Neuenstadt, March 8, 2022 – Bridgestone, the world’s largest tire maker, has significantly increased its automatization of warehouse and distribution process at its production plant in Poznan, Poland. As a full-service provider, Kardex Mlog supplied an automated high-bay warehouse for customer pallets with extensive conveying technology and overlaid warehouse management software. In June 2021, the storage solution began productive operation right on schedule.
The structural conditions at the site were challenging. The 31-meter high storage and retrieval machines, each weighing 13 metric tonnes, had to be maneuvered in one piece through extremely tight spaces and a hole in the roof into the 35-meter high warehouse building. The meticulously prepared operation was one of the final acts in the warehouse extension, which Kardex Mlog carried out for Bridgestone at its Polish production location in Poznan between January 2020 and June 2021.
Conveyor system with 98 drives
Kardex Mlog constructed a racking structure for double-deep storage of customer pallets with raw materials for the production of car tires. Each of these pallets with four runners can weigh up to 1.4 metric tonnes. The steel load carriers, with a floor area of 1,700 x 1,100 mm, weigh 100 kg. The rubber compounds stored on these mean that the load units are up to 1,500 mm high. The highly flammable nature of the material means that a NFPA 13-certified sprinkler system must be installed in the racking. NFPA stands for National Fire Protection Association. NFPA 13 refers to the set of rules for planning and installation of sprinkler systems.
The fire protection equipment is part of the scope of supply as is the conveyor system with 98 drives for three floors of the building. The automated storage and retrieval take place on the lower two floors via six conveyors. Whereas the two lower storage levels serve the production area, the upper level with three further conveyors is reserved for quality assurance. Here, Kardex Mlog set up two special quality-check stations, to which the material for inspection can be conveyed.
Potential for future growth
The three storage and retrieval machines (SRMs) of type MSingle B engineered by Kardex Mlog allow a drive speed of up to 240 m/min, which was optimized for the project in accordance with the operating status. The single mast SRMs are designed for loads of up to 1.4 metric tonnes and they achieve lift speeds of up to 100 m/min.
Another feature of the plant relates to the identification technology: At Bridgestone, two RFID chips integrated into the pallet runners ensure trouble-free processes. “A barcode solution was not feasible because readability of the barcodes could not be guaranteed over several years in the tough production environment”, explains Manuel Engel from Kardex Mlog Sales. The redundancy of the RFID chips, in contrast, guarantees one hundred percent readability even in the event of failure of one of the two tags, and this would not otherwise be possible in the environment of the metal pallet.
Optimal retrieval sequence
The article data stored on the chips is read on retrieval and transferred to the MCC control software, which was also supplied by Kardex Mlog, and here it is checked for plausibility against the previously received data. MCC stands for MLOG Control Center, a modular warehouse management system, which implements warehouse management and material flow control for raw materials at Bridgestone. The MCC calculates the optimal retrieval sequence, for example, depending on the use-by date of the different rubber compounds.
With the MVisu plant visualization, which is an integral module of the MCC, the automated conveying technology, including the storage and retrieval conveyors and the transfer conveyors integrated in the steel racking, are illustrated graphically. These transfer conveyors enable transport of the pallets between the individual aisles, which optimizes utilization of the warehouse and makes storage and retrieval extremely flexible. This enables balanced deployment of the SRMs and effective load distribution during peak times. Visualization enables interactive contact with the material flow system - from context-related processing of location data to the information required in the event of a plant malfunction. The warehouse management system is connected with the automation devices of the controls via a standardized interface, which ensures permanent exchange of data between the systems.
Jointly used database
The operational connection between production and high-bay warehouse is implemented automatically via automated guided vehicles (AGVs), whose higher-level material flow control is connected to the MCC via an interface. The inventory levels are saved by the MCC to a jointly used database. Alternatively, driver-operated floor vehicles can be deployed. To enable this flexibility, the transfer stations in the conveying technology were equipped with lifting turntables. This means that the pallets can be lifted lengthways (for forklift trucks) or sideways (for AGVs).
The automated high-bay warehouse was completed by a service package tailored to Bridgestone, which includes a hotline, maintenance, and spare parts supply from the Life Cycle Service business area. In the event of technical problems that cannot be solved remotely, the service technicians from Kardex Mlog’s Polish subsidiary (established in 2021) can be on site within four hours. Experience shows, however, that in more than 96 percent of the rare occasions where service is required, remote maintenance is successful. The Life Cycle Service supports logistics plants during their entire lifetime, it ensures maximum operational security, and maintains state-of-the-art technology.
Background: Bridgestone Europe (BSEU)
Bridgestone Europe (BSEU) is an important regional subsidiary of the Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest manufacturer of tires and other rubber products. Bridgestone Corporation and its subsidiaries employ more than 140,000 people worldwide, it operates 178 plants in 25 countries and markets products in more than 150 countries. The company was founded in 1931 and markets tires under the Bridgestone, Firestone, Dayton and other brands. One in five vehicles worldwide drives on Bridgestone tires. The product range includes tires for cars, trucks, buses, all types of special-purpose, construction and off-road vehicles, tractors and agricultural machinery, motorbikes and scooters, and airplanes. In addition to tires, Bridgestone also develops and produces conveyor belts, hydraulic hoses, rubber sheets, bicycle tires, and golf equipment. For more information, see www.bridgestone.eu.
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About Kardex Mlog
Kardex Mlog (www.kardex.com) with head office in Neuenstadt am Kocher is one of the leading suppliers of integrated material flow systems and high-bay warehouses. The company has more than 50 years of experience in the planning, implementation and maintenance of fully automated logistics solutions. The three business sectors - Greenfield installations, Refurbishment, and After-sales service – draw upon its in-house manufacturing facility in Neuenstadt. Kardex Mlog is part of the Kardex Group and employs 290 people. In 2020 the company achieved revenues of €73 million.contact form.
MLOG Logistics GmbH
74196 Neuenstadt am Kocher
Tel.: +49 7139 / 4893-536
Fax: +49 7139 / 4893-99 536
Tel.: +49 7139 / 4893-536