When investing in automation, there are a lot of things you must consider. Here is an insight on how our process as AutoStore specialists look like.
“With a wide range of expertise, a user-friendly software and more than 35 years of intralogistics experience Element Logic will find the optimal solution for you and your future growth”, Niklas Poulsen, Sales Manager in Element Logic, explains.
Establish the partnership
The first step towards automation is to get in contact with the specialists in the Element Logic sales team. With their extensive knowledge and experience in implementing warehouse automation and AutoStore systems in warehouses, they take the lead in making ROI calculations and payback analyses to find a custom solution for your current and future needs.
The team calculates all aspects of your operations. Some calculations are straightforward, such as how many employees you will need to operate. But we also calculate how much you will save on reducing human errors in picking goods and how much customer satisfaction will increase when they experience faster and safer deliveries.
“Finally, we estimate the budget and time frame for you”, Poulsen says.
Designing a tailor-made warehouse for your specific needs
After mapping your needs and preferences, our team of system designers work closely with the sales team and Project Manager using their experience and creativity to design a customised solution for your warehouse. No solution is ever the same.
“We spend a lot of time analysing and calculating numbers to understand your needs”, Lasse Vik, Product Manager AutoStore explains. Vik designs systems for all kinds of customers, regardless of size, shape and challenges.
Once you sign a contract with us, we assign you a Project Manager that will work as a coordinator in all phases, and as the bridge between you and the team designing and building the solution. This way, you have one central point of contact – making it easier for you to keep track of what is happening.
“It is essential to have an open and honest dialogue about all details with the customer. This way, both sides feel confident and secure about the process”, Nils Grille, Project Manager at Element Logic, explains.
To make sure we end up with the best possible solution, the design team makes several 3D-models and run simulations. These simulations will give you an idea of what you can expect from the end-result regarding capacity and efficiency.
“When we have established a draft plan based on your needs and your available space, we present this to you, and together we agree on how we execute the installation”, Grille says.
Delivery and construction
You can compare AutoStore to an advanced Lego-kit. Your Project Manager is in the lead of coordinating resources and deliveries to ensure a smooth construction phase.
“As your project manager, I make sure all the deliveries arrive at the right time. After more than 35 years in operations, Element Logic has not had any significant delays in delivering a project. Our customers highly value this accountability in a time of change”, Project Manager Grille explains.
Once the materials arrive, the construction team works on the time-consuming task of measuring out the grid and installing the first aluminium columns. Each stage of the construction is handled carefully and accurate to avoid mistakes that could affect the later stages of construction.
“When the foundation is complete, the rest of the grid is quickly built row after row by our experienced construction teams”, Grille explains.
Your entire AutoStore solution is custom-built to fit your space, needs and requests. The custom solution includes not only the grid itself but also the service mezzanine, ports, and everything else included in your unique solution. Our goal is to utilise your space in the most efficient and space-saving way.
For customers in need of a total warehouse solution, we have the competence and can support our customers with different kind of systems and technology in addition to AutoStore.
The final step of the construction process is to place the robots on the grid.
Testing capacity and efficiency
Once the robots are on top of the grid, the commissioning team executes extensive testing and simulations on scenarios. This way, you can be confident the AutoStore-system capacity matches the estimated figures from the sales process before you go live.
Our software eManager enables you to maximise the efficiency and reduce operational cost. This software implements warehouse execution, management, and control systems in one optimised, user-friendly interface.
“I test the system with the customer and guide them into production. I also prepare servers for installation to make sure our software eManager is compatible with the customers’ existing systems”, Theresa Marin Tantillo, Solutions Architect at Element Logic, explains.
eManager comes with built-in operator assistance for completing AutoStore tasks, an operational dashboard, and a service portal. eManager is also used to locate and control products and inventory and can integrate with ERP/WMS, and a variety of warehouse management systems.
“I would say we are World Champions of integrating AutoStore. eManager is the brain of AutoStore making it efficient and enabling all components to communicate with each other for an optimised workflow”, Tantillo says.
