Using automation to stock electronic components
06 May 2021
A good system for managing electronic parts is essential, no business wants to waste time hunting for components which are required for production projects.
The requirement to manage thousands of individual electronic components and manage customer expectations means that smarter solutions are required by the industry. Running high-mix production is labour-intensive. Time is required to manage the flow of components needed for frequent setups and changeovers within the industry and this means high costs in relation to hunting down missing components. This is no mean feat and clarity is required on how best to store, locate, and manage stock.
Traditionally storage cupboards were used to stock small components such as Chips (ICs), and other semiconductors in plastic bags. Larger stock such as passives THT capacitors, SMD resistors, THT resisters and SMD reels need a more optimised solution. One of the reasons storage space is such an issue for the electronic industry is the speed of change and keeping up with constant technological evolution.
Most electrical component failure is caused by excess temperature, excess current, mechanical shock, or impact. A static charge can impact electronic components to the point of failure.
It’s important to have full control over humidity and temperature levels to protect sensitive components. Unit temperatures may range from -25 °C to 60 °C and unit humidity can be reduced by up to 5%, when necessary. When working with electronics, automation can give you the security to implement solutions that meet industry requirements such as Fire protection, EDS protection, and clean, dust-free storage which in some cases is required.
BD Sensors is a manufacturer of electronic pressure measurement devices and they wanted to modernise their environment and increase productivity. The company moved to an automated model to stock their components and operate a pick and pack process at their production plant. They purchased five automated Kardex Shuttle vertical lift systems which are built across several mezzanine floors for speedier access for storing and retrieval in parallel. They now have a faster picking and retrieval process for their mixed sized/weight components and it’s all controlled by a WMS (Kardex PPG) software system. Today BD Sensors has reached nearly 100% accuracy and the company has increased their number of picks by 50%. They also massively reduced their footprint and were able to reduce the number of operators to two-thirds.
The combined solution delivered automated order assignment, batch picking using a multi-user picking strategy with dedicated colour picking and KBS indicator lights for ease of use as well as LED pointers to show exactly where the component to be picked was located. They also utilised special Picking trolley’s with integrated colour picking technology. The move to automation increased their productivity, it released space and the software gave them performance data which is delivering transparency and understanding on their orders and transactions.