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Around 13,000 silicone molds used in the vacuum casting process are stored in the highly dense storage system from Kardex Remstar

Around 13,000 silicone molds used in the vacuum casting process are stored in the highly dense storage system from Kardex Remstar

Precision and innovation characterize the working style of 1zu1 Prototypen. The workshop in the Austrian city of Dornbirn is a leading producer of prototypes and models in Europe. Vacuum casting with polyurethane casting resin requires silicone molds which have to be available quickly when needed. 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.



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 this end, the company uses a wide range of technically sophisticated processes, including laser sintering, stereolithography, 3D printing techniques, and vacuum casting. Silicone tools are produced for the latter with the help of a mold and these are used to manufacture the small series. 1zu1 Prototypen guarantees that the silicone molds are kept in stock for one and a half years after the last customer order and can be accessed at any time for reorders.

Storage in a shaft
1zu1 Prototypen opted for automated storage systems from Kardex Remstar to store the silicone molds. The Shuttle XP 500 vertical 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.

13,000 silicone molds on a 13.40-square-meter footprint

It takes an average of seven to eight working days to produce a prototype in Dornbirn. The individual process steps must be arranged closely together to achieve such fast throughput times. The silicone mold is safely stored away once it is finished. 1zu1 Prototypen guarantees its customers a minimum storage period of one and a half years. If the customer reorders during this time, the storage time is extended. Silicone molds of the same height are stored on one tray to save as much space as possible. Highly dense storage can be achieved by automatically scanning the height of stored goods in the storage lift and storing the trays at intervals of just 25 millimeters. At present, 13,000 silicone molds are concentrated in two storage lifts (tray width: 1.25/1.45 meters) on a footprint measuring 13.40 square meters. Since around 8,000 new molds are added every year, 1zu1 Protoypen has ordered another storage lift with a tray width of 3.65 meters. The third unit was recently built in the mechanical workshop.

Gerhard Katzmayer, area sales manager at Kardex Remstar, advises his customers to factor in future growth when planning  a project: “Twenty percent buffer is a good figure to use when planning storage capacity. If the business grows faster, the modular storage systems from Kardex Remstar can be adapted or new storage units installed at short notice.”

Link to ERP
Kardex Remstar’s own warehouse management software is used at 1zu1 Prototypen. It not only offers flexible links to standard ERP systems, but also all individually developed ERP systems, as is the case at 1zu1 Protoypen. One of the two storage lifts in Dornbirn is currently activated every two to five minutes. There is a systematic approach to putting away goods. The warehouseman labels the silicone mold and scans the barcode. Then he measures the mold with the help of a matrix that corresponds to the storage lift layout and enters the data in the system. The warehouse management software assigns the storage spaces and conveys the tray. The warehouseman can easily find the selected storage space with the help of a position bar below the access opening.

555 m2 of storage space on a 25 m2 footprint
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 be loaded in the coming weeks before entering service. This will give 1zu1 Prototypen a total of 555 square meters of storage space on a footprint measuring just 25 square meters.

Scope of delivery:
2 Shuttle XP 500 storage lifts (1,250/2,450 x 864 x 15,250 mm)
1 Shuttle XP 500 storage lift (3,650 x 864 x 9,050 mm)
Kardex Remstar warehouse management software
Commissioned: June 2010 (first two storage lifts), June 2015 (third storage lift)

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