Besides providing comprehensive warehousing and value-added logistics services for all its own EET Europarts sales entities worldwide, EET Group has also evolved into the de facto expert among logistics service providers, providing scalable Logistical Service solutions to related business partners as well as to independent companies.
The EET Group logistics division makes a difference throughout the entire logistics service chain: from international inventory management to distribution, and from technical logistics services to high-end transport and service logistics. EET Logistics continuously develops tools and processes that enables the customers to meet even the highest demands in the market, handling everything, from start to finish.
The newly installed AutoStore system is a part of EET Group´s ambitious strategy for developing the EET Logistics division.
The AutoStore system
AutoStore is simply an aluminum Grid that provides the storage space for the goods. The size and form of the Grid only depend on the warehouse around it and ensure optimal space usage. The goods are stored in thousands of plastic Bins inside the Grid.
Robots are the real workforce of the AutoStore system. They move tirelessly on rails on top of the Grid hoisting up Bins, moving them for further processing and then placing them back into the Grid.
When goods from the bottom of the Grid are requested the Robots will work together to dig their way to the target Bin. To speed up future requests the Robots continuously optimize the storage position of goods inside the Grid, placing often requested Bins on the higher levels.
Ports are the interface between the storage area and the warehouse staff. It is here that the Bins leave the Grid for further processing. The Robots continuously feed the Ports with new Bins, ensuring that the operators do not have to wait between consequent orders.
The manufacturer of Autostore is the Norwegian company Hatteland and the integrator is Element Logic AS.
Increased efficiency and reduced costs
“AutoStore’s Robots are powered by rechargeable batteries and operate autonomously on top of the Grid. Each Robot features a lift that allows it to pick and place Bins in the Grid,” explains Tom Kjærulf, Group Logistics Director at EET Group. “The Robots receive their orders wirelessly from the control system, sending them to and from the Ports and ordering them to recharge whenever needed.”
The AutoStore system configured for EET Group consists of the Grid with 83,500 compartments in 43,500 Bins. The Bins are stacked in 12 layers. 32 Robots and 8 Ports handles the Bins. The system can store around 800,000 units.
“The investment in AutoStore will lead to much higher efficiency and significant cost reductions,”says Tom Kjærulf. “Besides from optimized warehouse utilization and increased capacity, the most obvious benefit we gain, is that our employees work more efficiently and with less physical strain than traditional picking. I expect we will increase the warehouse capacity with 40%, when all products suitable for the Bins are moved to Autostore.”
Tom Kjærulf continues: “We have chosen a very scalable solution. If we in the future need more capacity, we will just expand the size of the Grid. If we need more speed, we can add more Robots and/or Ports.”
The initial investment in IT-systems and integration between EET Group´s ERP-system and Autostore, has already been made.
“Another thing worth mentioning is the delivery accuracy. We already have a very high delivery accuracy of 99.95%, however we might even be able to improve here as well. And last, but not least, there is of course the significantly reduced power consumption, as we must not forget. The Autostore system consumes less power than the light above the Grid, since the Robots do not need light when moving around. And as an environmentally conscious company, such considerations are of great importance to us.”
“When we signed the contract with Element Logic we planned to prepare, install and launch the Autostore within 100 days – and so we did. As agreed, we handled the first orders on 18th of January 2016,” adds the very satisfied Group Logistics Director.