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Cimcorp customer magazine 1 | 2009


benefits from Dream Factory


TyrePick team in Brazil

MultiPick picks our daily bread



In the food industry, traceability is a feature of product quality 4



In this issue:

Continental benefits from Dream Factory

Continental benefits from Dream Factory


Experiences of rick-rack at Continental









MultiPick keeps fresh products on the move


MultiPick adds zip to mail sorting





Traceability is a feature of quality for bread


Hooked on collecting pins

Pick | Cimcorp customer magazine publisher | Cimcorp Oy, Satakunnantie 5, FI-28400 Ulvila, FINLAND phone +358 2 6775 111, fax +358 2 6775 200,, editor | Paula Ovaskainen, translation | Pelc Southbank Languages editing and layout | Zeeland printed by | Painoprisma Ltd subscriptions | or by phone +358 2 6775 111

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MultiPick smooths the flow of mail

Hot Brazilian lifestyle


Cautious optimism In February, Cimcorp was an exhibitor at the Tire Technology Expo in ­Hamburg. We wondered beforehand how much the economic downturn would affect the number of visitors. And yes, it did have an effect, it was much quieter than in previous years. Nevertheless, there were customers around who showed real interest in our solutions. Even though the downturn has PHOTO: TOMI GLAD

forced the tire industry to slow down too, all the time companies are making plans for the future and thinking of ways to develop production and improve competitiveness. Everybody wants to be ready to go when the wheels of the economy pick up speed. Now is the time to perfect both technology and tactics. That is what we are doing at Cimcorp too. Our innovation mill is grinding out both new products and applications and small improvements alike.

Paula Ovaskainen Marketing Manager

At TireExpo, Cimcorp was on a shortlist of five nominations for a Tire Technology International Award for Innovation and Excellence in the category of Tire Manufacturing and Design Innovation of the Year for its automatic ­curing press loading technology. This was the missing link in our Dream Factory ­concept, where the material flow in a tire plant is managed automatically from tire building machines right up to storage and loading docks. A new application of the MultiPick order picking system has been developed for mail distribution centers. MultiPick brings a whole new dynamic to the handling and sorting of letter mail transported in plastic trays. We are going to present a bakery application of MultiPick in October at the international bakery fair iba in Düsseldorf. Automation helps to bring freshlybaked, sweet-smelling bread hot from the oven right to the consumer’s table. On the wall in my office there is an aphorism: ”The optimist is wrong as often as the pessimist. But he has a lot more fun.” So let’s be cautious optimists at the very least and work together for a brighter future.

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Traceability is a feature of product quality Nowadays, the food industry is required to provide more and more information on the origin, ingredients, and preparation methods of their products. A bread package bought off a store shelf can be traced from the factory back to primary production if necessary.

According to the EU food regulations, all players in the food and fodder ­industries have to be able to trace their own product one step back and one step forward in the ­production chain. As far as bakeries are ­concerned, this means that the producer has to be able to find out where the ingredients used in the ­products were sourced and where the ­finished products were sold. There must be the ­possibility to recall substandard ­products from the stores if required. The EU does not require foods to ­have “internal traceability,” i.e. information on which batch of raw material was used for the preparation of individual products. How­ever, in product recall situations, using this kind of information can limit the quantity of food products that has to be discarded, which cuts the costs incurred by the recall. According to Pekka Ihantola, the development manager of Fazer Bakeries Finland, part of the international Fazer Group, ­traceability is above all a question of quality. “The moment a raw material ­arrives at our warehouse, it is given a ­supplier and batch ID which is kept in the system ­throughout the manufacturing process.” When the product has been baked and packed, it is given a best before date. ­Using this and the identification data stored in the system memory allows any necessary ­product recall to be carried out with detailed ­precision.

Automation ensures a quality process During a twenty-four hour period, tens of thousands of kilos of finished products made on several production lines will pass through

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a single Fazer Bakeries unit. Bread and cakes are baked around the clock, but the most ­hectic production takes place close to ­delivery time, in other words, at around four in the morning. As soon as the stores are open, ­consumers can buy bread to put on the breakfast table while it is still warm. “Making a production batch does not usually take very long. If a batch is substandard, the amount of products that have to be recalled can be cut to the bare minimum.” The distribution center at Fazer’s Vantaa plant is almost entirely automated. This means that Cimcorp’s MultiPick robots ­handle the order picking and buffer storage of finished goods from production, and move them ready for transportation. In addition to delivering optimal speed and accuracy, the system memory stores data on the products that have passed through it. The data collected during the process has to be kept for the required time and traceability data must be submitted to the authorities upon request. The most essential first-class data includes the names of the customer, supplier, and products, and it must be possible to forward them immediately. Second-class data includes the product quantity, batch information, and the detailed product description. “Thanks to automation, we know even to the minute where individual products are and how much raw material was used in them. The monitoring of quality, process step by process step, is of paramount import­ ance for all products. When you know how many products of a certain date are being ­transported in the delivery vehicles, it gives you more accuracy for product recalls.” At Fazer the functionality and prac­

tical procedures of product recalls are tested ­annually. “Information about substandard products may come from the customer or the ­retailer, after which notification is f­ orwarded to the crisis group that decides on recalls. In such cases of course clear models and practices of how to proceed must be ready: who to contact, how to communicate ­information about the issue. However, actual ­product ­recalls are extremely rare,” says Ihantola ­reassuringly.

