-system, the robots will still continue to work.

    I also wanted to note that the IT system is built in such a way that if an order is launched into production, then no one can cancel or correct it. This is done to ensure that orders are 100% executed. Even suppliers were selected on the basis of 100% execution. For this they came to their warehouses, and at first they controlled the amount of raw materials in their warehouses. To all followed the principle of Just In Time.

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