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As a globally operating specialist in connection technology, Bossard offers the suitable product for every application – from connecting elements like bolts/screws and nuts through special developments in application engineering to customer logistics. In their main warehouse in Zug, the Swiss company relies on automation technology so that customers receive the ordered connecting and securing elements as quickly as possible. Bossard has implemented the material flow controller LFS.mfc from the Ehrhardt + Partner Group (EPG) for intelligent control of the complex conveyor systems. In addition, the company uses the integrated visualization and emulation tools LFS.mfv and LFS.mfe. The manufacturer-independent LFS.mfc coordinates 18 fully automated storage and retrieval systems and 92 picking chutes, thus ensuring maximum warehouse performance.
The Swiss company Bossard AG is a market leader in connection technology. Around 2 million items are stored at the main warehouse in Zug. From there, approximately 1,500 shipments are commissioned from 10,000 boxes in one-shift operation and dispatched for worldwide shipment every day, using modern warehouse infrastructure. Looking for a new, intelligent material flow controller for the high-tech conveyor systems, the company with a long tradition decided upon implementing the material flow calculator LFS.mfc from EPG. This solution ensures efficient control, monitoring and analysis of automated storage units and materials handling technologies. At the automated small parts warehouse with 480,000 box slots, for instance, the software controls 18 fully automated storage and retrieval systems, each with a holding device developed exclusively for Bossard. In addition, LFS.mfc controls the transport of the outer packaging to the two pick sorters. Each of the 23 picking stations has four chutes assigned for receiving the outer packaging. Depending on the capacity utilization of the respective loops, the filling of the chutes is also controlled by the material flow controller.
In just six weeks to the go-live
In addition to the material flow calculator, Bossard also uses the visualization and emulation tools LFS.mfv and LFS.mfe. Using LFS.mfe, the functionalities and logics of the LFS.mfc could already be tested in the Bossard environment before implementation. By mapping the automatic system in a 3D model which acts like the real system, it has been possible to reduce the test and implementation phase to a period of only six weeks despite the complexity of the system. The visualization tool LFS.mfv shows all material flow in 3D during live operation. This means that the control station is always informed where in the materials handling technology a box is located and if a malfunction has occurred.
Large-scale project continues
But the implementation of the material flow calculator has only been a sub-step of a much larger project which Bossard realizes together with EPG. Besides the use of LFS.wms in a manual warehouse in Germany as a pilot project planned for 2018, the movement of goods of the automated main warehouse in Zug, Switzerland, is also expected to be controlled by the EPG warehouse management system LFS.wms starting from 2019. In further phases, LFS.wms is planned to be implemented at all sites worldwide. Bossard sees this as an opportunity for another significant increase in the efficiency of the logistics processes.