Support and customer care after the installation
When the solution is ready to go live, the Element Logic support division is ready to help you in your daily operations and work with you to get the most out of your automated warehouse.
“In support, we help our customers with any issues they might face with their solution”, Wenche Schellhorn, Support Consultant at Element Logic, explains.
After completing the superuser training, you and the support division can understand each other as you can speak the same technical language and can work out the issues together.
The support team is always ready to help you with ad-hoc tasks, but they also continuously work to optimise your operations and to investigate where and how they can help you grow.
“During the construction phase, we are in the information loop and are familiar with the customer’s AutoStore-solution when they start using it and might need our help”, Arnold Nielsen, Key Account Manager at Element Logic, explains.
You can receive an SLA-report each month with detailed status on your AutoStore-solution, including downtime and completed tasks.
Seamless transition to automation
After decades of experience with AutoStore and intralogistics, we are experts in transitioning our customers from manual to automatic warehouses. Our success-factor is the agility and solution-minded service team surrounding each customer – you can be confident that your solution is tailored specifically to your needs.
From the account manager, project manager, designers, constructors, commissioning team, system architects, superuser trainers and the experts in the support division, the transition to an automatic warehouse is seamless and comfortable. While simultaneously preparing your company for future growth.
The time frame from the initial meetings to an operational warehouse varies heavily. It depends on the decision-making process and your needs.
“A standard process is usually around three months from order to delivery and a few additional months of construction”, Sales Manager Niklas Poulsen states.
Source: Element Logic UK
Researchers to Develop Solid Lubricant Coatings for Conveyor Systems
A research and development team led by Min Zou, professor of mechanical engineering and an Arkansas Research Alliance Fellow, has received a $550,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to develop low-friction, durable, graphite-lubricant coatings for industrial conveyor systems.
Belt conveyors comprise about a quarter of the $7.65 billion global conveyor market, which has expanded significantly in recent years because of e-commerce. However, an enormous amount of energy is wasted in these systems. High sliding friction between conveyor belts and slider bed materials is responsible for more than half of the total energy losses in a flat conveyor system.
The researchers will develop novel graphite coatings that will significantly reduce energy consumption and equipment failure in conveyor systems. The research will also deepen a fundamental understanding of the novel coating technology to enable applications in other fields, which could lead to significant savings in many U.S. industries.
The technology is based on a unique, patented bonding approach, developed by Zou’s group, in which graphite coatings adhere tightly to a substrate material.
After developing and optimizing fast-coating deposition processes for conveyor materials, the researchers will build scalable coating processes for full-sized belt conveyors. They will then build a prototype for evaluating the coating performance and demonstrate the feasibility of the coatings for industrial applications.
The new project is a collaboration between university researchers and industry leaders. Zou’s team at the U of A will partner with researchers at Arkansas State University and Hytrol Conveyor Company Inc., the largest conveyor manufacturer in the U.S.
Robert Fleming, assistant professor at Arkansas State; Ty Keller, Hytrol’s manager of product innovation; and Boyce Bonham, Hytrol’s chief engineer, will serve as co-principal investigators.
The project will support a doctoral student at the U of A, who will serve as the entrepreneurial lead, a master’s student at Arkansas State, and undergraduate students from underrepresented groups. They have benefited from site and national NSF I-Corps training and Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation support and training, as well as mentoring by Cynthia Sides, assistant vice chancellor for research and innovation at the U of A, and Douglas Hutchings, director of the Arkansas Research Alliance Academy.
Zou’s research focuses on nanoscale materials and manufacturing. She is an international expert on surface engineering and tribology — the study of friction, wear and lubrication in the design of bearings and interacting surfaces in motion. Zou has designed, refined and tested solid lubricant coatings for various applications. The coatings are thinner, more durable and environmentally superior to petroleum-based oil lubricants.
Zou holds the Twenty-First Century Chair of Materials, Manufacturing and Integrated Systems.