Traceability gives added value Product safety is not improved by ­traceability alone; it also requires effective monitoring techniques and logistics systems. Evira, the Finnish Food Safety Authority, oversees the safety, quality, and composition of food products in Finland. The authority’s tasks include the prevention and elimination of health hazards caused by food products. In practice, food products are overseen by muni­ cipal health authorities, veterinarians, health inspectors, and food inspectors. In addition, firms are also obliged to oversee the production and the quality of their food products. Food traceability guidance and ­practices have been collected in the EU-funded EUFoodTrace project, which examined trace­

1 raw material arrives at our warehouse • supplier and batch IDs are entered

ability in different countries in Europe. In the major food-producing countries, ­traceability works quite well, although the traceability of bulk raw materials and batch tracking are ­partially just estimated. However, the demands for product monitoring are becoming stricter all the time and for this reason it is essential that the food producers’ production logistics keep one step ahead. Automation makes the processing of food products safer, more efficient, and faster. As the production process shortens, products can be made with even shorter delivery times. But consumers are also more aware these days of the quality and production history of the products that they buy. As far as organic products and genetically modified ingredients are concerned, traceability is required by law. As for products based on an ecological production method or the local food approach traceability is the only way to prove the real origin of the product. Traceability is not only a method whereby substandard products can be withdrawn from the market but also a value-adding ­factor for food products. In the global ­market, the origin of finished products and their ingredients interests the consumer more and more, and this trend shows no sign of weakening in the future either. • TeXT: Henri Alinen • PHOTOS: FAZER BAKERIES

2 product is baked and packed • product is given best before date

3 product is transferred to buffer storage • retailer’s order is picked

4 product is delivered to retailer • consumer buys product

“Traceability per se does not make the food ­product safe. It is a technique ­whereby food safety ­issues can be managed in a ­controlled way,” says Pekka Ihantola, the ­development manager of Fazer Bakeries Finland.

5 potential product recall • product recall can be carried out with ­detailed accuracy using best before date and ID kept in the system memory

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With financial markets in meltdown and the retail sector reeling, one could be forgiven for taking a dim view of the future. For Continental AG’s Frank Heidenreich, however, a fascination with automation and its ­business applications brings a remarkable level of optimism.

Continental benefits

from Cimcorp's ‘useful toolbox’ As Automation Manager in the Central Engineering Department, based in Hannover, Frank Heidenreich is responsible for automation projects with robots, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and automated storage systems worldwide. The challenges facing Continental – along with every other tire manufacturer – are significant today, ­encompassing economic, environmental and technical ­issues. “Quite apart from the current global downturn, there are other deep-seated problems for tire suppliers. The main concerns are the rising cost of raw materials and the ­entry of low-cost, inferior quality products in ­mature markets,” says Frank Heidenreich. Besides these global aspects, there are some specific challenges such as high ­labor costs and restricted space for expansion at plants in Western Europe and the USA; ­rising wage levels and shortages of qualified staff in Eastern Europe; and the need to pro-

Concern with ­environmental issues started at ­Continental long before the m ­ edia picked up on the greenhouse effect

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vide capital and labor in order to expand production in emerging markets such as China and India. To cope with these economic challenges, Continental’s larger projects are supported by experts from the Central Purchasing and Central Engineering Departments. Frank explains: “The teams of these central departments focus on strategic sourcing and technological optimization, constantly researching global markets to find new suppliers and business partners.” When it comes to the e­ nvironmental challenges facing the tire industry, Continental sets a high benchmark. “Concern with ­environmental issues started here at Continental long before the media picked up on the greenhouse effect,” says Frank Heiden­reich. “We are committed to optimizing our processes to minimize climate change and we expect our suppliers to do the same. For ­example, they are obliged to include energy saving or recovery measures in every project.” Finally, the technical challenges facing tire manufacturers are threefold. Tire companies are trying to standardize their ­processes in ­order to maximize operational efficiency and minimize maintenance costs. Value Engineering is utilized to optimize investments and process costs, and manufacturers are also attempting to make production more flexible in order to meet market demands. Frank Heidenreich explains: “Although ‘lot size one’ is not a goal for Continental, lot sizes are getting smaller and consequently the number of set-ups is increasing. We need to limit the costs caused by this trend using a wide range of highly automated manufactur-

ing and handling equipment which is designed to withstand the tough operating conditions and fulfill our high quality requirements.”

Philosophy of automation Frank Heidenreich believes in the ­power of automation to improve performance and meet these economic, environmental and technical challenges. Fortunately for Frank, this is a mind-set that is well established at Continental. “In the distant past, our focus was on continuously optimizing the value-adding processes and key technologies of the tire ­industry,” states Frank. “As processes such as handling, transport and storage are non-value-adding, they were second in priority. Some years ago, however, this philosophy was challenged by Dr Nohl, Vice President of the Central Engineering Department in Hannover. He identified the optimization potential of logistics and implemented a much stronger focus on automation and robotics.” Since then, Continental has systematic­ ally worked on solutions to replace ­manual work with robots, AGVs and ­automatic ­storage systems. Cimcorp has been an important partner in this work, having supplied three automated handling solutions to Continental: a buffering and sorting system ­before testing; a green tire handling system from tire building to the curing presses; and, most ­recently, a rick-rack tire palletizing system in the Final Finish area. According to Frank, automation is not an end in itself. “We continuously perform

“We are committed to ­optimizing our processes to minimize climate change and we expect our suppliers to do the same. For ­example, they are obliged to include energy saving or recovery measures in every project,” says Frank Heidenreich

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The most recent equipment supplied by Cimcorp to Continental is a TyrePick robotic buffer system connected to robotic tire palletization stations at a European plant. The Cimcorp plant was visited by the following members of the project team: Sylvain Fichel, Robot Specialist responsible for the technical aspects of the project (left); Frank ­Heidenreich, Automation Manager in the Central Engineering Department; and Jean-Michel Simeoni, Project Leader responsible for the automatic palletizing project in the plant. value analysis on our manufacturing processes and search for solutions to optimize or replace outmoded production technologies, but we will never automate for the sake of automation. We automate only if costs and savings have a positive ratio and the payback time for new systems is reasonable.”

