Placed on 14/11/2018
In order to maintain the level of growth that the company is currently experiencing and to prepare for the future, this year we have begun implementing automation into our work processes. For this reason, since March 2018 there has been a cobot working on the shop floor and our warehouse is being upgraded with automated vertical lift modules.
The Franka Emika cobot
The Franka Emika cobot is a collaborative robot that can work with and alongside humans. Cobots have in-built safety measures, such as an emergency stop and an adjustable safety distance. For example, the robot arms of a cobot stop when they collide with something and can be restrained by hand. The ultra-modern cobots will support the VB staff with onerous repetitive tasks, such as tightening a screw 10,000 times.
At the moment we are carrying out a feasibility check for the cobots in order to assess the potential of this technology for our production processes. We have already tested a variety of processes, one of which we have further developed. This process involves screwing a metal plate onto a plastic block – something we supply approximately 10,000 of per year. In the future, we will look into using the robot for several production processes.
Vertical lift modules from Modula
A vertical lift module from Modula is a closed storage system based on the goods-to-man principle. This principle means that, thanks to the vertical storage and order picking system, VB employees no longer need to walk or drive to the goods; the goods are brought to them instead. As the goods are always removed from the lift at an ergonomic height, our colleagues no longer need to stoop to reach them.
The vertical lift module contains drawers for storing goods, and the lift even takes these drawers away and stores them in the best possible location. The lift calculates this using the height of the goods and their popularity, avoiding empty space in the lift module and ensuring that the available space is used to its maximum potential. The products are stored in a dust-free environment in the closed vertical lift modules.
The finishing touches are currently being made to the vertical lift modules and in the coming months they will be connected to our ERP system to enable logistics management. The items will then be placed inside the vertical lift modules and the warehouse will be reorganised. Thanks to these vertical lift modules, we expect to have 250% more capacity for picking spare parts and SemiAir products from January. We will also save 300 m2 of space in the warehouse.