In order to supply the production hall with the right components even more flexibly, Wipotec has concentrated its storage capacity and restructured its processes with intelligent picking methods. The manufacturer of weighing and positioning systems from Kaiserslautern has improved the organization, quality and monitoring of these components with automated storage systems from Kardex Remstar.
Every gram counts for Wipotec customers, because only products that have been weighed precisely will end up on the retail shelves. The act of weighing is almost as old as mankind, but the high-tech weighing systems from Wipotec no longer have much in common with the simple balance beam scales of days gone by. The core business of the medium-sized company from Kaiserslautern involves the development, production, and integration of ultrafast precision weigh cells and high-tech weighing and inspection solutions for high-speed applications. Besides the food industry, it is primarily providers of parcel services and the pharmaceutical industry that use solutions such as checkweighers, X-ray inspection equipment, Track & Trace systems, and catchweighers from Wipotec.
All products are manufactured at the company's headquarters in Kaiserslautern, from the smallest mass-produced weigh cell to the checkweigher or inspection machine for the end consumer area. Last year the company increased its production area by 10,000 m2 to around 35,000 m2. Additional handling centers opened by providers of parcel services have improved Wipotec's turnover, making it necessary to expand production. The company uses automated storage systems from Kardex Remstar to store components and spare parts. Small parts are stored in a total of 22 Shuttle XP Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs) up to twelve meters in height. 55,000 components and spare parts, ranging from tiny electrical components, engines and sheet metal to chains and long bars are kept in the VLMs.
Storage capacity expanded
Wipotec has now concentrated and expanded its storage capacity to cope with future challenges: Two of the existing VLMs were brought together to form one central storage system for small parts and six new Shuttle XP 500 units were added. There are now two rows of storage systems, each with four units. A conveyor belt situated in the aisle in between, transports the order boxes in which the picked assembly sets or spare part orders are placed.
Wipotec has opted to use intelligently combined picking strategies to ensure the production operation can be quickly supplied with the right components at all times. Both batch picking and multi-user picking were introduced with the help of Kardex Remstar's own Power Pick Global inventory management software. Up to 17 orders can be combined using batch picking. In doing so, the same articles for different orders can be retrieved with one single pick and then distributed across the various order boxes. In addition, Wipotec uses a batch put-away strategy, where the items are combined in the system and put away together, saving time and resources.
Several orders can also be picked in parallel with up to three employees using multi-user picking. Here every operator is assigned a color that shows them how many parts they have to pick and which box to put them in. The conveyor belt with the order boxes and the pick-to-light systems can be operated from both sides. Picking aids, picking strategies, the use of bar code scanners, and flexible software links to the company's own ERP guarantee a high level of accuracy at Wipotec.
Jörg Dandl, head of purchasing and logistics, notices an improvement in quality following the reorganization of the warehouse: "Now the entire process is more structured and can be better scheduled. We have reduced the ad hoc orders from production by about 80 percent and achieved almost 100 percent picking accuracy." For the logistics manager, inventory monitoring and cost savings due to the use of fewer resources are further arguments speaking in favor of the automated storage solution from Kardex Remstar. The manufacturer of weighing systems considers itself well equipped for future market demands in the area of production and warehousing.
Kardex Remstar, LLC, a company of the Kardex Group is a leading provider of automated storage and retrieval systems for manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, offices and institutions. For information about our dynamic storage solutions, call 800-639-5805 or visit www.kardexremstar.com.
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