Precision and innovation characterize the working style of 1zu1 Prototypen. The workshop in the Austrian city of Dornbirn is a leading producer of prototypes and models in Europe. Vacuum casting with polyurethane casting resin requires silicone molds which have to be available quickly when needed. This is made possible recently by an automated storage solution from Kardex Remstar, which fits seamlessly into the processes at 1zu1 Prototypen while occupying very little space.
From catering crockery and log prostheses to cable ducts – 1zu1 Prototypen produces models and small series made of plastic and metal for customers from all industries. The company uses a wide range of technically sophisticated processes, including laser sintering, stereolithography, 3D printing techniques and vacuum casting. Silicone tools are produced for the latter with the help of a mold and these are used to manufacture the small series. 1zu1 Prototypen guarantees that the silicone molds are kept in stock for one and a half years after the last customer order and can be accessed at any time for reorders.
Storage in a shaft
1zu1 Prototypen opted for an automated storage and retrieval system from Kardex Remstar to store the silicone molds. The Shuttle XP 500 Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs) are more than 15 meters (49 feet) high and have been built into a concrete shaft. “When working out the design for our new building situated in Rhomberg’s Fabrik industrial park, we planned the storage shaft at the same time,” explains Wolfgang Humml, one of the two managing directors at 1zu1 Prototypen. “We wanted an efficient, space-saving storage solution that gave us fast access to goods while integrating seamlessly with the company’s own ERP,” says Humml.
13,000 silicone molds in a 13.4 square meter (144 sq ft) footprint
It takes an average of seven to eight working days to produce a prototype. The individual process steps must be arranged closely together to achieve such fast throughput times. The silicone mold is safely stored away once it’s finished. 1zu1 Prototypen guarantees its customers a minimum storage period of one and a half years. If the customer reorders during this time, the storage is extended. Silicone molds of the same height are stored on one tray to save as much space as possible. Highly dense storage can be achieved by autoatmically scanning the height of stored goods in the VLM and storing trays at intervals of just 25 millimeters (1 inch). Currently, 13,000 silicone molds are stored in two VLMs on a footprint measuring 13.4 square meters (144 sq ft). Since around 8,000 new molds are added every year, 1zu1 Prototypen has ordered another VLM. The third unit was recently built in the mechanical workshop.
Link to ERP
Kardex Remstar’s warehouse management software, Power Pick Global, is used at 1zu1 Prototypen. It not only offers flexible links to standard ERP systems, but also all individually developed ERP systems, as is the case at 1zu1 Prototypen. One of the two VLMs in Dornbirn is currently activated every two to five minutes. There is a systematic approach to putting away goods. The operator labels the silicone mold and scans the barcode. Then he measures the mold with the help of a matrix that corresponds to the VLM layout and enters the data into the system. Power Pick Global assigns the storage spaces and conveys the appropriate tray. The operator can easily find the selected storage space with the help of a position bar below the access opening.
555 square meters of storage space in a 25 square meter footprint
Managing director Humml considers the company to be well set up: “We are able to establish order and more efficient processes in the smallest of spaces with the solution from Kardex Remstar.” The third VLM will be loaded in the coming weeks before entering service. This will give 1zu1 Prototypen a total of 555 square meters (5,974 sq ft) of storage space in a footprint measuring just 25 square meters (269 sq ft).
Kardex Remstar, LLC, a company of the Kardex Group is a leading provider of automated storage and retrieval systems for manufacturing, distribution, warehousing, offices and institutions. For information about our dynamic storage solutions, call 800-639-5805 or visit www.kardexremstar.com.
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