It’s now a full year since the acquisition of Totech by the ASYS group and things have moved forward at quite a pace. CEO Jos Brehler recently spent some time chatting to Phil Stoten of EMSNow to talk about the integration, the progress made and the opportunities and trends in component storage.

When you have been taken over by a bigger group there’s a need for major reorganisation of your company, particularly of the sales structure. The Dry Tower business has picked up significantly as we are now obviously using the sales power from ASYS to boost Dry Tower interest and sales.

The takeover for Totech was a great move. The business for our automated storage and handling system, Dry Tower, was growing so rapidly we needed their automation experience and worldwide business and service structure to take things to the next level. It has allowed us to accelerate more aggressively than would otherwise have been possible.

automated component storageASYS is dedicated to automation in manufacturing so for them it was a very obvious and easy step to become involved with Dry Tower. There is a great deal of focus at the moment on material flow and material management. When we first developed the Dry Tower it was a stand alone system but now we are much more involved in developing the means to combine the storage with AIV systems (Autonomous Intelligent Vehicles) to create a full logistics system for the SMD assembly industry, get to true Industry 4.0 standards of automation and build the factory of the future. Totech is already in discussion with some large organisations about ‘building that factory of the future’.

A few years ago there was a single-mindedness on making production lines faster and faster and the importance of materials management was forgotten about. But here at Totech we understood the significance of automated materials management 4 or 5 years ago and that’s why we started with it. No matter how good and fast your production line is if the materials aren’t there, where and when you need them, it just isn’t going to happen.

Material of any kind should therefore be transported quickly & efficiently in production. This includes trays, magazines, raw materials, component reels and also additional process materials such as solder pastes, adhesives or cleaning rolls. In the case of Totech and ASYS, this is done by the AIVs which transport material autonomously from A to B.

The Dry Tower component storage system, the AIVs and material stations all communicate with each other via the ASYS PULSE software solution based around operator smart watch and mobile devices for real-time line management. We are also looking at integrating the Hermes Standard, to pull everything together.

The very latest development on the Dry Tower is the introduction of magazine storage for high volume manufacturers. Often in production facilities you see magazines just stacked up but they, like any other materials, should be stored correctly until needed for production. So our solution saves a lot of floor area and brings traceability to the WIP.

The Long Term Storage Solutions (LTS²) part of our business is now also going exceptionally well. The automotive industry in particular, is currently purchasing great volumes of components to cope with market shortages – sometimes 2 or 3 times more than needed in the short term. But then they are unsure what to do with them as they want the space for production. This is where Totech steps in. We have built a new long-term Storage facility where we maintain low humidity and store at 12 ˚c. We already have some big potential customers and are well on the way to filling the existing space and so now are working on expanding the facility to meet future demand.

All in all, it’s very exciting times for us here at Totech and we’re looking forward to another fast-moving year ahead as part of the ASYS Group.

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