‘Dream Factory’ Mr Heidenreich is also optimistic about future investment in Cimcorp solutions. “With its ‘dream factory’ concept, Cimcorp ­offers quite a lot of interesting ideas to automate the tire manufacturing process from the tire

Continental AG • Continental AG employs some 150,000 people at almost 200 plants, R&D centers and test tracks across 36 countries. • The corporation – founded in 1871 in Hannover – achieved sales in excess of 16.6 billion Euros in 2007. • The fourth largest supplier worldwide in the passenger and light truck tire market, Continental produces tires under the brand names Continental, Uniroyal, Semperit, Barum, General Tire, Euzkadi, Viking, Gislaved, Mabor, Matador and Sime Tyres.

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building machines to the loading dock. This is a useful toolbox to choose from and we will certainly make use of elements of the ‘dream factory’ when feasible. Looking a little bit further into the future,” continues Frank, “I can see the possib­ ility of Cimcorp providing solutions in ­areas even before tire building. With Cimcorp’s open-minded approach to new developments, I’m confident that we will generate some ­innovative solutions together in the future.”

Future co-operation Although the relationship between Continental and Cimcorp is strong, the constraints of Continental’s stringent supplier scrutiny remain. Frank explains: “All our suppliers have to meet certain criteria before we will work with them, and they then face specific requirements for each project. In our latest project with Cimcorp, for example, we looked very carefully at the environmental impact of the gantry robot systems. Although the solution is extremely space-efficient, we had to grapple with the inherent disproportion of moving tons of steel to handle a 10 kg tire because today’s systems consume energy to accelerate and waste kinetic energy when braking. This is an area where we expect Cimcorp

to concentrate its product development as, in the future, we want them to provide systems with energy recovery at a reasonable price. To be fair,” continues Frank, “I should mention that Cimcorp’s switch from pneumatic to electromechanical grippers was welcomed at Continental because this eliminates the most cost-intensive media – air – from the system.” Frank Heidenreich sees further scope for Cimcorp to help in streamlining tire plants. “I believe that Cimcorp can help us to beat down both operational and maintenance costs in the future. If you replace workers by complex machines today, you need to ­consider that the educational level of the new operators must be higher, and that the skills of maintenance staff need to be increased too. These associated costs,” explains Frank, “can be minimized if the systems are designed to be as foolproof as possible. For example, giving operators access to just a few essential functions and providing engineers with auto­matic help facilities – which guide them through the steps necessary to solve an acute problem – can save considerable time. The control ­systems of automated equipment in a tire manufacturing plant need to be as intuitive as the everyday office copier,” concludes Frank. • TEXT: HEIDI SCOTT • PHOTOS: JUSSI PARTANEN

The most recent equipment supplied by Cimcorp to C ­ ontinental is a TyrePick robotic buffer system c ­ onnected to r­ obotic tire palletization stations at a European plant. Pick magazine interviewed three of Continental’s staff about the project: Frank Heidenreich, Automation Manager in the ­Central Engineering Department; Jean-Michel S ­ imeoni, Project Leader responsible for the automatic palletizing project in the plant; and Sylvain Fichel, Robot Specialist r­ esponsible for the technical aspects of the project. What exactly has been supplied by Cimcorp to your plant? Jean-Michel: “The solution sorts, buffers and palletizes tires using six Cimcorp TyrePick robots and three Kuka palletizing robots. A key element is the automatic rick-rack palletization of tires – ­something which has only recently become pos­ sible through robotic developments. The solution has been a turnkey delivery, with Cimcorp acting as systems integrator.”


Can you describe how the system works? Sylvain: “The TyrePick gantry robots sort, buffer and pick tires, feeding them to the palletizing robots. Tires are loaded onto storage pallets and cages at tire plants in three different ways: they may be stacked horizontally, vertically or in a rick-rack design. The rick-rack pattern is the most space-efficient solution and Cimcorp's system ­automatically calculates the optimal palletizing ­pattern for each product type,

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using a 3D-model of each tire. TyrePick robots sort the tires arriving from the inspection area into stacks under the gantry according to type and grade, with tire identification made via bar code. When there are sufficient tires for a full pallet, the TyrePick robot moves the tire stacks onto a ­conveyor for transfer to the palletization station. Alternatively, operators can order tires when required from the buffer storage area.” How did this project begin? Frank: “It started back in 2005, when Kuka approached me and asked if Continental would be interested in automatic rick-rack palletizing. At that time we weren’t, simply because we’d tried it a couple of times with smaller, local suppliers and the attempts had failed, mainly because teaching the robots the palletizing patterns for each tire type proved to be a huge task. The idea was revived when Cimcorp and Kuka began a joint project with Continental to build a trial rick-rack cell. This was successful because the palletizing patterns could be generated automatically.”

