Bühler is a producer of devices and machines used in the cereals and seeds industry, breweries and malt factories, the construction and chemical industry, plants manufacturing concentrated feed, in storage of fertilizers and biomass processing and recycling. Proper organization of logistics, on a relatively small area and with the use of quite complicated processing machinery is a key issue. That is why a stacker crane is the most important device in the warehouse.
Planning the investment in the automated production and logistics system, the company was especially oriented at minimizing losses and improving efficiency. In fact, due to the nature of its business activity, the effect could be brought mainly by reducing the time of individual processes and optimizing employment costs.
The manufacturing department used six machines for flat sheet processing. However, the new warehouse was supposed to provide a room for ten machines so that we could flexibly expand if necessary. Besides, the new facility was to be built on a very small storage area,” said Klaus Harrer, the Head of Production in the plant in Beilngries.
The process of implementation of a brand-new automated sheet metal Remmert warehouse was very fast; everything took only about eight months.
Stacker crane in the heart of the warehouse
How does it work? The new warehouse has the following dimensions: 51.5 x 8 x 6 m (L x W x H). It contains 250 pallets, each of them with a payload of 5 t. The sheets stored may have a maximum size of 2 x 4 m. The stacker crane with a moving speed of 100 m/min is in the heart of the warehouse. The warehouse consists of two rows of racks placed opposite each other: one with 11 towers and one made of only three modules. According to the investment plan with expansion perspective, it is prepared for possible development in the future.
The stacker crane of high efficiency, going between the racks, enables fast loading and unloading of materials. There is one loading station and five unloading stations. The new installation works with five processing machines: three lasers Bystronic Bystar 4020, one water jet cutter Bystronic Byjet 2030 and two dies Trumpf. They are mechanically connected with the warehouse automation via vacuum cups. All the sheets leaving the warehouse are processed according to the “pull” principle.
When applying the “pull” principle, high availability of the system is a must. The materials are picked only when they can be directly processed. There is no buffering. The new warehouse increases the system availability to over 99 percent to meet our needs,” said Harrer.
Software to control warehouse traffic
Fast loading and unloading processes are controlled and managed by PRO WMS Enterprise software.
According to its strategy, it attributes a storage place within the system to each load and, this way, optimizes the time required for material movements. It also helps to control the state of stocks anytime because all the incoming and outgoing pallets are automatically weighted. Harrer explains that the investment enabled increasing the work time of the laser cutting machines from 17 to 20 hours per day on average (actual work of the lasers is calculated, excluding the time needed for loading and programming the machines).