Automation and digitalisation are also increasingly finding their way into intralogistics processes. Optimal service and maintenance are therefore essential for ensuring that work processes continue to run smoothly. This requirement can be successfully met with remote maintenance.
Almost every company is familiar with the problem of lengthy machinery interruptions, caused by routine maintenance work on storage systems or sudden downtime and system crashes due to deficiencies in the hardware and software. Machines and the IT technology that controls them are becoming ever more efficient, but the increase in productivity is often also associated with a greater need for maintenance and thus inspection and monitoring of the systems. Modern storage and retrieval systems therefore need continuous maintenance to ensure smooth operation and a long service life. This not only applies to the monitoring of the machines’ technical reliability, but also – given the growing importance of software solutions – the systems’ digital components. Constant monitoring of processes is therefore essential for operators of intralogistics units if they wish to achieve maximum productivity in the warehouse.
Conventional service and maintenance units delay the work
Until now, the machines have generally been inspected by the company‘s own personnel or the manufacturer’s technical teams, which frequently involves shutting down the systems. This results in downtime and a drop in performance. The model of continuous remote maintenance of the storage units demonstrates that there is another way. This involves the manufacturer using software to permanently check the reliability of the machines. At the intralogistics manufacturer Kardex Remstar, the new, cloud-based Remote Support service makes it possible for the service engineers to permanently inspect the customer’s storage systems without having to leave their base. The innovative solution from the intralogistics specialist consists of two parts: permanent monitoring of operations (Remote Assistance) and the provision of all relevant process data in one central service tool (Remote Analytics), to which the customer has online access at any time.
Manage storage shuttles from afar with Remote Assistance
Before a company takes up the service, it gives the manufacturer online access to its storage units. Only then does the manufacturer gain access to the operating data of the system it has supplied. Once this has been done, the monitoring begins and all relevant information is relayed from the customer to Kardex in real time, where it is automatically monitored. If a problem arises, the engineering team is immediately informed so that it can be quickly rectified. The biggest advantage of this solution lies in the fact that the problem can often be solved straight away online. There is no longer any need for the engineering team to visit the customer or undertake sometimes lengthy research. If the fault cannot be immediately rectified, the engineers go to the customer’s premises well prepared and can identify and correct the fault more quickly. Another feature of Remote Assistance allows the employees on the customer side to contact the manufacturer directly from the units if they identify an undesirable development. The continuous remote maintenance of the systems significantly improves the efficiency and service life of the storage systems.
The advantages of remote maintenance of automatic shuttle systems:
Since Remote Support constantly monitors the processes in the storage system, irregularities are identified much more quickly than they would be in the course of regular service intervals. Even if acute problems are quickly identified by the machine operators, the Remote Support is faster and has probably already taken measures to resolve the problem and save the storage system from something worse. Parts subject to wear and tear are replaced in good time, minimising damage caused by wear or destroyed parts. All of this increases the reliability of the system, allowing it to smoothly perform its tasks in the warehouse.
Remote maintenance continuously monitors the reliability of the systems. This form of permanent inspection keeps downtime caused by routine maintenance to a minimum. Problems that become apparent in the systems are identified at an early stage, leading to a faster reaction. Consequential costs and downtime caused by longer repairs are reduced, because most of the problems can be rectified by the engineers remotely accessing the systems. If this is not possible and the problem has to be solved by visiting the customer’s premises, the engineers arrive well prepared, allowing them to identify and correct the fault more quickly.
Minimised breakdown costs
Regular monitoring ensures that the work processes are always intact and the systems are running correctly. Breakdowns caused by wear or defects are reduced, resulting in longer machine operating times and less downtime. The associated costs also drop accordingly.
In addition to the reliability of the machines, the subject of occupational health and safety is an important one in the area of storage logistics. Remote maintenance permanently monitors the processes in the units to ensure they are running smoothly, thereby preventing accidents or the risk of injury caused by a damaged or defective system. This optimally protects the employees and ensures that the personnel can operate the systems as safely as possible.
Regular maintenance and monitoring not only has a positive effect on ongoing system operations. As a result of the intensive observation, the condition of parts subject to wear and tear is regularly checked so that they can be replaced if necessary. This makes it possible to make optimal use of the machines. The level of support also increases the service life of the dynamic storage and retrieval systems, which in turn further cuts operating and investment costs.
Analysis from the cloud
Besides the direct support provided by the manufacturer, online service solutions offer additional advantages: If the relevant process data is concentrated online in one central location, for example, companies gain mobile access to their storage systems from anywhere and get the opportunity to check their performance. Here, too, Kardex Remstar is leading the way with its Remote Analytics feature, because it concentrates all operating data from the storage units in its new online service portal. This gives customers a perfect overview of activities in their warehouse at all times and enables them to be immediately informed if any problems arise. This service gives them maximum control of their storage systems, while also increasing their reliability.
By gathering system data in one central location and allowing it to be viewed here, managers get a good overview of their storage systems’ processes and efficiency. The fact that the data can be accessed anytime and anywhere via a Web browser increases the transparency of the solution. Having better information makes it easier to make decisions, leading to more successful results.
Extensive analyses (a part of Industry 4.0)
Detailed analyses can be produced and predictions made with the help of the wide-ranging data and the easy access to it. If any undesirable developments arise within the storage units, they can be identified more quickly and corrected or eliminated at the earliest opportunity.
Intensive support from experts
Since the manufacturer is constantly informed about processes in the warehouse, it is on hand to assist the customer at all times in its role as a highly competent partner and can tend to all matters relating to the system, regardless of whether it involves improving existing processes, future investments, or dealing with a current problem. This saves the customer time and money and optimises efficiency in the warehouse.
All of these factors result in optimal use of the storage units combined with maximum availability. Kardex currently offers the service for its Shuttle XP series. It is likely, however, that the manufacturer will extend the service to other systems so that they can also be used more productively.