Cimcorp: a vision for the modern automated warehouse

Picture a warehouse floor with a sea of products densely stacked in rows as far as the eye can see. Robotic order pickers glide overhead to retrieve goods and move them effortlessly across to dispatch. Everything is finely orchestrated with high speed and precision. This is Cimcorp’s vision of the modern, automated warehouse and distribution center.

For the past 45 years, Cimcorp has helped customers in over 40 countries across six continents bring this vision to life with unique order fulfillment and storage solutions developed for the tire, food & beverage, retail, e-commerce, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and postal services industries. Over the years, the need for automation has only become greater with the emergence of challenges, such as:

  • SKU proliferation: where some warehouses designed to house a few hundred SKUs are now dealing with thousands.
  • Shortened lead times: to meet consumer demands for faster fulfillment.
  • Labor shortages: as a result of baby boomers retiring in droves and fewer jobseekers seeking material handling careers.
  • Seasonal peaks: that put a heavy strain on already understaffed warehouses and distribution centers.

Cimcorp’s solutions are designed to overcome such hard-hitting challenges. Through high-density storage, customers can house more inventory while using up to 50 percent less space. In addition to being six times more efficient than a manual operation, the robotic systems can take over the majority of order fulfillment processes, filling any operational gaps left by labor shortage. A modular design means facilities can scale their levels of automation and flexibly adapt to seasonal highs and lows.

Namely, Cimcorp’s order picking systems are ideal for full-crate, case and layer picking. The company also offers automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RSs) suitable for goods-to-person picking and buffer storage. All these solutions can help automate entire warehouses or be integrated within manual operations as “islands of automation,” depending on the needs, budget, and types of products of each customer.

Among these solutions, the most notable are:

  • MultiPick: that combines buffer storage and order picking in one seamless operation. It can handle a variety of industry-standard crates, trays and totes. Its ability to meet high throughputs with 100-percent order accuracy is especially beneficial to the fast-paced world of fresh food distribution, where product quality, freshness and shelf life are highly dependent on the speed of fulfillment.
  • Layer Pick: which consists of rapid gantry robots, each equipped with a vacuum picking head and clamp gripper to pick products stored in layered quantities. Using varying force and vacuum strength based on individual SKU, the system can handle virtually any consumer product on the market. A key differentiator is the solution’s ability to pick up one-layer, multiple layers, and even entire pallet loads to build rainbow pallets.
  • 3D Shuttle: an innovative AS/RS that fuses robot technology with a unique shuttle device tostore and retrieve goods in plastic totes, crates or bins. Products are then sent on high-speed conveyors to warehouse employees manning ergonomic order picking stations. Capable of handling up to 1,000 totes per hour, the 3D Shuttle is a perfect fit for e-commerce, retail and food service distribution.

Cimcorp’s range of solutions also includes a Warehouse Control System (WCS). The fully integrated software not only provides computer control over Cimcorp’s order picking systems, but also collects data on all product movements to support traceability and regulatory requirements. Warehouse managers can run analyses to find ways to further enhance operations and readily pivot to sudden order changes. The result is a cyberphysical environment—guided by data, acted on by machines—bringing customers one step closer to the warehouse of the future promised by Industry 4.0.

One of the most significant moments in Cimcorp’s history came in 2014 when it joined its now parent company, Murata Machinery, Ltd. (Muratec). Together with Muratec, Cimcorp now boasts a worldwide network of service locations and a comprehensive portfolio of material handling solutions. From picking and sortation to automated guided vehicles (AGVs), these systems cover many facets of modern logistics and automation—from end to end.

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