Zollner Elektronik relies on automated storage systems from Totech
In the area of industry 4.0, efficiency and traceability in electronics have long been an issue with storage systems. In 2014, Zollner Elektronik AG took steps to resolve this issue. Germany’s largest EMS service provider turned to automated storage systems from Totech.
Three years ago, the company group with 18 locations on four continents and well over 10,000 employees worldwide installed a “Dry Tower” from Totech at their Altenmarkt site.
Approximately 170 different customer orders are processed each week in the SMT manufacturing facility at the Altenmarkt site. The average batch sizes range from 10 to 500 pieces. Franz Graßl, team leader 0f SMT production in Zollner’s Altenmarkt branch, explains why the global player has chosen the Dry Tower system. “Before, we worked with a classic shelf storage and paternoster system. The components – 16,500 pieces and about 36,000 batches – were stored in individual, clear storage compartments and containers. The space required amounted to 260 m². When materials were required they had to be manually collected from the shelves. So there were two drivers that prompted us to look for a new solution; a relatively high amount of floor space being dedicated to storage and the time involved in manually storing and collecting materials.
With the Dry Tower, the storage space required for the entire stock of SMD materials has decreased from about 400 square meters to about 80 square metres. All of the material is stored centrally in the Dry Tower. Thanks to the controlled climatic conditions within the Dry Towers, moisture management of components is also covered and documented. Temperature and humidity are always constant. In the past, the moisture-sensitive components had to be sealed in moisture-tight bags, which created additional time wastage and costs, but we now save money and time.
The automatic storage system is particularly effective for the security of moisture-sensitive components. If parts damaged by moisture go on to be used in systems in critical applications such as medical technology or the railway industry, there could be a genuine risk to life. The Dry Tower system safeguards us from such potential disasters and stores all relevant data of the processed components: data on storage, critical states, warning messages and more. The Dry Tower is connected to our SAP ERP and MES (Manufacturing Execution System) system via a certified interface. The systems communicate constantly with each other, ensuring complete control and seamless traceability.
We chose the automated storage system from Totech because the company has extensive experience with storage systems from other industries as well, for example large pharmaceutical companies. The personnel in this industry are not necessarily technically trained and therefore the systems had to prove themselves to be able to operate without much technical intervention.
In addition, the Dry Tower system is fully adaptable to fit into existing facilities. In Altenmarkt, for example, we only had an available height of 3.40 m, but this was not a problem for the Dry Tower system. Motor technology, sensor technology and electronics are consistent throughout all Dry Tower systems, but the dimensions can be readily adapted to suit the space available. The final factor in our decision was the customized software that was fully tailored to our needs.
The time savings we achieve with Dry Tower are considerable. When we send a complete parts list with 100 different positions to the storage system, within 30 minutes in 15-second intervals the materials are delivered by individual rollers to the chosen discharge station in the correct order. Previously every individual item took a minute to collect and get it to the right location.
Since the Dry Tower system has been in use, there has been no significant disturbance. Our technically trained staff can solve small faults without great effort. Our experiences with Dry Tower have only been good and we value it as a future-oriented, space-optimized storage system with appropriate software support. It supports us in process safety and process capability and helps us to incorporate industry 4.0 principles in our daily work. ”