KSB achieves 25 percent increase in performance through modernization
Why a retrofit?
With a filling level of over 97 percent, decreasing capacities for material buffers and rising customer expectations, KSB's production warehouse at the Halle (Saale) site, which went into operation in 1995, had reached its limits. Here, the company manufactures about 12,000 pumps and 16,000 submersible motors per year to order - since no two products are alike, they are not produced in stock. The raw materials and semi-finished goods are temporarily stored in pallet boxes.
However, at peak times only a few of the pallet spaces were still available. In order to create space, the employees had to repack and compress regularly. In addition, there was less and less space available at the buffer locations in production, as this was needed for production due to the increasing number of orders.
In order to meet the growth and customer requirements and to be able to continue to grow in the future, KSB finally decided to modernize and expand the high-bay warehouse and to optimize work processes.
What did the retrofit include?
The conveyor system processes that transport the material from the high-bay warehouse to the order-picking stations proved to be a bottleneck in the growing order situation. Therefore, viastore extended the three-aisle high-bay warehouse by two additional aisles with a total of 4,600 storage locations. In addition, the experts optimized the conveyor technology, implemented new control systems and converted to Profinet as a bus system.
The final step was the upgrade of the warehouse management software, in which the more than 20-year-old viadat 5.4 Warehouse Management System (WMS) was replaced by the new viadat 9 version. This offers significantly more additional functions and better evaluation options. In order to be able to use the WMS optimally, all processes were revised.
To ensure that everyone involved knew which step had to be implemented and when, viastore created a schedule with a total of 189 work steps in which each individual changeover step was defined.
- Extension of the three-aisle high-bay warehouse by two additional aisles
- Modernization of the picking stations
- Optimization of the conveyor technology and upgrade of the control systems
- Changeover to Profinet as bus system
- Upgrade of the warehouse management system from viadat 5.4 to viadat 9
What is the benefit of retrofitting?
The upgrade of the conveyor technology and the restructuring of the routes had a almost immediate effect: shortly after the new warehouse was commissioned, a 25 percent increase in performance was already apparent, which KSB had defined as its goal.
Thanks to the new branch lines, the three order-picking stations can be supplied with material independently of each other. In addition, each station has sufficient buffers so that staff have sufficient material at their disposal and no longer have to wait for it.
The new WMS viadat 9 provides the company with useful functions such as ABC categorization of the warehouse items which can be used to optimize the travel paths of the stacker cranes. This enables faster access, increases picking rates and thus generates higher picking performance. Thanks to the measures implemented, KSB can increase warehouse performance by a further 40 percent before the mechanical capacity limits are reached.
Although we operated our plant at peak load during the modernization and conversion phase, the project was completed without any loss of production. This is an outstanding achievement.
- Frank Aschenbach, Plant Manager KSB at the Halle (Saale) site