ABB employs around 6,500 people in Switzerland and focuses on the power and automation technology divisions. Gas-insulated switchgear for power distribution in grids is manufactured at its site in Zurich/Oerlikon. The assembly tool pool supplies tools and materials for assembling new switchgear as well as spare parts for servicing and maintenance. About 1,000 different items are stored in the warehouse, and around 8,000 in total.
Storage towers scrape the hall ceiling
The tool pool has been storing its materials in storage systems from Kardex Remstar for quite a while. Twenty storage lifts and vertical carousels have accumulated over time as a result. The units have also survived a few moves without any damage, both from one location to another and within the works hall itself. ABB began with two five-meter-high storage lifts. At the time, there was an option to add to these if necessary – an important argument for investing in the automation of the warehouse. The storage systems are now almost nine meters high and make optimal use of the building height. Beat Rutishauser, head of the assembly tool pool, and his team refer to the collection of storage towers as “our Little Manhattan.”
Intralogistics solutions that the market needs
The individual tools and materials for the assembly sets are stored in various Kardex Remstar storage lifts and are retrieved at the touch of a button. There used to be bottlenecks with assembly sets that weren’t yet fully picked. Until recently they stood on pallets on static shelving, which gradually led to huge space and maneuvering problems. When Beat Rutishauser received a newsletter last year from Kardex Remstar about automated pallet storage, the information arrived at just the right time.
Buffer storage for assembly sets
“Little Manhattan” has grown since the beginning of 2015. Two of the new Shuttle XP 1000 units measuring almost nine meters have been in use for pallet storage since then. Pallets with semi-picked tool sets wait in one unit until all the items are available to complete the set. Once the set is ready, it is conveyed to the shipping department and sent to ABB locations around the world. “It is essential that the assembly sets arrive at their destination on time, wherever that may be in the world. It is the only way in which the systems can be built on schedule,” says departmental manager Beat Rutishauser.
Most of the parts are supplied on a loan basis. They include diamond drill sets, equipment for dealing with faults, repair sets, and high-quality measuring devices. They are returned after use and are initially temporarily stored unchecked in the second Shuttle XP 1000. As such, returns that stand around the hall taking up unnecessary space are a thing of the past. Both storage lifts have space for 58 pallets and occupy a footprint measuring just 18.94 square meters.
Once the returns have been checked, the items find their way back to the parts warehouse. One of the nine employees in the assembly tool pool operates one of the two storage lifts between 20 and 50 times a day using the touchscreen on the control unit. The inventory is managed using SAP.
Access opening for 2 x 2 pallets
The Shuttle XP 1000 with pallet storage has been on the market as a standard unit since the beginning of 2014. Each tray can generally hold a load weighing up to 1,000 kg, depending on the width of the unit. At ABB, each tray holds a load weighing 950 kg. Based on the goods-to-person principle, the pallets are conveyed to the operator, who then takes delivery of them ergonomically. The pallets can be moved into position to be picked up by a forklift truck or electric pallet truck with the help of a tray extraction device. Two pallets can easily be stored away lengthways. In addition, they are lowered into special trays. At ABB in Oerlikon, it must be possible to not only store two pallets next to each other, but also pallets with a double frame, which means the height of the stored goods is 950 mm. Since the unit can be designed with an access opening measuring 1,361 mm as standard, meeting this specification was no problem.
Scope of delivery:
2 Kardex Remstar Shuttle XP 1000 units (1,850 x 1,270 x 8,850 mm) with 29 trays in total
(+ 20 storage lifts and vertical carousels from Kardex Remstar in Oerlikon, around 180 units in total at ABB Schweiz)