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The Tray™ Issue #28 – Increase Warehouse Automation with Modula Vertical Lift Modules (VLM’s)

The Tray™ Issue #28 – Increase Warehouse Automation with Modula Vertical Lift Modules (VLM’s)

GF Machining Solutions is a world leader in the supply of machines, solutions for automation, services for the production of molds and tools and for the production of high precision components.

The North American wing for the sales and service part of GF Machining Solutions is located in Woodridge, Illinois. Products range from high-speed and high-efficiency EDM and milling machines to fastening and palletizing systems, from laser machines for 3D surface texturing, to assistance services, to spare parts and consumables, up to automation solutions.

GF Machining Solutions chose Modula for many features among which the External Dual tray delivery with the External Bay Lights and Laser pointer which could increase dramatically the picking efficiency and accuracy, also thanks to the External Bay Lights and the Laser pointer.

Modula’s software platform that could interface with multiple systems on a SQL table level and its domestic service level.

The units were installed in a rate of less than one week each and it was an easy and smooth transfer of the inventory which meant zero downtime to operations and no impact to GF customers.

Since the installation of the 3 Modula MX50D, GF Machining Solutions can put away and pick more parts per hour and with greater accuracy. The LED light bar paired with the laser pointer allows their users to more rapidly identify the location of the parts.

“What we have here is the North American logistics hub to support our prestigious clientele in North America, by providing spare parts and consumables that are domestically available for overnight delivery anywhere inside North America. Therefore, we’ve taken the time to maintain this facility and improve its capabilities with an investment such as the Modula,” said Mark Sanhamel, Director of Operations of GF Machining Solutions.

“I’ve been in operations for about 15 years now. Here we store in the Modula units, anywhere from nuts and bolts to circuit boards, to small pumps. System Three, our tooling, which is a big, big vendor for us. A lot of things like that, very high value items. So both security and the ease of access, is all very important for us.

In the VLM is we have about 12,000, items in these units right now. previously for us to store those 12,000 units, we had to have probably another 50% more square footage just to have that product on our floor,” said Stan Pokrzywa, Operations Manager of GF Machine Solutions.

Pokrzywa continued, “So with these units that are much more vertical, they go all the way up to the ceiling here. We can store all that in a very small footprint. And, we do have room for more inventory. Previous ways we handled our product. we put a much smaller product into the horizontals and vertical carousels that we previously had.”

GF Machining Solutions picked and packed altogether in the same area with the modulates. They were able to reduce one of their zones by picking in one zone and then packing and processing in a completely different zone. This opened up a lot of floor space for them, which was huge because they had so much more inbound and outbound product going out.

After a couple of acquisitions, they brought all their inventory in and really needed a space to put that product without impacting the other operations. The VLM Modula unit afforded them to do that.

When looking at the Modula units, they looked at the different options that were available and some of the things they liked. One was the dual tray presentation, and they thought was a differentiating factor or a unique selling point for the Modula.

What that allowed GF Machining Solutions to do, was not only while somebody was picking the next part, but the next tray they needed was already positioned for them. That really was a great efficiency because it really could increase the amount of picking time they could do per hour.

“We have a really tight crunch time in the afternoon, so that really helped us out. We optioned for the external dual tray delivery, the laser pointer, and the light bar. That gives us a very accurate pick method and a put-away method for us. Previously in the older units that we had, we had to present the item to the bin, and then we had a scan into the locations, which was a lot of time,” said Sanhamel.

They found a lot of time savings with the Modula units. The WMS (Warehouse Management Systems) software that comes with the Modula’s takes care of all that  by integrating the Modula into the WMS and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems. This was an easy transition for GF Machining Solutions.

Not only did they find it easy to move these and integrate these particular systems together, but they were very impressed with the outcome. The new efficiencies that came from this new integration have been incorporated into their operations, and now has improved several different processes in their warehouse.

“The learning curve of these machines are within about five minutes. I can bring somebody new on the floor and I can have them picking parts in less than five minutes. I would absolutely recommend the Modula unit to other people that have similar needs for meeting tight demands for customers, for picking accuracy, that can’t afford to have parts shipped, or don’t have the luxury of waiting for parts to be presented to them.

The Modula units now have made the human being the slowest part of our process, and we’ve been very happy with the reliability, the ability for uptime of the products, and the support that we have seen during the installation and the post installation process,” said Pokrzywa.

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