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What impact does rick-rack palletization have? Jean-Michel: “Before the new system was installed, palletizing was a difficult manual task, with each worker manhandling some 15 metric tons of tires a day. Automation has improved working conditions for our staff dramatically. Another key benefit has been lower processing costs. Last but not least, the quality of the loaded pallets is higher due to the elimination of human error, which is great news for our customers.” What led you to choose the Cimcorp solution? Frank: “There were a number of factors involved, some concerning the technology and some related to Cimcorp as a company. In terms of the solution, it provided good utilization of the available space, with spare capacity for future extension. Crucially, the system allowed us to maintain throughput by manual palletization if a palletizing robot were to break down and by routing tires through other gantries if a TyrePick robot failed. As well as this flexibility in operation, the modular design provided flexibility in terms of installation, which was import­ ant because we needed to maintain production throughout the build phase. When it came to Cimcorp as a supplier, we already had favorable experience from our previous projects. They are

an internationally oriented company with good English, as well as other language skills, and they offer 24/7/365 customer support – an essential ­requirement for us.” How has the system performed so far? Sylvain: “The installation and start-up has been phased in two stages. In October last year, two TyrePick robots and two Kuka robots were installed, being taken into production mid-November. Then, in December, the final Kuka robot and the other four TyrePick robots were installed and taken into production in January of this year. So, it’s still early days for us, but so far, so good.” How would you evaluate Cimcorp’s performance? Frank: “Technically, the system is robust, fast and space-efficient. Everything was delivered on ­schedule and as agreed, with Cimcorp’s back ­office team doing a great job. Good relations with the whole team were established early on and Cimcorp staff have an excellent problem-solving approach. During the installation phase, we would have liked more pro-active communication from Finland but, overall, we’ve been very satisfied with Cimcorp’s project management.” • TEXT: HEIDI SCOTT • PHOTOS: TOMI GLAD

Thoughts about thinking



I am tired of thinking. Or whatever you would call it in my case. I am not talking now about great philosophical questions but about small everyday thoughts and choices. But apparently in 2030, this will come to an end, after which I will not be thinking one single thought. Raymond Kurtzweil says that in 2030 artificial intelligence (AI) will be smarter than human intelligence. I have no idea who Raymond Kurtzweil is, but the name sounds impressive enough to proclaim the glad tidings. At last robots in their metal skins will be able to experience all the useless stuff between heaven and earth that intelligence has to think about. Intelligence will be used to breaking point every moment, every second – and even in its sleep. How I will gloat when, on the first of January in 2030, some male robot will lose his robot cool waiting for his robot wife to start her day wondering for half an hour what clothes to wear. When robots do the intelligent work as well as physical labor, we humans will be able to put our feet up. Our working life of hundreds of thousands of years will be over. Mankind will be free to retire. The robots will make beautiful leaving speeches to mankind and give them gold watches in gratitude for years of good service. Or at least if not good service, for service anyway. Mankind will finally have time to fulfill itself. Mankind will be able to take up hobbies, like pensioners do. Mankind will be able to go traveling, fishing and rug-weaving. Perhaps there will even be a chance to realize a long dreamed-of pastime like stopping wars and living in peace. Until then even I will have to keep on thinking. Chewing over all kinds of ­trivial thoughts. Like, for example, could Cimcorp develop a robot player for the Finnish international soccer team? A goalscorer who can run non-stop. And so this country, which has always been unlucky, would finally qualify for the soccer World Cup. And would actually win it. The player’s name could be Robotinho.

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on a new

05:45 08:00 11:00 Ville has to get up early.

Arrive at the site.

With the time difference, emails and phone calls to Cimcorp head office in Ulvila have to be made before the working day begins. Night turns into day quickly so near to the Equator. The beach stretching out by the ­hotel eagerly awaits new people to fry. The day is going to be a real hot one!

The Cimcorp team has been strengthened as the project has progressed. First to ­arrive was the installation team of mechanics and electricians led by Ville. The project ­began by checking the system layout drawings and drawing it onto the floor of the ­installation site. After erecting the TyrePick robot frames, the robot bridges are assembled. Only then did the electricians and software designers get to work. Although the majority of the programs are ready, a lot of the programming work still has to be done on site. There are always ­plenty of changes to the configurations that are tailored to the customer’s needs and plant dimensions. Ville has looked after the project for almost six weeks and the journey back home is looming. Besides a nice tan, he will be taking home five extra kilos. In a hot climate, you have to keep tanking yourself up with water, some of which is bound to build up in the body. Even a small effort also soaks the shirt, for locals, too. Here if nowhere else, auto­mation is really necessary, particularly when the customer manufactures heavy truck tires.


The traditional hotel breakfast has been eaten and the taxicab is waiting.

The journey to the customer takes less than one hour, which is not long for a city of over six million. The spreading Rio suburbs ­passing by are a typical mish-mash of South American life. Here and there are glimpses of small stores and bars with plastic furniture. Next to affluent residential areas are ­tightly packed slums that a tourist had better not venture into alone after dark. On the road we meet gas-powered cars with small engines that use diesel or gasoline as their second source of fuel. The carefree lifestyle is also reflected in the driving style, as crashes are frequent even though the cars are not so powerful.

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The morning has been spent helping the fitters and electricians, getting hold of i­nstallation gear, and organizing routine business, in other words, the ordinary chores an installation manager has to do.

At the moment, Ville’s working day can range from mounting a robot’s leg bolts to attending customer meetings. Since the official language of the country is Portuguese, you can only get to know the locals very superficially. However, the work has gone very well because the customer’s project manager speaks English and if necessary you can communicate with the plant staff with hand signals or pen and paper.