Dematic automates warehouse of kitchen manufacturer Schmidt Groupe
Dematic has automated the picking warehouse of French kitchen manufacturer Schmidt Groupe S.A.S. at its site in Lièpvre in Alsace. The automation technology provider developed a space-saving solution, featuring a multishuttle system for multiple-deep storage in nearly 6,000 locations as well as special tote conveyor technology. Within the multishuttle system, 12 shuttles control order sequencing. The conveyor system z requested items to various workstations. In this way, the Dematic solution provides complete automation of the previously manual storage and retrieval operation as well as picking goods for the entire material flow.
“The Dematic Multishuttle significantly increases speed, storage density, accuracy, and availability within the picking warehouse,” says Boris Herrmann, Process Manager at Schmidt Groupe S.A.S. “In addition, the overall system enables high throughput rates as well as error-free picking, guaranteeing us efficient and reliable order processing.” As one of the international market leaders for furniture manufacturing and distribution, Schmidt Groupe faced several intralogistics challenges. For example, managing the side panels, doors, fittings, and handles of a customized kitchen required more effective processes, so the company decided to automate the material flow at its Alsace site.
Order picking starts at the small parts workstations. There, operators put required parts into cartons using a pick-by-light system. Cartons are then transported to the subsequent stations by conveyor using special roller and belt conveyor technology that support the logistical processes. If larger items are needed for an order, the small parts carton is loaded onto a tray and stored or buffered in the Dematic Multishuttle, which provides space for 5,760 storage locations on 12 levels. Within the multishuttle system, a dozen shuttles handle automatic order sequencing as well as storage, transfer, and retrieval. The conveyor system then transports the filled totes and trays to the other workstations. A continuous scale checks the weight. When an order is complete, the sequenced totes are checked, cartons are closed, and shipping labels applied.
Dematic has also installed a WMS (Warehouse Management System) that optimally manages stocks and orders according to priority, with the most frequently requested items stored in the most accessible locations. A WinCC process visualization system developed by Siemens was also integrated into the solution for monitoring the technical processes. It enables a simple and clear information flow of all accruing data and provides a user interface. As Thomas Meyer-Jander, Director EMEA and Head of Marketing & Communications at Dematic, explains: “In this way, users have access to the current operation status and can use that data to derive optimizations for improved performance.” The Schmidt Groupe’s assessment is correspondingly positive. Herrmann sums it up, “Our throughput and delivery accuracy goals have been more than met. With Dematic, we have the right supplier – due to their intralogistics know-how and expertise, they have been valuable resource, and our relationship has been characterized by cooperation and partnership.”
Orion’s Compact RTC Rotary Tower Automatic Wrapper Integrates with Existing Conveyance
Orion Packaging Systems, a division of ProMach, responded to industry demands by creating a space-saving rotary automatic wrapper that easily integrates with new or existing conveyance.
Orion’s Rotary Tower Automatic (RTC) Stretch Wrapper with Conveyance is the ideal solution for easy integration with 18″ pass-height conveyors due to its compact size, affordability, and the option to expand with additional conveyance.
The RTC is fully automatic and attaches the stretch film at the cycle start, cutting it at the end. The forklift operator simply places the pallet-load on the infeed conveyor and pulls a lanyard switch while moving away to collect the next load. This design increases employee safety by removing them from proximity of the moving rotary arm.
In addition to the compact size, expandability and increased employee safety, the RTC has:
- 20″ Insta-Thread™ Film Carriage standard with 260% pre-stretch
- Revo-Logic technology with photo-eye sensor carriage ensuring precise application of programmed wraps and maximizing load containment and film yield
- Separate up and down film carriage speed control and top and bottom adjustable wrap counts, customizing wrapping for each load
- Long lasting AC motors and Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) controllers, providing low maintenance
- Labor saving film tail clamp with cut & wipe that automatically secures film, allowing faster output by reducing per-load wrapping
Orion’s RTC Stretch Wrapper delivers performance and cost-savings to new or existing wrapping systems, providing increased production and output.
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