Home>Automation>Automated handling>Effective maintenance maximises uptime
Home>Automation>Automated storage>Effective maintenance maximises uptime
Home>Automation>Conveying components>Effective maintenance maximises uptime
ARTICLE

Effective maintenance maximises uptime

13 January 2022

When lockdown triggered a huge surge in ecommerce orders, Pets at Home outsourced its automated warehouse system maintenance and support to Invar Integration.

IN 2019 the business introduced an automated zone-picking operation at its Northampton DC, where miles of powered conveyor and a series of carton elevators smoothly transfer order-cartons over three floors of a mezzanine system. 

Auto-carton erection and sealing machines work in unison with pickers in a 24/7 operation to complete some 15,000 parcels a day, comprising orders across a diverse 10,000 sku product range, from 25kg bags of pet food to a plethora of accessories, right down to a collar for a kitten. In addition, a further 8-9,000 daily orders for prescription medications are processed within a dedicated order assembly area.

Pets at Home general manager Simon Phillips, explains: “Towards the end of 2019 we implemented our automated solution for ecommerce orders and then in early 2020 the pandemic suddenly struck, resulting in a huge shift to online sales. 

“It was really fortuitous that we had made the decision to invest in automation when we did. That decision wasn’t driven by capacity issues at the time, but subsequently it has allowed us to meet the phenomenal surge in demand.

“We soon realised that we needed to increase our engineering support rapidly to maintain performance.”

In the spring of 2020 Invar Integration was engaged to provide a professional team of four on-site engineers with a remit to manage a 24/7, 364 day a year service, offering a planned preventative maintenance programme, immediate failure resolution, spare parts inventory management and further back-up support.

A strict set of SLAs was put in place to track performance month by month: Overall availability of the system has a KPI target of 96%, scanner read rates 98%, recommended spares held vs recorded spares 98%, planned maintenance vs completed maintenance 97% and engineering shifts completed and fulfilled 99.8%. 

Invar Integration maintenance contract manager Alex Moore says: “It’s an extremely busy warehouse. We have a full preventative maintenance schedule in place spanning 52 weeks of the year, involving in-depth checks across the system, identifying and replacing components close to failure, such as drive motors, rollers or worn drive bands. And this extends right across the entire system, including the carton erectors and packing machines. 

“Invar has been really great at helping us determine what the planned preventative schedule needs to look like under this increased pressure, what spare parts we need to hold, and when we need to take the equipment down.”

“An important aspect of our work is the provision of spares – we plan what parts to hold in stock and manage the inventory, which is vital for ensuring maximum uptime of the system.

Simon Phillips adds: “Invar has been really great at helping us determine what the planned preventative schedule needs to look like under this increased pressure, what spare parts we need to hold, and when we need to take the equipment down to provide a window of opportunity for planned maintenance – this has probably been the biggest learning curve for us, and has allowed us to significantly increase the reliability of the system.

“In addition, we had a failure on a carousel that lifts cartons up from the ground floor to the mezzanine floors, but Invar had it back up and running within a matter of hours.”

For more information, visit www.invarsystems.com

 
OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS SECTION
FEATURED SUPPLIERS
TWITTER FEED