In a nutshell the installation manager has to: • take care of the schedule and make sure that people keep to it • liaise with the customer e.g. in joint meetings • advise the customer as to shortages and needs • liaise with the project manager • assist in the installation work if required • give maintenance training

Beer, football, carnivals, and barbecues, that pretty much sums up the true Brazilian lifestyle. Rather than enjoying the fiery rhythms of samba, the six weeks that Ville Veihtola was in Brazil were spent fine-tuning TyrePick robots.

12:00 13:00 17:30 The team assembles in the plant cafeteria, where rice in bean sauce with meat or chicken is being served.

At lunch people have time to plan what to do with their leisure time. At one point there had been some talk of a football game b­ etween the Cimcorp team and the customer, but it is easier to cope with the heat by surfing in the Atlantic or on the beach taking in the ­beautiful scenery. However, everyone should visit the world-famous Christ statue as well as the ­Copacabana beach. There are all sorts of restaurants in Rio with a big selection of food in each. Mouth-watering meat dishes are avail­able on a skewer and the ribs are really tender. There are also many kinds of fish and seafood. The most popular drink is beer, and for those who like a more exotic drink, there is a true natural product, c­ oconut milk in its original packaging!

The most hectic phase of the installation is almost over.

Now it is time to make the final mechanical and electrical installations, install the software, and start testing the equipment with tires. When everything is ready, the storage of tires at the plant will have been converted from manual to automatic, and two TyrePick robots will handle tire storage and the transfer from one machine to another. Production will be speeded up and working conditions improved, when the robots take care of the heaviest tasks.

Back to the hotel, a cold beer and a shower.

There is plenty to see in the city, but in the week there is only time to go to a local restaur-­ ant and the nearby beach. There have been some cooler rainy days, but mainly the temperature in February has been over 30 degrees C. The city has many kilometers of coastline and there are plenty of people. As the Finnish saying goes “There is room for ­everyone when you get along” – the locals are friendly, the beaches are clean, and the ­restaurants are cheap. A small extra charge for ­tourists is the norm wherever you go. The dusk falls quickly and the town ­prepares itself for a hectic night. ­However, the nightlife will have to be given a miss ­today because of an early start tomorrow morning. The whole team won’t be free ­ until Saturday, and then the place chosen is the local Hard Rock Cafe.

The Cimcorp installation team Mauri Ahjolahti (left), Marko Hanhilampi, Tomi Lepistö, Ville Veihtola, Timo Pessi, Sami Hanhinen (front)

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• TeXT: Henri Alinen • PHOTOS: ville veihtola, PHOTO-ARCHIVE

w continent

New innovation for dimensioning the automation of the building and curing area

Green Tire Simulation ­Studio Cimcorp has developed a useful tool to evaluate and quantify the equipment required in green tire production and the size of the green tire buffer storage. This means that it is possible to dimension the equipment right at the start of an automation project to meet the customer’s ­requirements exactly. Tire production can be simulated in the Cimcorp studio from building machines up to curing presses. The input data given to the program is the customer’s actual product and production data or general figures, such as quantity of ­products, number of building machines and curing p ­ resses, safety margin, average building and curing times, product type changeover times, and lot sizes. The simulation studio is based on a relational database and software for processing the input data, the event-based simulation of the ­operation of the system, and generating results in graphic form. The input data is entered on a user-friendly interface. This gives the dimensioning data for the system: size of the buffer storage, ­utilization rate of building machines and molds, and material flow figures. The effect of different input parameters on the results can easily be checked by making a new simulation with modified para­ meters and comparing the results. The simulation studio can be used to check whether the number of tire building ­machines and curing presses is appropriate, to find the optimal production lot size for the ­building ­machines, and the optimal green tire ­buffer ­storage size for the system. The results ­determine the number of buffer storage robots needed and the data required for dimensioning the conveyor system. The objective is to attain the highest possible effectiveness for the ­smallest possible investment.

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New features in WCS user interface The new feature of the WCS (Warehouse Control Software) user interface (UI) is a web-based reporting and data logging ­interface WWP (Warehouse Web Portal), which speeds up the trouble­ shooting of disturbances and faults and offers an Online Help tool for continuous use. User-friendliness is enhanced by easy-to-find operating, maintenance and s­ ervicing instructions as well as system history, statistics, and reports. The Web-based user interface delivers flexibility for total system control. With WWP, data on the status of the warehouse and order picking for instance can be seen on all computers connected to the WCS server. Using WWP, the ­user has the opportunity of accessing quick help for ­fixing key problems and a ­visual guide to the location of components related to the fault. The robot’s operating history, such as capacity, availability and other performance data is collected on a statistical database. The reports assist the user when a document is needed for example on the contents of the stock or an equipment ­error log. Statistics and reporting do not serve the customer and the users alone, but also provide Cimcorp’s Customer Support and Product Development teams with ­valuable information for R&D and maintenance purposes. The first devices equipped with the WWP feature have been supplied to ­clients and user experiences have been extremely positive. In the future, WWP will be incorporated in WCS software as a standard feature in all Cimcorp systems ­deliveries.



Server change ensures high availability

The server is a critical component in an automation system and when it breaks down, it is like a blackout in the brain: the system loses its memory.

