Daimler has installed an automated small parts warehouse at its Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van assembly plant in Düsseldorf, Germany.
The equipment, which has been supplied by Stöcklin Logistik, feeds inbound containerised parts into the warehouse from the inbound reception point. The warehouse has capacity for 16,000 units. The parts are fed in on three conveyors for storage. Containers are aligned to fit the correct rack position using a rotary lift converter. Once in place the WCS confirms the order to the higher-level customer system.
They are then picked for onward delivery to lineside assembly by three automated Boxer aisle-stacking cranes. The devices are equipped with box pickers to reliably handle plastic containers and special load carriers.
“One of the main challenges of the project was to implement an automated solution with limited space available,” said Markus Blaß, plant planner at Daimler in Dusseldorf. “Our system partners were asked to implement a sequence-controlled assembly line supply based on short throughput times and maximum system availability.”
Daimler’s in-house warehouse management system (WMS) communicates material flow information with Stöcklin Logistik’s warehouse control system. Stored parts are automatically collected in their containers just-in-sequence once the WMS generates a transport order. The information transmitted includes the storage coordinates and a sequence per container. Stöcklin’s control system calculates which pallet is to be assigned to which tugger train rack and initiates the retrieval process.
The sequencing and filling of the racks for the tugger trains occurs via three conveyor system loops. The system is equipped with a buffer function to compensate for performance fluctuations.
The Düsseldorf plant is Daimler’s largest van production facility globally (at 188,000 sq.m) and the lead plant for worldwide Sprinter production.
September saw the start of sales of the updated Sprinter van, featuring a four-cylinder diesel OM 654 engine and a 9G-Tronic automatic transmission.