Expansion to the European distribution center (EDC) warehouse entirely geared towards growth, leading global manufacturer of bearings and related products automating the logistics process for its “lightweight / low-value” products.
HOLLAND, MI—Swedish multinational SKF is one of the biggest manufacturers of bearings and related products in the world. In order to address growth, the company recently automated the logistics process for its “lightweight / low-value” products in its European distribution center (EDC) in Tongeren (East of Brussels). SKF worked with Egemin Automation to install a mini-load automated storage and retrieval (AS/RS) system in that allows SKF to organize the logistics of its bearings, lubricants and seal products more efficiently and economically. The new automation also has SKF now ready for future growth and e-commerce. The completed installation went into operation earlier this year.
In designing the system for SKF, Egemin proposed some possible concepts. “Initially, the intention was to bring everything under the existing warehouse,” says Eric Coonan, Sales Manager at Egemin. “However, the warehouse was limited in terms of area and height. After an in-depth study, SKF decided that a new warehouse with a mini-load AS/RS system would best suit the planned logistics changes.”
The new warehouse is entirely geared towards growth. “The new building is designed for five mini-load cranes. There are currently four installed, so there is room for expansion,” explains Coonan. “The trays are suitable for a weight of up to 50 kg. The warehouse installation is actually designed for more heavy-duty use than was needed in principle. This way, SKF will be able to handle other, heavier products using the mini-load system in the future. Lastly, the new concept allows for very quick delivery.” The facility’s pickstations can handle a throughput capacity of 400 picks per hour.
Egemin completed a retrofit project with SKF in the past and was able to utilize the software expertise from that project into the expansion at the Tongeren facility. This played an important role in Egemin’s selection for the project. “The warehouse management software (WMS) is always crucial for the performance of a system because it controls the machines that perform the actions,” says Coonan. “SKF’s established WMS provider did not have experience in controlling automated mini-load systems and could not offer the necessary functionalities to achieve the desired capacity. The Egemin E’wcs warehouse control software – part of our standard E’wms® warehouse management software – is used to control the complete mini-load system. Stock management continues to operate within the current WMS and is integrated to the Egemin WCS.”
About Dematic Egemin
Dematic Egemin (formerly Egemin Automation) manufactures, implements and services mobile automation solutions that improve warehouse, production and distribution center processes to optimize the supply chain. Product solutions include Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and in-floor towing solutions. Dematic Egemin comprises the Mobile Automation group within Dematic, with a Center of Excellence located in Holland, Michigan.
Dematic is a leading global supplier of integrated automated technology, software and services to optimize the supply chain. Dematic employs over 6,000 skilled logistics professionals to serve its customers globally, with engineering centers and manufacturing facilities located across the globe. Dematic, Egemin and Retrotech, now integrated under the roof of KION Group, have implemented more than 6,000 integrated systems for a customer base that includes small, medium and large companies doing business in a variety of market sectors.
Headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Dematic is a member of KION Group, a global leader in industrial trucks, related services, and supply chain solutions. Across more than 100 countries worldwide, the KION Group designs, builds and supports logistics solutions that optimize material and information flow within factories, warehouses and distribution centres. The company is the largest manufacturer of industrial trucks in Europe, the second-largest producer of forklifts globally, and a leading provider of warehouse automation.
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