The older the server is, the more difficult it is to retrieve the memory for instance ­after a break in the hard drive. Spare parts are no longer available for old servers. Specialists who know how to fix old hardware and software are few and far between. “Cimcorp used to use HP-UX ­operating systems and Risc processor technology in their servers. Now we use the Linux OS and Intel processors,” say Cimcorp server specialists Paavo Ranta and Olli Ahola. Software development is an ongoing process. A new version of each operating ­system is released every year. This also applies to Cimcorp’s order picking system and WCS, which are all good reasons for updating the server. “Although the server can last up to ten years, it is worth updating every few ­years

b­ ecause of the software.” Ahola explains. “The newer the server software, the better the troubleshooting support you can get. The ­latest software always includes improvements. The server retrofit also enables the ­modernization of the user interface ­technique. Cimcorp’s new Java-based user interface is much better in terms of usability than the previous one.” A server change project takes a couple of months from order to implementation. Before the deal is made, customer requirements are mapped out, the correct dimensions and the right capacity of the equipment are determined. Data from the old system is migrated to the new server. All in all changeover takes three days, after which the functioning of the equipment is monitored for a further few days on site.

APPOINTMENTS Jyrki Anttonen, M.Sc. has been appointed Product Manager. He has worked at Cimcorp since 1985 and held several positions including software designer, project e ­ ngineer and s­ ales project manager. Jyrki will focus in particular on the product management of automation solutions for the tire industry. • Anssi Kiiski, M.Sc. has been appointed Sales Manager, food & beverage industry applications. Anssi has been working at Cimcorp since 1981 as a project manager in research & ­development and delivery projects, and as sales project manager. He is a specialist in MultiPick order picking a­ pplications. •

Greetings from TireExpo In February we took part in the Tire Technology Expo held in Hamburg. Remaining competitive in the tire industry requires the intensive streamlining of production and management systems, and therefore we are continuously developing new products for tire plant automation. At Tire Expo in addition to the Dream Factory concept, we also introduced our latest innovation – the GT Simulation Studio. The most important fair of the year for tire manufacturers went very well for us in many ways, because we were nominated for a Tire Technology International Award for Innovation and Excellence in the category of Tire Manufacturing and Design Innovation of the Year. This time the award went elsewhere, but we are delighted to have achieved the honor of reaching the top five in the world! Pick | 15

When quality is a race against time

MultiPick keeps

fresh products on the move Speed and cost-efficiency will determine the future prospects of the food industry. How fresh the consumer’s bread and milk are by the time they reach the table is dependent on how well the production logistics work.



M : TO • illustration

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The food industry is constantly facing new challenges. The retail business is consolidating, competition is getting tougher, and product delivery times are getting shorter. In addition, demands on the accuracy and traceability of deliveries are increasing. In the future, the producers that will succeed in this business sector are those who can optimize production, react the fastest to challenges, and adapt their wholesale prices while maintaining quality. Even though the delivery cycle is getting faster, there is no room for mistakes. Every single additional hour when the product is on its way from production to the store shelf is an hour off the selling time and may ultimately affect the bottom line. “The traditional distribution center methods may form a bottleneck to increased

production,” states Timo Rajakangas of ­Cimcorp. The more products manufactured, the bigger the need for manpower. Besides being a question of cost, the availability of a suitable workforce may be a problem. Especially in bakeries, the majority of the work is done during the unsocial early morning hours. In dairies, in addition, the work is done in low temperatures. “The solution consists of either total or partial automation of the dispatch function. In the MultiPick system, the goods move ­automatically from the production line to the loading docks and the material flow is c­ ontrolled by computers. The product is a­ lways in the right place at the right time, ­hygiene is excellent, and robots never make mistakes in product order picking.”

Benefits of automation In dairies and bakeries, the fast cycle of the dispatch function is also a guarantee of high quality. For example, the handling of ­easily perishable dairy products requires not only hygienic conditions but also an unbroken refrigerated chain. This can be realized easily using robot technology, because robots work faultlessly in the lowest temperatures. In many countries, legislation limits the amount of heavy product crates that a ­worker is allowed to lift during each day. For ­seasonal peaks, more workers are required, who are not always so motivated to carry out their work. “Of course, the impact of a fully automatic MultiPick system on the working conditions and ergonomics of the distribution center is considerable,” says Rajakangas.

The MultiPick system speeds up and improves logistics at bakeries and dairies. 1. Product crates are stacked on the conveyor that transfers them to dispatch. 2. The MultiPick robot stores the product stacks as they are on the floor for order picking. 3. MultiPick collects customer orders from the floor storage. 4. Customer stacks are transferred along the outbound conveyor for delivery.

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“Of course, the impact of a f­ully ­automatic MultiPick ­system on the working ­conditions and ­ergonomics of the ­distribution center is considerable,” states Timo Rajakangas of Cimcorp

“But the thing that makes the system flexible is the fact that product stacks are collected on the empty floor below the robot. It is hard to imagine a more flexible warehousing method than a plain floor. It is easy to clean when for instance leaking packages need cleaning up. No product shelves, pallets, or roll containers are necessary in a Multi-Pick warehouse.” With MultiPick, products can be picked automatically immediately after production in customer-specific product stacks to await ­distribution. In this way they proceed as a continuous flow in precisely the direction they should, from production to the ­customer without unnecessary intermediate steps. After order picking, the system ­transfers the finished customer-specific product ­batches automatically to the delivery trucks. Orders are picked and the truck is loaded normally in reverse drop-off order, so that unloading proceeds quickly and flawlessly along the delivery route. Even though the system deals with large freight masses and order quantities, the ­automatic handling of material flow always ­ensures that the certain knowledge of where the products are and where they are going. The sorting errors typical of manual order picking cannot occur. “It is essential for product safety that the warehouse control system (WCS) that controls a MultiPick distribution center is linked up to the customer’s sales system. In this way, traceability of the products may be useful in the event of a manufacturing error or product recall,” says Rajakangas. • TEXT: HENRI ALINEN • PHOTOS: TOMI GLAD, PHOTO-ARCHIVE

18 | Pick

MultiPick smooths the flow of mail In this age of ­electronic ­media, the ­conventional ­postal service is also ­expected to provide more speed and reliability. ­MultiPick adds new zip to the handling and sorting of mail.

