Wednesday, 22 July 2015

All the benefits of a new warehouse

Breton re-designs its warehouse in collaboration with Ferretto Group. Automated logistics for optimisation of space, flows and processes.

A state-of-the-art warehouse for a virtuous circle of advantages. Breton recently inaugurated its new warehouse. Breton, an organisation deeply rooted in its geographical area and proud to maintain its headquarters in Castello di Godego (Treviso), took a criticality and turned it into an opportunity. With the production shops looking to expand to accommodate rising demand due to the company's constant growth, especially over the past five years, the existing space was simply insufficient (Breton's operates in an 81,000 m2 site). The solution came from the people with a mission of flexibility: the logistics department.                                               
More and more companies engaged in the daily struggle to shave production times and keep up with their delivery schedules with efficient inventory management logic are facing the same basic requirements. Breton looked at ways of reconfiguring its internal layout for wide-ranging optimisation of both the mechanical engineering department (high speed machining centres) and for the stone processing machinery area.

We started from the need to create more space for manufacturing activities. But we wanted to ensure that this core business area requirement would act as a catalyst to grow and develop the entire organisation” explained Breton Production Manager Massimo Marchioro.

The manual warehouse we were using was operating at capacity and there was no room to install the innovative systems we needed: we calculated that our personnel were wasting 50% of their time in the warehouse simply moving from rack to rack to find or store items: a wealth of time and energy we had every intention of recouping”. 

Breton found its ideal partner in Ferretto Group. This company, based in the province of Vicenza and specialised in the design and integration of racking, platforms and automated storage systems, gladly took up the challenge to optimise a large number of active part codes in a limited space (more than 170,000 item codes including raw materials and intermediates, from screws weighing a few grams to intermediate products with a mass of hundreds of kilos).

The requirements called for a tailored solution embodying several automation technologies, combining an automated warehouse with stacker cranes and 4 vertical storage systems with drawers and cantilever racks for protruding load units. Assembly work started in May 2013 and we'd already placed the first item of stock in the new warehouse in August of the same year: a record in terms of completion time.

“The automated warehouse is on 7 and 9 levels, with double depth storage bays that can accommodate palletised goods and metal boxes. Overall the warehouse has a capacity of 2,188 load units in just 600 m2” notes Walter Squizzato , who explains the scope of this major Breton investment. “The compact size of the solution allowed us to recover an impressive 1,500 m2 for our production lines. A point of interest? We managed to keep the factory up and running throughout the entire process with no loss of production time”.

The self-loading storage system is fed by three incoming goods bays with touch screen monitors, hand-held barcode readers, and roller conveyors to carry the goods to the stacker crane pick-up station (the physical warehouse and virtual inventory are perfectly aligned). The WMS then allocates the material to the optimal storage bay for the best possible warehouse saturation. The automated warehouse has an input/output capacity of 80 cycles/hour, while the vertical storage systems operate at an average hourly rate of 58 missions.

The automation made it possible to absorb the impact of input peaks that occur especially at intervals of approximately 15 days. Now the majority of Breton suppliers deliver their goods already packed in the automated storage system load unit containers.

Higher productivity and safety, more functional storage and material handling for a fully automatic inventory: Breton's investment is returning value in numerical terms. A few initial perplexities proved to be unfounded. “Innovation has radically changed our way of working. We originally feared that the new warehouse would be unable to offer a sufficient level of flexibility. Now however we all recognise the value of the change... and this is just the beginning: we're ready to exploit new benefits created by this virtuous circle” concludes warehouse manager Omar Mezzalira

Technical characteristics of the installed automated storage systems:
Total floor space: 40,000 m2
Logistics area: 1,740 m2
Available height: 10.5 metres
Year of commissioning of current configuration: 2013
Number of loading bays: 2 input + 2 output
Incoming volumes: 2 million pieces/year
Item codes: on average 170,000/year, of which 45,000 automated

-Vertimag Flex vertical storage systems
Number of active storage systems: 4
Height: 14 metres
Type and model of bay: double over/under bay with automatic roller shutter
Number of drawers: 60
Drawer load capacity: 700 kg
Operations capacity: 232 cycles/hour
Maximum peak capacity: 7,424 items in 8 hours

-Self-loading automatic warehouseHeight: 13 metres
Warehouse capacity: 2,188 Load Units
Number of stacker cranes: 2
Number of levels: 7 in block A and 9 in block B
Number of bays: 34 double depth in block A, 33 double depth in block B  
Load units: metal boxes, pallets
Operations capacity: 80 cycles/hour
Maximum peak capacity: 560 items in 8 hours.

Well, that’s all for today, thanks for your attention. 
Sergio Prior


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