Progress in every detail: New concept for security and usability in the warehouse

Remmert supports Constellium in the modernisation of a long bar storage solution to make material flow

Constellium is a global manufacturer of aluminium structural components for the automotive industry. As a supplier to well-known automobile manufacturers, the company has its own plant in Dahenfeld with a high-bay warehouse from which local customers are supplied. In order to tailor the warehouse area to the growing demands of daily business in the long term, Constellium commissioned Remmert to modernise the long bar storaging system and the associated management software. The aim was to bring the system up to date in a future-proof manner to ensure the supply of spare parts. A glance at the project steps shows: it’s the details that make the difference.

Constellium stores the aluminium profiles for the production of its structural components in the high-bay warehouse. When the company began talks with Remmert in 2016, it was not just modernising the storaging system itself that was on their agenda, but also updating the associated management software. The system at that time had served the users well for a long time, but needed to be updated. The same applied to some of the electrical components used in the warehouse, for which spare parts were no longer available on the market.

For years, Remmert carried out routine maintenance on the cassette warehouse three times a year – which contributed to the generally good condition of the plant. Although it showed signs of age-related wear and tear, the system ran stably, and largely trouble-free according to consultation with the operators.

In-depth expert analysis of the current Situation

In terms of modernisation, the first approach implemented by Remmert’s intralogistics experts was to offer the customer a RetroCheck. As part of this specialised process, a control technician and a Remmert designer spent a day at Constellium’s site to analyse the current situation and produce a report on the findings. Each component was critically evaluated and the supply of spare parts determined. In addition, the mechanics of the plant were checked, in accordance with pre-defined priorities. These activities routinely form the basis for the subsequent offer preparation in coordination with the customer and the defined customer goals and requirements.  

The result: The basic construction of the high-bay warehouse has proven to be very durable over the years. However, the safety technology had to be modernised to comply with the latest technological standards. The specific measures included a software update to Pro WMS, as well as the replacement and modernisation of controllers, light barriers, sensors and the control panel. The contract was successfully completed at the beginning of 2019 and all modernisation measures were implemented. Since then, a Remmert long bars storage system has been serving Constellium.

Strengthening security

In addition to updating the IT, it was also necessary to modernise the plant with a special focus on the requirements of occupational safety. The systems, in accordance with DIN EN 13849-1, have been updated with light barriers and personal protection systems. The context: at the time of the initial installation of the warehouse, single-channel safety technology was the technical standard. In the meantime, the corresponding technology has been designed with two channels to ensure safety in the event of a failure. This requirement applies to all safety-relevant components such as emergency stop switches and other components.

In order to ensure that the schedule was adhered to from the outset on an organisational level, Remmert, as the sole contractor, implemented the project in two stages. In the first step, up to three specialists were deployed at the customer’s site for one week for the electromechanical modernisation. The connection of the new warehouse management system was the second phase, this involved two people being on site at Constellium for a week. Remmert sent mechanics, electricians, control technicians and IT experts to Neckarsulm in both phases. A particular challenge was reducing the required decommissioning phase of the warehouse to a minimum. In order to keep the loss of production to a minimum, most of the work took place on bridging days or during scheduled operating holidays.

Reliable connection for project success

Another challenge that had to be mastered during project implementation was the customer’s strict security requirements, which led to an increased need for coordination in advance. In addition, access via remote maintenance and internet access had to be made possible for all systems.

Bottom line

After completion of the project phase, there are clear improvements that have been achieved through the modernisation: “The warehouse management software that we are now using is not only state of the art, but also optimises all our operations at the plant and therefore, our material flow,” says Valentin Chitic, Operations Manager at Constellium. Karsten Kipka, RetroFit Project Manager at Remmert comments: “In the event of problems, we can help much more effectively at any time via the hotline, or connect to the software remotely. In the case of change requests in the area of processes or dialogues, we can now immediately find solutions and implement them.” Not only was the result convincing, but so were the individual work and project steps. “We are pleased to have worked together with our long-standing partner Constellium on this project to offer our expertise, as well as our reliable and durable products.” This project has once again shown that it is the details that make a significant difference and determine the performance of a plant. After the modernisation, nothing stands in the way of efficient warehouse operation in the coming years.

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