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Gilgen Logistics and CIM configure Avesco’s warehouse


Pick to light and the goods-to-man principle for faster, easier picking – Avesco’s warehouse is configured by the ideal Bavarian/Swiss partnership.

Avesco AG’s warehouse in Langenthal, Switzer land, has been conf igured in a joint project involving Swiss intralogist ics exper ts Gilgen Logist ics AG and Fürstenfeldbruck warehouse software manufacturer CIM GmbH. Gilgen’s storage and conveying technology and CIM’s Warehouse Management System ensure smooth-running processes in the warehouse, achieving synergy and opt imising resource ut ilisation. In particular, the implementation of a state-of-the-art pick to light system in front of the new automated small par ts storage area has considerably simplif ied Avesco’s picking and storage processes.

Avesco AG, based in the Swiss town of Langenthal, trades with products which belong to the very best in the world: construction machinery, energy systems, conveyor technology and processing plants designed by renowned manufacturers such as Caterpillar, Ammann, Sandvik and Yale. It goes without saying that when configuring their own warehouse, Avesco were only prepared to consider products which were likewise among the best of their kind: Gilgen’s container conveying technology and automated small parts storage system combined with CIM’s Warehouse Management System, PROLAG®World: state-of-the-art solutions for synergy and resource optimisation.

Avesco’s warehouse facility comprises a manual pallet storage and forwarding area as well as a newly-built automated small parts storage area, encompassing a total area of 1500 m2. The automated small parts storage system consists of two container storage areas which can hold 35,000 spare parts and provide 12,600 storage slots. Using two new storage and retrieval systems, the containers are transported to the new container conveying system and to the storage, picking and packing stations in front of the automated small parts storage area.

A new automated pallet lift connects the ground floor with the basement, where the pallet storage area is located.

PROLAG®World manages the storage slots, warehouse stocks and orders. The forklift routing system ensures that the goods from the pallet and forwarding storage areas are stored, retrieved and relocated on optimised routes through the warehouse.

The automated small parts storage system is also controlled by PROLAG®World. The WMS receives its storage and retrieval orders from an ERP system. Taking account of ABC storage strategies, the system determines a storage location and the storage or retrieval operation is carried out using put to light technology. “A highlight is the pick to light system which is controlled by PROLAG®World and works together closely with our WMS to oversee storage, addition to stock and picking transactions”, says Thomas Rolli, who was the CIM project manager responsible for the go-live at Avesco. The fact that the workstations for goods recipt are designed so that they can also be used for picking achieves optimal capacity utilisation, even if there are considerable fluctuations in the workload throughout the day. The WMS records the storage transactions for each container over a configurable period. Based on this data, PROLAG®World can continually optimise the positioning of fast and slow-moving items in the warehouse. Containers which register infrequent movements are always stored in a rear location.

During picking operations, the container from which the goods are to be picked is moved out of the automated small parts storage area to the picking area using conveyor technology. The light pointer in the pick to light system illuminates the exact location of the item to be picked. At the same time, a light identifies the container in which the operator should place the picked item. The operator picks the specified quantity of the relevant article and confirms the retrieval. “The benefits of a pick to light solution are obvious: reduced search times, fewer picking errors, shorter training times for new staff, and a significant reduction in order lead times”, says logistics manager Mirko Scheidegger.

If the quantity of goods in the picking tray is greater than the quantity displayed, the operator makes a so-called reduced retrieval which automatically triggers a secondary picking process. As soon as all the articles for a picking container have been picked, the operator sees a message on the screen and slides the container onto a roller conveyor. If some of the articles for an order are still missing and a partial delivery is not allowed – which means that the goods have been picked in advance – PROLAG®World sends the container back to the automated small parts storage area. Otherwise, the container goes on to the packing area.

“If a picker is instructed to pick 50 bolts from the small parts storage area but only 25 bolts fit into a picking container, there is a function in PROLAG®World for splitting the picking list. This is extremely useful since the picker can slide the full container manually onto the roller conveyor, and then pick the remaining 25 bolts and place them in a new picking container”, continues Mr. Scheidegger. The same principle applies if an operator moves a picking container onto the roller conveyor by mistake. If goods from the same container are required at the packing area, PROLAG®World sends the container straight to the relevant workstation or back to the spare parts storage area.

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