How to use ICT to expand your warehouse by 20% without building

How to use ICT to expand your warehouse by 20% without building
Articles and interesting facts

We will look at ways to increase efficiency and safety in manufacturing and warehousing using IoT, process automation and other technologies. You will learn how to reduce errors in logistics and warehouse management and how to expand warehouse space without the need for any construction thanks to optimization.

Constant pressure to improve safety and efficiency and to optimise costs - this is the reality of today's manufacturing and distribution companies. That's why companies need to start focusing more on improving the performance of production, warehouses, distribution centers and related business processes without overextending investment budgets and increasing operating costs.

Not every company has the resources to make large-scale investments for a complete digital transformation of the business, automation and robotics, especially with regard to the shortest possible return on investment (ROI). But there are also partial - and more affordable - options for warehouse and production automation as well as security enhancements. Let's introduce them.

ACDC - warehouse automation and warehouse management

By ACDC, we don't mean a rectifier or a popular rock band – mean the Algotech Compact Data Collector platform. This platform is a comprehensive software solution for warehouse and manufacturing process control using information from 2D codes. These are currently found on virtually all manufactured products and components in production and warehouses. ACDC supports all the most common formats:

  • QR + QR 2005
  • Aztec Code
  • Data Matrix
  • CodaBlock-F
  • PDF417 + PDF417 Truncated

You may argue that any mobile phone - even the cheapest - with an app can read 2D codes today. Let's leave aside the fact that ordinary mobile phones are not suitable for every type of production or warehouse (they are not waterproof or dustproof) and cannot be operated with work gloves. The crucial question is how to link the scanned information from 2D codes to the warehouse or enterprise-wide information systems.

This is where the strength of ACDC lies - it is intertwined with ERP systems. The current version supports full integration with the JD Edwards ERP system or with Oracle EBS platforms and other enterprise systems, etc. Thanks to this integration and its features, ACDC offers the following functionalities:

  • Central management of text constants - management of all scanned data and other texts in multilingual arrangement.
  • Central script management - support for inserting scripts for different user environments (PRODUCTION, TEST, etc.) with clear sorting into a category tree.
  • Central management of user profiles - including custom management of access rights and logic parameterization.
  • User authentication - with support for the "JDE Security" security standard.
  • Automatic updating - central updating of clients, configurations and graphical templates and texts.
  • Intuitive user interface including simple administration.
  • Extensive customization and configuration options - in addition to rich user customization options (highlighting, fonts, colors, etc.), you can create a UI directly tailored to your business, including your company logo, from icons and bar colors, templates and labels to different looks of editing fields.

Direct integration with an ERP system ensures automation of company processes related to production, warehouse management and logistics. ACDC will automate and speed up all handling processes and minimize human errors. According to a University of Arkansas survey, implementing a similar system will increase inventory management accuracy by 27% in just 13 weeks.

Increase safety and efficiency with RTLS

RTLS stands for Real-Time Localization System, i.e. real-time localization systems. Simply put, it is a kind of analogue of GPS (Global Positioning System), which, however, surpasses it by several quite fundamental advantages:

It works indoors (warehouses, halls, plants, etc.),
it locates with centimeter accuracy (people, objects, parts, basically anything with a tracking tag),
it can also determine height (i.e. not only position in the surface, but also in space).

The last two mentioned advantages of RTLS are not inherent to all these systems, they are advantages of Sewio systems.

How does RTLS Sewio work?

The IoT (Internet of Things) principle is used –  the system consists of:

  • anchors, stationary signal receivers with Ethernet and WiFi connectivity
  • and tags, miniature UWB signal transmitters with a battery that has a guaranteed lifetime of more than 1 year.

UWB (Ultra-Wide Bandwith) stands for ultra-wideband communication - it is such a wide frequency spectrum that it extends into frequencies used by, for example, the aforementioned Wi-Fi. At first glance, it would seem that this is a bug that will cause interference. In reality, however, it does not occur at all - in fact, the radiated power of UWB is so low that it is, in principle, only negligibly above the noise level for other protocols. However, due to the enormous width of the frequency domain, UWB allows extremely short pulses (in the nanosecond range) to be transmitted - and this in turn allows positioning to be done even in jammed traffic to within centimetres, a resolution that no other commercial location system can offer, even remotely. Let's see how this power can be used in practice to improve both efficiency and safety.

Tracking people, vehicles and assets

Imagine that employees, vehicles (forklifts, etc.) or machines or stock in your company are equipped with RTLS tags.

  • In-vehicle navigation - navigation guides the wheelchair operator (or autonomous wheelchair) along the shortest (or fastest) route based on current traffic and blockers along the route. The implementation of 66 anchors and 70 Sewio tags in a 10,000 m2 warehouse area of Volkswagen in Slovakia allowed to reduce the total distance travelled by the fleet by 10% within 6 months. Thanks to route analysis and optimisation, the warehouse area was "expanded" by 20% without any construction - just by using it more efficiently.
  • In-house passenger navigation - helps direct visitors and employees to their intended destination in the shortest time and safest way possible. With long-term analysis of people movement and heatmaps, production and warehouse efficiency can be improved by optimizing processes, space and workflows or to automatically coordinate working hours for subcontractors.
  • Combination of the previous - the tracking data from the previous examples can be combined to prevent injuries. For example, if an employee is moving around the warehouse and a forklift approaches from around a corner and cannot be seen - the system will alert the employee and driver, preventing incidents or even fatalities.
  • Geofencing, or setting virtual zones that when visited or left will trigger the desired action. For example, if an employee enters a defined danger zone with heavy machinery, the machine will automatically stop, thus avoiding the risk of injury. Another example is the automatic booking of material when it passes from one machine to another.
  • Calibration and reconfiguration of tools and equipment - an example of an application in automotive manufacturing is the automatic configuration of tightening torques based on the proximity of a specific car body and a specific tightener. This prevents poor tightening resulting in slowing or stopping the assembly line (and therefore significant losses).

These were just a few examples of applications, of course there are many more examples in practice. And so are the advantages:

  • Quick return on your investment - the average payback time for a solution in intralogistics is only 11 months.
  • Fully scalable solution that allows you to customize existing tags, add more trackable objects and increase coverage according to your current needs.
  • We can provide integration with Oracle ERP systems or other system integration.
  • We will customize the solution according to your needs and requirements from design to implementation.
  • We guarantee 24/7 L1 support with the possibility of continuous monitoring and remote management.

Automation and robotics are not the future, but the present

We are a business partner and system integrator of Sewio and we have the implementation of IoT solutions in the palm of our hand. We have been developing the ACDC platform for over 7 years and have implemented it in Škoda Auto, among others. Interested in trying our services or a consultation? Contact us, we will get back to you within 3 hours.


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