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Dematic installs New, Scalable, High Rate, Storage and Sequencing Solution for Industrial Supplies Wholesaler

Friday, June 5, 2009

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Dematic Corp., the world’s leading supplier of logistics automation solutions, systems and service, announced that Ferdinand Gross, a major European supplier of fasteners and connectivity technologies, has installed a tailor-made and innovative storage and order fulfillment solution featuring the new Dematic Multishuttle.

Dematic Multishuttle is a flexible Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS) solution for applications that require dynamic, high rate, product sequencing to support order assembly, goods to the person picking, and pick face replenishment. The key attributes of Dematic’s Multishuttle include high rate capacity, ability to accommodate load sequencing requirements, and adaptability to existing building layouts.

For Ferdinand Gross, the primary objective of the design was to enhance the level of customer service through a cost-effective distribution concept and expansion of storage capacities.

The new solution from Dematic has brought substantially higher efficiency than the solution previously employed at Ferdinand Gross. Order throughput times have been reduced from as long as 3.5 hours previously to as little as 30 to 60 minutes, and as a result, the company was able to extend the incoming order cutoff time 3 hours later. For customers, these changes mean considerably greater flexibility and improved services. At a delivery deadline established by the customer, all pending orders in the system are bundled into a single shipment. The resultant later order dispatch window allows better bundling of individual orders, thereby reducing the number of packages to be consigned.

The Multishuttle at Ferdinand Gross has highly dynamic picking, with unsurpassed flexibility due to the unique installation of the Multishuttle, featuring the world’s first installation of the two Multishuttle versions, “Captive” and “Roaming”, in a single storage unit with identical shuttles in both areas.

The Multishuttle Roaming system is dedicated primarily to the fastest moving items, improving availability and flexibility. The Roaming system delivers significant optimization and cost-savings compared to conventional solutions using automatic small-parts pickers. In the Roaming area, 20 shuttles serve the 59,000 storage positions at a throughput rate of 615 double cycles (parallel storages and retrievals) per hour. Every aisle contains one shuttle which accesses each level by lift and then runs on the rail to the selected storage position. The individual shuttles are transferred between levels via lifts – at impressive speeds.

The Multishuttle Captive area manages order picking of items from the roaming section, shelf storage system and picking-related logistics. Here, each level in the aisle is equipped with its own shuttle. The shuttles retrieves tote boxes from storage positions and convey them to a lift at the end of the lane. The lift vertically transfers the boxes to the out-feed conveyors which lead to an ergonomically-optimized picking station. Here, sequencing to customer specification is possible, i.e. delivery of good from inventory in the precise sequence that they are needed for picking for the order. In the captive area, 12 shuttles are operational, serving 5,000 storage positions at a rate of 514 double cycles per hour.

The benefits of the Multishuttle solution for Ferdinand Gross are:

  • Expansion of storage capacity by 60,000 positions: 55,000 in Roaming system and 5,000 in Captive system
  • Improvement in order fulfillment times, extending order acceptance deadlines to the maximum
  • Improvement of service performance thanks to the additional Captive lane
  • Sequencing to customer specification and individual labeling possible
  • Manual access to all storage positions in the Multishuttle
  • Higher redundancy as items can be processed at any location and the workstations are completely decoupled
  • One employee processes the entire order (improved traceability)
  • Ergonomic workstations for improved operator performance and safety
  • Modular concept, allowing for future expansion at any time

Ferdinand Gross’ customers utilizing Kanban have benefited the most with the Dematic Multishuttle as order fulfillment times have shortened tremendously, from an average of one week to a single day. Previously, customers’ shipping containers had a fixed label, showing article number, article description, amount and customer name. Once the customer emptied the container, Ferdinand Gross would pick it up and return it to the DC, ready to be refilled and shipped out again. With the new system, customer containers can now be relabeled for filling with any product rather than waiting for the original empty container to return to trigger the order. Consequently, return trips with empty boxes can now be bundled, reducing the number of trips to and from the customer. This cuts transport costs and has a positive impact on the environment.

Summary of logistics data and facts:

  • Total of 120,000 shelf storage locations, 20,000 pallet storage spaces at parent company in Leinfelden-Echterdingen
  • 72,000 standard parts, 24,000 customer specific parts, 11,000 tools permanently on stock
  • 5,000 order lines per day in forwarding department
  • Approx. 40 tons each of incoming and outgoing goods each day
  • Handling capacity: over 1,000 picks per hour
  • Generous new bin warehouse: shelf height 12 m with 30 levels, shelf length 31 m, shelf width 19 m
  • Multishuttle Roaming: 5 lanes with 20 Shuttles, 615 double cycles/hour
  • Multishuttle Captive: upper 12 levels per lane, 12 shuttles, 514 double cycles/per hour

About Dematic Corp.
Dematic Corp is the world’s leading supplier of logistics automation solutions, systems and service. Dematic provides integrated material handling solutions that incorporate process improvements, material flow technologies, controls, and software to reduce operational costs, maximize productivity, and optimize supply chain performance.

For over 70 years, Dematic has proven to be a competent single source supplier that engineers, manufactures, implements and life cycle supports the core material handling technologies required to operate effective logistics solutions.

A global company with operations in 22 countries, Dematic’s North American presence includes an engineering/manufacturing headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and 18 sales/engineering/service offices. Prior to adopting the Dematic name, the company was known as Rapistan. For more Dematic information, visit www.dematic.us.

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