MultiPick functions in mail processing and sorting centers as sorting and buffer ­storage in many work stages: mail acceptance, ­sorting of outward and inward mail, and dolly ­loading for delivery. The mail is handled at the sorting ­center in plastic trays. These trays are transferred from the mail acceptance to the sorting ­areas for outward sorting. The trays are ­directed to the buffer storage under MultiPick if there is no need for them in the sorting areas. As soon as more trays are needed, the sorting ­areas “pull” them from the MultiPick storage based on demand. After the first sorting stage (outward sorting, to other sorting centers), the mail trays again enter the MultiPick area, where they are arranged into stacks for each sorting center.

Similarly, after the second sorting stage (inward sorting, for the local area), the mail trays come into the MultiPick area and are put into separate stacks for each local delivery office or terminal. When one dolly-load of goods is ready, MultiPick moves it onto the dolly, which is transferred to the mail delivery vehicle. This stage occurs after both inward and outward sorting. As well as speed, accuracy, and ­flexibility, the system has many other benefits. Multi­ Pick arranges the trays in stacks on the floor as they arrive from the sorting areas. Trays can be fed into the system in any order whatsoever. Trays to be transferred to the delivery vehicles are sequenced and pre-arranged under the MultiPick robot and therefore they Pick | 19

Applicability of MultiPick robots for different stages of mail processing



Retrieval based on demand

Shipping unit preparation


Presorted delivery mail

Presorted bulk mail Non-local mail

Presorted mail Mail acceptance

Delivery to other post centers Delivery mail Terminals and delivery post offices

Outward sorting


Delivery mail PULL

Local mail

Inward sorting

Presorted bulk mail PULL


Incoming mail

can be loaded to the delivery unit quickly. This is crucial because the schedules between sorting centers are tight and so the loading windows for loading are also tight.

MultiPick brings fresh winds to mail sorting The MultiPick system has a long and successful record of use for order picking in food and beverage distribution centers. In these systems, robots order pick batches from product-specific stacks on an open floor ­storage according to customer order, and they are loaded onto transport units or as such ­into delivery vehicles. This procedure can also be reversed, where a mixed stack entering the robot’s working envelope can be picked up in the gripper, and the trays are distributed into product-specific stacks. The MultiPick system is also ideally ­suited to tray handling in mail processing and sorting centers. The system gives added value to the sorting process by, for example, acting as a buffer storage in mail processing. 20 | Pick

Mail trays processed in the sorting center include trays for different destinations. The robot sorts these trays into stacks according to destinations. When all the trays of a particular destination have arrived to the Multi­ Pick storage, they are loaded ­automatically

Time needed (minutes)

onto a transport unit for transfer to the ­delivery vehicle. Thanks to this effective stack handling, trays can be sequenced and dispatched without delay to the sorting areas or mail delivery vehicles.

Time needed for final sweeping

80 70

Example: • Batch size 2.5 trays • Sweeping time 45 min.

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 1 Trays/drop







MultiPick ­capacity The increase in size of a tray batch in the sorting area ­raises handling capacity and reduces time spent on the ­final sweeping of first class mail


MultiPick operating principle







Trays can be sequenced into bigger batches for the sorting machines. The machines can run longer with same set-ups, which improves machine availability. All of which makes it easier to stick to the production plan. In the time-critical final sweeping of first class mail, the handling capacity of the ­system can be affected by optimizing operations in the sorting areas. The handling capacity of the robots can be increased by dispatching larger tray batches from the sorting area. With this kind of MultiPick stack hand­ ling, there is no hassle with peak situations. The robot can store incoming stacks as they arrive on the open floor storage very efficiently and reduce the pressure on the conveying system accordingly. Once the peaks have been cleared, the trays can be sequenced awaiting further processing. This is just one example of how MultiPick storage offers the system the kind of flexibility that conventional automated storage options cannot.

5 1


Dest 1

Dest 2

Dest 3

Dest 4

Dest 5

The robot ­sequences the trays arriving at the storage area by group and process step: for ­example, according to physical size, by terminal, zip code area, class, and zip code


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Hunter of the lost pin There were no medals in the World Ice Hockey Championships of 1997 for the Finnish hockey team to hang around their necks. On the other hand, Mika Artesola from Turku had several pieces of metal shining on his jacket, when he was carried away by pin collecting, which all began in the ­corridors of the hockey stadium.

”It’s easier to collect pins than empty whiskey bottles, for instance. You don’t have to drink them first!” Mika Artesola laughs.

