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Highly dense storage of silicone molds for prototype production

1zu1 Prototypen from the Austrian city of Dornbirn is one of Europe’s leading producers of prototypes, models, and small series. From catering crockery and leg prostheses to cable ducts – 1zu1 Prototypen produces models and small series made of plastic and metal for customers from all industries. To do this, the company uses a wide range of technically sophisticated processes.

Vacuum casting with polyurethane casting resin requires silicone molds which have to be available quickly when needed. These molds are kept in stock for one and a half years after the last order has been placed so that customers can reorder at any time. As such, a space-saving storage system with fast retrieval times is needed for around 13,000 molds.

This is made possible by an automated storage solution from Kardex Remstar that fits seamlessly into the processes at 1zu1 Prototypen while occupying very little space. The two Shuttle XP 500 storage lifts are more than 15 meters high, and have been built into a concrete shaft. “When working out the design for our new building situated on Rhomberg’s Fabrik industrial park, we planned the storage shaft at the same time,” explains Wolfgang Humml, one of the two managing directors at 1zu1 Prototypen. The high standards of 1zu1 Prototypen can be seen in the minutest detail. The storage logistics had to meet the same standards. “We wanted an efficient, space-saving storage solution that gave us fast access to goods while integrating seamlessly with the company’s own ERP,” says Humml.

Silicone molds of the same height are stored on one tray in order to make optimal use of the storage space. Highly dense storage of the 13,000 silicone molds can be achieved on a footprint measuring just 13.4 square meters by automatically scanning the height of stored goods in the storage lift and storing the trays at intervals of just 25 millimeters. Since around 8,000 new molds are added every year, 1zu1 Protoypen has ordered another XP 500. The third storage lift is located in the mechanical workshop where all the mold inserts for the injection molding tools are stored.

The company uses Kardex Remstar’s own warehouse management software, which offers a flexible link to the ERP system specially developed for 1zu1 Prototypen. This means that the storage or retrieval orders currently leaving one of the two storage lifts around every two to five minutes can be reliably managed. The performance of the storage solution is further increased by components such as a bar code scanner or position bar below the access opening.

Managing director Humml considers the company to be well set up: “We were able to establish order and more efficient processes in the smallest of spaces with the solution from Kardex Remstar.” The third vertical storage lift will enter service in the coming weeks. This will give 1zu1 Prototypen a total of 555 square meters of storage space on a footprint measuring just 25 square meters.


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