11 months ago



Double storage capacity

Double storage capacity without increasing space requirements LOGISTICS The Dutch Logistics provider Active Ants E-Commerce Logistics offers warehousing services for over 60 webshops in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. In order to make the best use of the available storage space, Active Ants has entrusted the automation specialist Dematic with the development and integration of an AutoStore system. Thanks to the compact storage and picking system, the logistics specialist not only optimizes its storage space usage, but also automates picking. AutoStore thus doubles the storage capacity without having to expand the storage area and also improves work efficiency and safety as well as ergonomics. A s an expert in e-commerce fulfilment, Active Ants not only stores and packag-es the products for its customers, but also handles their shipment. The range consists mainly of small items such as DVDs, T-shirts, books or toys. Due to increasing order numbers for Active Ants the storage space became scarce. The company therefore decided to build a new warehouse and equipped it with the automatic small parts storage system AutoStore. Active Ants commissioned the automation specialist Dematic to install and integrate the system. “AutoStore is ideal for storing and picking small items, which makes them ideal for our operations,” says Jeroen Dekker, Managing Partner at Active Ants. The system with space for 30,000 containers was installed in spring 2015. The containers are arranged in a predefined grid so that the area is optimally used. “This will expand our storage capacity by up to 75 per cent,” says Dekker. The AutoStore robots automatically select the correct containers and bring them to the picking station. Once there, employees look for the matching articles and continue to process the order. Automated – from warehousing to shipping The AutoStore system for Active Ants has two order picking stations, which each have six packing stations. A pick-to-light system displays the container segment in which the requested article is located to the order picker, on the one hand. On the other, it simultaneously displays the order container into which the item is to be placed. Once the shipments are done, an intelligent container handling system brings them to weigh and photograph. Some shipments are first transferred to another part of the warehouse. There, Active Ants employees manually add large or bulky items to the shipping package. Jeroen Dekker: “AutoStore handles around 90 per cent of all goods in our warehouse.” The finished order containers then land on the packing tables, where they are automatically scanned. The employee can see the exact packing instructions on a display. Shipping label and order form will be printed automatically. Following this, the empty containers go back to the picking stations and the shipments to the shipping department. “For the design of the packing stations, we worked together with the specialists from Dematic to find an efficient, ergonomic and economical solution together,” says Dekker. Since AutoStore went live in 2015, Active Ants has quadrupled its efficiency over the previous manual system. Jean Lahaye, Managing Partner at Active Ants, sees further growth potential: “We are now processing 240 orders per hour. With the compilation of popular products in advance, we can increase this even more. It only requires a slight adjustment to the system.” Active Ants also works more cost-effectively thanks to automatic picking. 24 WORLD OF INDUSTRIES 7/2018

virtual visualisation of the packing and order picking stations, allow us to configure the way employees work with the system in advance.” Other advantages of stacking containers: the products are thus protected against dust and theft. According to Jeroen Dekker, AutoStore is very practicable due to its subsequent scalability: “This solution makes it possible for us to react to dynamic job profiles and SKU speeds. Even with continued growth, the current system can be expanded with new container lattices, order picking openings and robots, for example.” SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) is an identification designation for a single article. With its help, stocks can be closely monitored and the picking process can be accelerated by local prioritisation of the goods. Plant more than doubled A pick-to-light system displays the container segment in which the requested article is located to the order picker − simultaneously it displays the order container into which the item is to be placed Ergonomic and scalable The new small parts warehouse is not only compact, but also very ergonomic. Order pickers no longer have to lift the containers or cover long distances. Jeroen Dekker: “Dematic’s 3D rendering, the Already last year, Active Ants Dematic commissioned the expansion of the Auto-Store system. Instead of 30,000 containers, there are now 64,000 available, from which goods are taken by 32 instead of the previous 16 robots and stacked. “In this way we have more than doubled our storage capacity. This makes the plant the largest of its kind in the Benelux countries,” says Dekker. The expanded facility allows Active Ants to respond better to seasonal peaks. Since March 2018, the system has successfully been in operation. Photographs: Dematic Double service life ...smartmonitoring. New generationP4.1system forlongtravels Low-abrasionand lubrication-free iglidur ® pin/bore chainlink connection links to reduce friction. Travels of over 800 m, highspeedsofover5m/s. Optionallywith smarttechnology for predictive maintenance. plastics for longer life ® igus ® GmbH Tel. +49 2203-9649-800 The terms "igus, iglidur,plastics for longer life"are legally protected trademarks in the Federal Republic of Germany and, whereapplicable, in some foreign countries. igus-Englisch.indd 1 11.09.2018 18:27:54 WORLD OF INDUSTRIES 7/2018 25


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