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Konecranes

Harnessing the power of smart warehouse robots

Industrial

Konecranes’ intelligent warehouse robots ensure the smooth operation of workshops and pulp mills.

The manufacturing facility for Konecranes’ Agilon warehouse robots is located in Tampere, where world-class machines have been built for over 100 years.

The most important competitive factor for a device now is its intelligence — software that controls, monitors, analyzes, and reports on device performance to its operator. This also applies to Agilon robots.

“The software is the most expensive component of the device,” says Vesa Hämetvaara, Head of Product Management at Konecranes Agilon Business. He is standing next to a white, large cabinet-like device. Agilon equipment of this size class is used, for instance, as a logistic center for small tools and supplies needed for production plant maintenance.

Agilon is the result of domestic innovation that Konecranes has been developing in leaps and bounds since 2011. Customers can purchase Agilon systems as a continuous service, with a monthly fee covering both the system and related services.

Agilon is the result of domestic innovation that Konecranes has been developing in leaps and bounds since 2011. Customers can purchase Agilon systems as a continuous service, with a monthly fee covering both the system and related services.

From workshops to online stores

Typically Agilon systems are very tall, reaching up to the ceiling of production plants.

They serve as component warehouses in the metal industry’s internal logistics centers and in the paper industry’s spare parts centers. System management software ensures that the right number of components are always available for production, bringing uninterrupted production and certainty to business. Major Agilon systems have over 10,000 products.

“Our strength lies in the fact that our systems adapt well to the needs of our customers,” Hämetvaara says.

Thanks to its modular structure, Agilons can be easily fit into a customer’s existing space and can be customized to suit changing needs. Konecranes, together with grocery store chains and logistic operators in the industry has also developed a version of Agilon that serves as a pickup point for online grocery stores. The food distribution service has two temperature components — refrigerator temperature and room temperature — with products from both sections coming out of the same door. The first pilot units were introduced in Järvenpää and Vantaa in early 2020.

Remote monitoring reduces downtime

Agilon devices around the world are remotely managed in Tampere. More than 100 devices are monitored in real-time and are ready to help customers when any issues arise. “The device alerts us when a problem occurs. We remotely identify the cause and communicate the plan of action with the customer. If something is broken, we arrange the necessary parts and personnel,” Antti Taskula says.

Taskula demonstrates how one can check on the workings of the Agilon device on display at a fair in India — the number products it has moved, types of customer catalog lists, the progress of different measures and the camcorder view from the inside. Everything happens in real-time and all data on the device is stored for future use.

Remote management and proactive service minimize equipment maintenance needs while also reducing downtime. This way Konecranes efficiently ensures business continuity for customers.

Need to develop test automation

The Agilon system consists of three software packages — one runs the system’s operations, the other remotely controls it, and the third is the customer portal, which gives Agilon users a comprehensive view of the materials in the system and their movements. Typically, the equipment is also integrated into the customers’ and suppliers’ Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.

Since 2016, Konecranes and Qentinel have been working closely together to develop both test automation of the customer portal and maintenance of the test infrastructure. The collaboration has been truly mutual with Agilon application materials used as early test materials for the Qentinel Pace service. Before working with Qentinel, Konecranes tested its software on its own, mainly retrospectively.

“We observed that testing needs to be made more systematic with resources different than the ones we use for software development and that a significant amount of testing needs to be automated. We soon realized that we needed a strong partner for the job, ” Hämetvaara reveals.

Better quality and greater savings

Konecranes appreciates that Qentinel has had experts in Tampere who specifically cater to its needs.

“In an intensive development project, it is important that the team can be in the same place. Qentinel’s expertise has been reflected, among other things, in how the test automation of the user interface integrated into the Agilon device’s internal system has been successfully verified,” Hämetvaara explains.

When it comes to customer portal test automation, the emphasis is on testing a product that is continuously updated. Four versions of the software are produced each year. Automated testing has resulted in considerable savings for Konecranes compared to the higher costs of manual testing.

“Test automation of the customer portal saves us two weeks of testing per version per browser. When we have four versions a year, the result is that 24-weeks’ worth of work is automatically completed in a couple of hours,” Hämetvaara says.

The test automation runs on Qentinel’s Pace service, which transfers test results to the Konecranes system. With Konecranes not having to dedicate its own resources to maintain the test environment, personnel costs are reduced. High-quality software also means that software developers can focus on further developing their services instead of channeling their resources towards fixing errors.

“Developing test automation with Qentinel has been a smooth, straightforward process. We have always received what we have been promised.”

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Benefits for Konecranes

01

Savings through efficient testing

02

Quality between different interfaces

03

Resources for testing

“Test automation of the customer portal saves us two weeks of testing per version per browser. When we have four versions a year, the result is that 24-weeks’ worth of work is automatically completed in a couple of hours.”

Vesa Hämetvaara, Head of Product Management

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