KÖNIG METALL is the specialist for processing of pipes and sheet metal for exhaust systems, bending, and drawing tools or painted sheet metal parts. Founded in Gaggenau in 1901, the family business is owned and driven by today in fourth generation. 600 employees in Germany and a total of over 1,200 worldwide with subsidiaries in Italy, Poland, Canada and Croatia produce goods for well-known customers in various industries, such as metal and electrical industry, as well as the automotive sector and mechanical engineering. The success of KÖNIG METALL is based on the production of parts according to individual customer requirements.
Therefore, the company operates in comprehensive toolmaking and relies on state-of-the-art machining processes with the newest generation of machines, such as high-performance laser cutting systems and punching or nibbling machines.
Flexibility and productivity rather than rejects and shortages
KÖNIG METALL offers a maximum of flexibility and productivity to meet constanly increasing market requirements. This inevitably includes transparent stock and fully automatic supply to the production facilities. KÖNIG METALL was unable to achieve these conditions to the required extent. It became a big challenge when a major customer closed its production from “one day to the next day” and planned to outsource its parts to KÖNIG METALL. “Our warehouse was about to burst,” reports Mario Eberle, CNC sheet metal technology production manager at KÖNIG METALL. “We stored on about 600 m² within the production area. Our total load capacity contains only 350 insufficient storage spaces in the existing sheet racks. The rest was stored where there was space on the floor.” Despite the use of an ERP system, this situation repeatedly led to shortages. In addition, the supply of sheet metals for the processing machines became increasingly complex. Amongst others, reasons for this were that the material first had to be searched for, relocated, and last but not least transported manually by forklift. “This chaotic warehousing caused long response times,” recalls Mario Eberle remembers. “Furthermore, the frequent movements of the material often resulted in scratches, which, at the end of the day, led to board rejects.”
Material flow with intelligent automation
The Remmert solution favoured by KÖNIG METALL primarily includes the direct connection of the production facilities to the warehouse with a fully automated central supply system. The agreed goal was to provide material to the processing machines automatically and to move finished parts back from the machines into the Remmert MIDI sheet metal storage or to the next process step. The warehouse management of the raw materials and finished parts has also been improved in order to meet all customer requirements, such as batch tracking and documentation on a permanent basis.
Today, this is achieved by the Remmert system which supports these requirements regarding inventory control with the greatest transparency and traceability.
Optimal connection of production and warehouse by Remmert
KÖNIG METALL engaged Remmert GmbH, the experts for agile material flow in metalworking industries, to implement the new intralogistics concept.
“It was important for us that our project partner delivers a complete solution: from consulting to own storage and automation systems through after-sales services. Remmert has offered us a solution with a high degree of flexibility and modularity, which we can constantly expand in an easy and modular way. This provides us a high level of investment security and future-proofing,” explains Eberle. “It was also particularly important that the software and hardware solution is manufacturer-independent. A further main topic was to connect all our punching/nibbling and laser machines in our material flow system.”
Remmert redesigned the warehouse in order to make the increase in productivity more sustainable for KÖNIG METALL. The expert for material flow placed the existing processing machines closer to the storage. This allows an excellent and optimal loading and unloading of the machine. On the one hand it saves a lot of space and on the other hand it simplifies and speeds up our material flow.
The heart of the Remmert automation solution is the MIDI sheet metal storage with a height of six metres, 595 storage spaces, and a maximum storage volume of 1,785 tons. Due to its compact design, the storage system offers high storage density and enabled KÖNIG METALL to reduce 300 m². Two of the machines connected to the system are in operation 24 hours a day. In order to make optimum use of their capacity, they are supplied with raw material from the storage in parallel via the Remmert automation Laser FLEX 4.0.
The Laser FLEX 4.0 is the fastest manufacturer-independent solution for fully automated loading and unloading of laser cutting systems and enables a material change in 60 seconds.
As a result, KÖNIG METALL increases throughput times in production by 40%. Downtimes fell close to zero. As soon as a production machine places an order, the automated supply vacuum unit of Laser FLEX 4.0 takes the raw material from the sheet metal storage and moves it independently to the connected laser machines. After cutting, thefork unit of the Laser FLEX 4.0 unloading station lifts the finished sheet metals from the shuttle table of the laser. Now there are two possibilities to handle the finished parts: Return to Sender (Remmert MIDI storage) or directly to the next process step. The connection of the MIDI storage to the processing machines is managed by the warehouse management software (WMS) PRO WMS Enterprise by Remmert. “The machines communicate automatically with PRO WMS. As soon as a production order is loaded, the WMS assigns the relevant movement command to the Storage & Retrieval Unit and the requested material is delivered,” explains Frank Baudach, Remmert sales manager DACH. Moreover, the software stores all goods movements and thus ensures transparent storage management. As a result, the efficient automation processes eliminate almost all manual work steps.
Conclusion: Productivity boost and easier working
KÖNIG METALL draws up a positive balance: the productivity of the laser cutting systems has been significantly increased. The forklift traffic for material transports, which took up three to five employees a week, is completely eliminated. Downtimes no longer exist, because the material is transported automatically. Furthermore, KÖNIG METALL provides a high level of transparency about its stocks. Eberle states: “We have achieved a fully automated production process. As a result, our productivity has risen by approximately 40 percent. The efficiency advantages of the new overall system by Remmert are having very positive effects on our throughput and improved enormously our Overall Equipment Effectiveness.