Rhode and Schwarz an electronics group working across 70+ countries needed to improve their setup processes for populating electronic assembly groups for Surface Mounted Devices (SMDs) with an average of 200 setup processes per hour. The focus was on the availability of the SMD reels to ensure that the changeover went smoothly on populating lines with buffering times avoided during production. To ensure flexibility in the production process they installed automated vertical carousels that were able to ensure fast, simple, and error-free automatic storage and retrieval of the SMD reels for production. This allowed the company maximum flexibility in the production process, which is necessary for the wide range of products and changing batch sizes during production. The vertical carousels allow them to quickly react to changing market needs without any downtime.
A total of twelve automated vertical carousels were installed to help organise SMD reel logistics and ensure the smooth set up and removal of the assembly groups during the production process. Two or three employees work on the units at the same time and put the SMD reels into storage i.e. retrieved and returned them after use. As an added benefit, the process was completely paperless because of the pick-by-voice system. Each operator works at their own pace through individual items of an order. The total fill level of the automated vertical carousels is 90-95%, which is achieved by the flexible way that storage space is allocated depending on space availability. This high-density storage method made it possible to supply four production lines with 10,000 reels per day and populate around 441 million components per year. The automated carousels also connect their warehouse management system software to the company’s inventory management of SMD reels in real time to maintain a permanent inventory without stopping production.
The advantages were clear for Rhode and Schwarz with a simple, clearly structured picking process and their throughput increased by more than 50% with same number of employees. With 100% error-free retrieval of SMD reels for setup and removal process, storage space fill level at 90-95% storage density and permanent, real-time inventory they achieved their goal.
Based on the paternoster principle the Kardex Megamat RS is an automated vertical carousel that provides quick and precise access to stored goods and is especially suitable for frequently accessed goods, because it conveys the right carrier to the access opening via the shortest possible path. The design of the Megamat RS offers maximum storage space on a minimal footprint. This facilitates efficiently designed work processes and also significantly raises productivity.