22 | Pick

Mika recalls how some good friends got him free tickets for each game played in Turku in the qualification rounds of the World Championships. ”Since there were a couple of matches per day, I couldn’t be bothered to go home in between so I stayed around the ice ­hockey stadium to kill time. I started to collect championship pins from different sponsors’ booths and the hobby took off from there.” Traditionally, pins are made for advert­ izing purposes. Sports-themed pins usually have the championship mascot with the name of the sponsor. And when there are ­numerous sponsors, there are plenty to be collected. People hunt high and low for missing collectibles and sometimes hunting down a missing pin can become an obsession for the collector. “When you have been looking for a certain pin for a long time and then you happen to find it, you get an unbelievable buzz. One good example was the ferry company Silja Line’s World Championship pin from 1997. The company had made two different kinds of badges, with only a limited number of one of them. I looked for it for a long time, until once when I was traveling to Sweden I saw it on a ticket seller’s lapel. After a small negotiation, my collection was complete!”

Collecting pins is a fun way to meet people Mika’s closet contains about 7000 – 8000 pins, of which two thousand are duplicates. These are for swapping with other collectors. “I belong to the Finnish Pin club, which has about 150 members. At the club you can meet like-minded people and it is easier to complete a collection, because members help each other to find missing items. In 2003 we were at the Ice Hockey World Championships in Helsinki, and we were actually the subject of a newspaper article in our ­shining championship jackets,” Mika laughs and shows off his vest covered in pins. You don’t necessarily find pins by searching, you often just come across them by chance. A pin that is of value to a collector may be picked up at a flea market for instance for a euro. Mika doesn’t think that pins have any value apart from sentimental value, even though the fact that money changes hands has raised the price of the pins many times. “If you say that you collect certain kinds of pins, some people will help for free, while others want money. One of the motives for collecting is to get a complete series and sell it on to another collector, but it is quite ­difficult way to get rich!” Mika’s closet reveals different framed sets of pin collections. It leaves no doubt about the sponsorship relationship between the Coca Cola Company and Disney! The whiskey distillery and airline collections are also stylish. You can also wear Finnish tango singers on your chest if you wish! Apart from being collectibles, a glittering piece of metal on your breast can commun­ icate your persona.

“You never know when you will come across a missing pin. One time, I heard something clink in a gym locker and there was the badge I’d long been searching for”

“You see attendees at EU summit meetings wearing a lot of the same kind of pins. They can also convey professions and ­interests. One of the funniest pins was a badge from the Thrinax restaurant in Turku that said in red flashing lights ‘I am free’.”

A hobby passed down from father to son Usually collecting pins is a hobby started by the younger generation of the family, but as they lose interest in collecting when they ­become teenagers, the parents take over. “Pin collecting is suitable for all ages, you can meet parents as well as children at

the clubs. When you share a topic of conversation and you attend the same club events, it is easy to make new friends.” Can a collection ever be complete, when new pins are being made in every corner of the globe? Mika is in favor of limiting the collecting passion to special areas, such as sports events. “The Olympics and World Championships are good examples of events where ­only a limited number of different badges are made. So it is easier to collect the whole set, although different kinds of faulty printing pose a challenge to collecting. For example, there was a mix-up for the World ­Athletics

Championships held in Helsinki in 2005. The same kind of pin from the reprinting may change a little over the years.“ But what happens after everything has been collected? Is the collector overwhelmed by a feeling of emptiness? Mika doesn’t believe so, because giving up articles is one part of collecting. In addition, new collectibles are appearing all the time. “Now it’s time for the European Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki, and I am going there with my wife. It keeps harmony in our family too, because my wife really likes watching figure skating!“ • TEXT: HENRI ALINEN • PHOTOS: MIKA OKKO

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World Market for Baking Trade Fair Centre Düsseldorf


At the beginning of October we will be taking part in the international iba Trade Fair held in Düsseldorf for the bakery sector. The last time this diverse trade fair was organized was three years ago in Munich, when there were over 75,000 visitors from

CIMCORP IN A NUTSHELL Cimcorp’s customers are companies in the field of ­production and d ­ istribution. The solutions provided by the ­company for the automation of logistics and ­production improve the profitability and c ­ ompetitive edge of their customers’ b ­ usiness. ­Solutions are based on advanced r­ obot and software technologies and on highly developed service concepts. CIMCORP OY Satakunnantie 5, FI-28400 Ulvila, FINLAND phone +358 2 6775 111, fax +358 2 6775 200, China Beijing Hengrongda Trade Co., Ltd. (HRD) 16B02, 16/F Tower C, Central Int'l Trade Center 6A Jianguomenwai Avenue, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100022 CHINA phone +86 10 65630702, fax +86 10 65685507, Japan Itochu Sanki Corporation Sanno Grand Bldg. 2-14-2 Nagata-Cho, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo 100-0014, JAPAN phone +81 3 3506 3511, fax +81 3 3506 3520 South Korea EKL Korea Corporation RM 305, Dongsun Bldg., #413-5 Jangan 1-dong, Dongdaemun-Ku, Seoul 130-843, REP. OF KOREA phone +82 2 2242 2963, United States Food&beverage industry: Logistics Connections 446 N. Wells Street, #336, Chicago, IL 60654 phone +1 773 295 1916, fax +1 312 595 1116 Others: Pesmel North America P.O. Box 289, Ashland, MA 01721 phone +1 508 893 0850, fax +1 508 893 8030

144 countries.

Baking fair – Dusseldorf calling At iba we will be presenting the advanced MultiPick concept, which optimizes bakery distribution center operations and thus helps them to face the challenges of ever-tougher competition. This cutting-edge technology gets freshly baked bakery products straight onto the store shelves quickly and flawlessly.

Cimcorp Customer Magazine 2009/1  

Continental benefits from Dream Factory • MultiPick picks our daily bread • OUR EXPERTS OUT IN THE WORLD TyrePick team in Brazil

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