Product innovation speeds up the picking of small parts

Intralogistics applications are under pressure in terms of efficiency: They have to work more flexibly, stock a wider range of items within a smaller space, and guarantee faster retrieval times. At the same time, storage and handling requirements are increasingly shifting towards bins and trays. To cope with these demands, Kardex Remstar has developed a new generation of storage systems, which also offer high order picking performance and represent excellent value for money, while consuming little energy and occupying little space. Here are two application scenarios.

Control cabinets operate machinery, high-tech equipment, and large-scale plants, but also many devices within the commercial sector and private households. In keeping with their countless application areas, functions, and designs, individually configured control cabinets come in a highly impressive range of sizes and versions.

Yet most control cabinet manufacturers still use static storage systems for storing their wide range of items. These include conventional static shelving, high-bay shelving with a very narrow aisle forklift and man-up picker, and pallet shelving. The production components are stored in a number of differently sized bins, creating an inefficient layout within the warehouse.

A real-life scenario: Four people each work an eight-hour shift in the conditions outlined above and pick the relevant assembly sets from 2,000 different items.  With around 40 order lines per order, they should manage about 70 orders a day. Accordingly, together they pick about 2,800 order lines, which is equivalent to an average of 350 lines an hour. In this real-life example, the four people work through the orders one after the other. Unfortunately they often find incorrect or incomplete storage locations and sometimes also pick the wrong items. The pickers put the complete orders in bins and then transfer them to pallets before taking them to the control cabinet assembly area. Once there, the technicians collect the bins by hand as and when they are needed and take them back to their assembly stations.

Now let’s look at the same scenario with the new generation of storage systems: Instead of conventional shelving and high-bay shelving, the warehouse now has two Kardex Remstar LR 35 units from the Vertical Buffer Module product family. The small electronic components are kept in just a few types of bins of different heights, making optimal use of the available storage space. A trolley then takes the fully picked order bins to the assembly area, where there is a second LR 35, which serves as a buffer storage unit. Now, as soon as a technician requests an assembly set, the conveyor technology guarantees the just-in-time delivery of the order bin to the assembly area. “With the LR 35, the same order picking process needs just one person instead of four,” says Reinhold Schäffler, product manager at Kardex Remstar, underlining one of the key advantages of the LR 35 product innovation.

Up to 500 order lines per station and hour

The new Kardex Remstar LR 35 storage system consists of a shelf system with automatic bin handling, picking stations, and its own logistics software. In the middle of the multi-segment shelf system is an aisle, along which a movable mast with telescopic gripper operates. The control unit sets the gripper in motion depending on the electronic command issued by the software. It picks up a bin or tray filled with small parts and swiftly transports it to the picking station. Performance can be up to 500 order lines per picking station and hour. A picking station consist of one or more units.

Efficient storage logistics

Guido Follert, head of the machinery and plant department at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML), oversaw the innovation process for the LR 35 with his team on behalf of Kardex Remstar.  “On the LR 35 we have enclosed housing which contains automated, concentrated, and efficient storage logistics,” says Follert. Above all else, the new storage system can deliver this impressive performance without the need for a major plant engineering project.

Omni-channel retailers and slow-moving goods

Thanks to its high order picking performance, the LR 35 is also suitable for slow-moving goods, giving omni-channel retailers, for instance, a crucial competitive advantage. That’s because it not only enables them to package lots of similar product ranges together to cut transport costs when delivering to stores, but also efficiently process individual orders for end customers. Since many different slow-moving goods are the cause of relatively high process, storage, and picking costs, omni-channel retailers in particular can benefit from the LR 35.

The Slow Mover Management application from Kardex proves to be very useful here. It especially helps medium-sized businesses and wholesalers that stock a high proportion of slow-moving goods to deliver such items very quickly and accurately with 24-hour service and overnight delivery. The LR 35 guarantees almost twice the order picking performance of the classic mini-load system, while occupying just 60 percent of the space.

To learn more contact Kardex Remstar at or call us on 01992 557237

Press contact
Debra Wilkins

Kardex Systems UK Ltd
Phone: +44 1992 557237

E-Mail: [email protected]


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