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Tier 1 automotive supplier awards AS/RS contract

16 July 2020

A Tier 1 automotive supplier has signed a contract with Daifuku to construct a highly resilient AS/RS.

Daifuku, the Japanese materials handling specialist, was also announced recently as the world’s largest automated materials handling company in 2020 (Source: Modern Materials Handling).

The AS/RS will act as a buffer between the Tier 1 supplier’s manufacturing cell and the automotive manufacturer’s assembly line. Parts will be stored in the AS/RS until demanded by the production schedule and must be delivered to a trailer loading system in strict build sequence order. Every part is treated as a unique SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) and no substitution is possible. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to ensure that any part can be accessed by the automated storage system when called for by the production schedule.

High level of resilience

To make sure this demand can always be achieved, Daifuku has designed a system that features a spare crane that can be deployed into any of the storage aisles at short notice in the event of a malfunction of any of the “regular” cranes. 

The spare crane has its own parking bay to the side of the racking and in the event of a failure that cannot be resolved within a very short period of time, the faulty crane is taken out of the aisle using a transfer car and put into a separate maintenance area while the spare crane is transferred into the aisle to carry on with the production schedule while the defective machine is repaired.

While the MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) for automated stacker cranes is generally quite long, and the MTTR (Mean Time to Repair) is normally quite short, the risk of stopping the client’s assembly line was considered too great and hence this extra resilience is required.

An added benefit of this solution is a reduction in the spare parts holding on site, as the spare crane provides an immediate availability of parts and therefore reduces what can otherwise be a significant investment in critical spare parts.

The AS/RS will be installed at the Tier 1 supplier’s UK manufacturing facility during 2020 and will be ready for SOP (Start of Production) of the new model early in 2021.