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Park Logistics - Creating supply Chain Solutions

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Bin intelligence powers Porsche spare parts store

A total of 168,000 bins and trays, supplied by Bito, are used in the automated small parts store of German sports car manufacturer Porsche, at its central spare parts warehouse in Sachsenheim. They provide a standardised basis for handling small parts in the global supply of spare parts.

Porsche supplies spare parts to around 700 dealers throughout the world from its central spare parts warehouse in Sachsenheim. More than 70 per cent of the 80,000 SKUs are small parts, which are suitable for storing in bins. Main contractor Witron Logistik + Informatik GmbH has installed an automated small parts store for these items with around 170,000 storage positions. Bito Lagertechnik Bittmann, Nuneaton-based BITO Storage Solutions’ German parent company, was involved in the project as an experienced partner for the steelwork of automated small parts stores.


Bito not only manufactured and erected the storage shelves but also provided the peripherals in the form of eight sequencer towers, a steel platform, gravity roller conveyors and finally the picking stations and shelving units from BITO’s Ergo tubular system range. In parallel with the implementation of the automated small parts store by the main contractor, Porsche procured the bins and trays, which have a base area of 600 x 400 mm, independently. Here too, BITO, with its XL containers, was the supplier of choice. 92,000 bins with a height of 270 mm and 45,000 units with a height of 170 mm were purchased.

Jörg Reinelt, designer of the automated small parts store at Porsche AG in Sachsenheim, says: “The objective was to standardise on a common bin size (base areas) to enable us to optimise the operation of the conveyor equipment. From an ergonomic point of view, we specified a maximum weight of 15 kg for each container. This enabled lightweight bins to be chosen, which the operators appreciate every day.” Different heights have been used in order to make optimum use of the warehouse capacity.

Trays and (re-)pluggable fixing elements for special cases The bins are made of grey PP (polypropylene). Barcodes are affixed at two exactly defined positions. The bins have open handgrips on the narrow sides, and the high designs are provided with water drainage holes. The bins are used only for storage in the automated small parts store and are not dispatched to other locations. However, even the 170 mm high containers are still too large for very heavy material and parts with low inventory levels.

For this reason, use is also made of RL-KLT containers of Type 3147 (200 x 300 mm) and 4147 (300 x 400 mm). As the base area of these does not match the standard containers used, Bito also supplied an additional 31,000 trays. These each accommodate two or four KLT bins. The use of subdivided containers was deliberately avoided, as the individual KLTs have many advantages when it comes to handling. The trays have the same base as the bins and can be equipped with fixing elements so that the KLTs remain in position even at higher conveyor speeds and when being transferred out.

Various packing materials, ranging from paper bags to cartons and containers with hinged lids, are used in the areas of order picking and the packing of outgoing goods. All these dispatch packages are transported on trays and held in position by means of simple and at the same time flexible standard fixing elements.

One thing was particulary important for Jörg Reinelt: “Bito’s intelligent solution impressed us, as the fixing elements can remain on the trays even when they are stacked. This enables us to store the trays without any problems in an automatic buffer until they are needed again for order picking.”

Summary

In addition to the technical aspects concerning bins and conveyors and specific solutions, the detailed selection process also included running trials on the original conveyor equipment in the Witron Technology Centre, located in Parkstein in Germany. Particular importance was placed here on low-noise operation.

On this, Peter Kerth, container technology specialist at Bito, commented: “We started off with our XL bins and by modifying the RX ribbed base we were able to reduce the running noise by four decibels. Otherwise, we were technically right on top of things and impressed above all with the clever solution relating to the tray concept.”

This project demonstrates particularly well how quality in all aspects is also a strongly competitive factor, which is a large undertaking for all concerned. Bito was therefore not only able to impress with its technology and its advisory service but also with clever detailed solutions for the gravity roller conveyors for feeding the packing stations (manual vibrator so that even very light bins do not stick; single foot unlocking to release individual lagging containers).

The same applied to the individually matched delivery of bins and trays for the move to the new warehouse. In order to avoid double handling, at the appropriate time Bito delivered a number of bins, which had been determined in advance, directly to each of the previous warehouse locations that were about to be closed. Here, the goods were removed from standard shelving and pallet storage systems and packed straight into the plastic bins intended for the purpose and transported by truck to the central spare parts warehouse in Sachsenheim. While an outline plan specified the weekly delivery quantities, the delivery locations were only determined a few days in advance depending on the progress of the move. Bito also overcame this logistical challenge without any errors.

Article source: http://www.logisticshandling.com/articles/2013/05/01/bin-intelligence-powers-porsche-spare-parts-store/