Dematic lifts performance for MMB


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Porcelain manufacturer Malaysian Mosaics Berhad approached Dematic to assist with expanding, rationalising and modernising its facilities

Dematic lifts performance for MMB
Dematic lifts performance for MMB

August 28, 2012

Porcelain manufacturer Malaysian Mosaics Berhad (MMB) approached Dematic to assist with expanding, rationalising and modernising its facilities.

Based in Malaysia, MMB’s three production facilities are located strategically to market its products in more than 50 countries worldwide.

With pallets of tiles block-stacked around its three production facilities, MMB suffered from inefficient use of space and inventory tracking, lack of area for production expansion, difficulties with product selectivity for order fulfilment, and high rates of product damage due to multiple handling.

In order to achieve additional production capacity without investing in new facilities, MMB and Dematic explored options for reducing the space devoted to pallet storage and warehousing, with an automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) solution proving the best choice.

Dematic’s ASRS solution stores pallets of tiles over 20m high in a double deep configuration to maximise storage capacity within the available footprint.

The materials handling systems designer’s double mast SRM (storage and retrieval machine) equipped with telescopic forks was specially designed to handle the extra heavy loads.

With this solution MMB has increased storage capacity in a fraction of the space. Across two of MMB’s sites, Dematic has installed 11 SRMs and more than 350m of conveyors, providing the manufacturer with the capacity to store over 35,000 pallets.

Peculiar to the ceramic industry, from batch to batch of production the colour shade and working size of ceramic tiles produced can vary.

At the end of the production process the tiles are graded, sorted, packed and palletised accordingly. When customers place an order, MMB needs to ensure that all tiles supplied are of a common grade, colour shade and working size.

With its previous practice of blockstacking pallets, tracking down multiple pallets of matching grade was an incredibly slow and difficult task.

LOWER OPERATING COSTS

The ASRS solution tracks the location of every pallet and product in the facility, and provides fast, direct access to each.
With pallets spread over a large area, MMB’s previous use of blockstacking meant a large number of forklift trucks and operators were required to service the storage area, resulting in high operating costs.

Blockstacking of pallets, together with forklift transport over large distances, also led to significant product damage, a high value of stock write-offs, and pedestrian and traffic safety hazards.

Dematic’s ASRS solution has now automated the handling of pallets, making the storage, retrieval and order assembly process significantly more productive, with greatly reduced product damage in the process.

Rather than introduce additional handling, Dematic designed a slave pallet for Malaysian Mosaics. This allows it the flexibility to palletise tiles onto basic shipping pallets used for export, but still store and handle them using the ASRS without additional palletising or handling.

A pallet dispenser positions an empty pallet in preparation for loading of a pallet of tiles arriving from production.

Loaded pallets are transferred to an overhead bridge via a dedicated lifter and transported across the roadway to the ASRS warehouse, adjacent to the production facility.

This warehouse is completely unmanned and the automated interlink between the production area and the ASRS warehouse reduces handling, improves productivity, minimises forklift traffic and enhances safety around the site.

Pallets retrieved from the ASRS in response to downloaded orders are retrieved by the SRMs, transported back across the overhead bridge and delivered to a pick-up station and removed from the slave pallet.

Pallets are retrieved according to requests by the host computer system and delivered in sequence so they arrive at the despatch area at the right time for order assembly and despatch.

Empty slave pallets generated after pallet picking are automatically stacked and recycled for later use in the system.

Dematic’s WCS software interfaces seamlessly with Malaysian Mosaic’s host and tracks pallets from production to storage, picking and despatch.

The WCS manages inventory stored in the ASRS and also manages the picking and order assembly process for the customer.

Malaysian Mosaics has benefited significantly from complete inventory accountability and tracking, from the visibility and reporting capabilities and from being able to quickly access every pallet in the facility.

All of the automated equipment, controls and software used in the facility were designed and manufactured by Dematic in the Asia Pacific Region.

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