HOLLAND, MI—Swedish multinational SKF is one of the biggest manufacturers of bearings and related products in the world. In order to address growth, the company recently automated the logistics process for its “lightweight / low-value” products in its European distribution center (EDC) in Tongeren (East of Brussels). SKF worked with Egemin Automation to install a mini-load automated storage and retrieval (AS/RS) system in that allows SKF to organize the logistics of its bearings, lubricants and seal products more efficiently and economically. The new automation also has SKF now ready for future growth and e-commerce. The completed installation went into operation earlier this year.
In designing the system for SKF, Egemin proposed some possible concepts. “Initially, the intention was to bring everything under the existing warehouse,” says Eric Coonan, Sales Manager at Egemin. “However, the warehouse was limited in terms of area and height. After an in-depth study, SKF decided that a new warehouse with a mini-load AS/RS system would best suit the planned logistics changes.”
The new warehouse is entirely geared towards growth. “The new building is designed for five mini-load cranes. There are currently four installed, so there is room for expansion,” explains Coonan. “The trays are suitable for a weight of up to 50 kg. The warehouse installation is actually designed for more heavy-duty use than was needed in principle. This way, SKF will be able to handle other, heavier products using the mini-load system in the future. Lastly, the new concept allows for very quick delivery.” The facility’s pickstations can handle a throughput capacity of 400 picks per hour.
Egemin completed a retrofit project with SKF in the past and was able to utilize the software expertise from that project into the expansion at the Tongeren facility. This played an important role in Egemin’s selection for the project. “The warehouse management software (WMS) is always crucial for the performance of a system because it controls the machines that perform the actions,” says Coonan. “SKF's established WMS provider did not have experience in controlling automated mini-load systems and could not offer the necessary functionalities to achieve the desired capacity. The Egemin E’wcs warehouse control software - part of our standard E’wms® warehouse management software – is used to control the complete mini-load system. Stock management continues to operate within the current WMS and is integrated to the Egemin WCS.”
About Egemin Automation Inc.
Egemin Automation manufactures, implements and services automated material handling solutions that improve warehouse, production, and distribution center processes. Egemin’s standard and tailor-made automation solutions enable customers to remain one step ahead of the competition.
Egemin’s solutions include design, installation, modernization, and support of automated warehouse and distribution systems, including automated guided vehicles and automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS).
North American headquarters for Egemin are based in Holland, MI, with global headquarters in Antwerp, Belgium. Egemin Automation is part of the KION Group, a leading global intralogistics solutions provider comprising the brands of Linde, STILL, Fenwick, OM STILL, Baoli, Voltas, and Egemin Automation. The KION Group is headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany, and is present in more than 100 countries, 23,500 employees, and sales of almost $5.7 billion.
SKF is a leading worldwide supplier of bearings, seals, mechatronics, lubrication systems and services, including technical support, maintenance services, technical consultancy and training. SKF has a presence in more than 130 countries, and has 17,000 distributors worldwide. The group's annual turnover in 2015 was SEK 75,997 million, with 46,635 employees.
About SKF Logistics Services
SKF Logistics Services supports the entire supply and distribution chain of the SKF Group. SKF Logistics Services has 15 warehouses and logistics centers worldwide, linked together by a high-performance, transparent transport network that develops and delivers cost-efficient, environmentally friendly logistics services to over 170 countries.
The SKF Group logistics branch has around 1,600 employees. The SKF distribution center, based in Tongeren (Belgium), delivers SKF products throughout the European market within 48 hours.
Egemin Automation Inc.
11818 James St.
Holland, MI 49424
616 393 0101