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Cimcorp customer magazine 2 | 2009


On a business trip in Sriperumbudur


reshapes mail delivery

A comprehensive robotics system for Apollo's new plant


In this issue: EDITORIAL


Bakery dispatch: a paperless future


Mail delivery reshaped by automation


MultiPick buffer storage adds flexibility to order picking







6 16


Automation was the only real solution India tire giant Apollo picked Cimcorp

4 22

Namaskar India!


Apollo mission on course


Optimized lightness for TBR production


New automation concept is greener and more effective





looks in the crystal ball at the future of the bakery business PICK OF THE COLLECTORS

Puzzles can be addictive

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 Hämeen Kirjapaino Ltd subscriptions | or phone +358 2 6775 111

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Only change is constant – the trends and speed vary Continual change is one of the central features of the current technological world: markets offer the consumer new cars and tires almost every year; in the textile industry fashions change several times a year. Over the years, people have learnt to recognize certain kinds of trends in industrial changes. Efficiency is one of them. The second one may be user-friendliness and the third one safety. The fourth trend I would say is for measures limiting and replacing the use of energy - known as green values. PHOTO: TOMI GLAD

The application techniques, tools, and models used in product development are also changing. Earlier, you would often find a company’s product development department hidden behind a locked door. A “No entry” sign aimed to ensure that it was a case of a small select team doing secret busy work. And the result was some excellent products, at least in the opinion of the team themselves! Social networking is one of the key trends of today. Blogs, wikis, forums,

Lasse Salakari Director, Product Development

social media platforms, Google and other networking tools are bringing individual inventors and developers much closer to the rest of the world. Networking with the customer and their participation in the process has proved an outstanding way of improving and also accelerating the results of product development. Ideas have been converted into new solutions at a fairly fast pace based on the thoughts and experiences of customers and end users. Speed and timely implementation have been crucial features of the entire production process for us at Cimcorp. So it is not enough for the product development team to think their product is great in their own opinion at least. The product must be adaptable above all for the needs of the customer, in line with development trends, and on the market first and at the right time.

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Bakery dispatch:

proven success or half-baked ideas? In your opinion, which factors provide the greatest challenge for industrial bakeries today?

– It’s certainly true that bakeries face a number of challenges today. Of course, markets are incredibly competitive and yet customers demand so much more than just discounted prices. The requirements of international standards – such as IFS (International Food Standard), BRC (British Retail Consortium Global Standard) and FPA (Food Products Association) – are ever increasing. Then there are challenges behind the scenes such as guaranteed sales (sale or return), the demand for wider product variety, the need for products with fewer portions and the increasing numbers of private labels. Another important factor is that frozen products are now stealing market share from fresh products. Finally, it’s just not that easy to make western people hungry! Can you describe how the switch from traditional picking and distribution in bakeries to paperless technology has progressed?

– One of my standard questions to bakeries is, "When did you last invest in your facilities?" The answer is usually that certain production equipment has been bought recently. Then I ask them, "And what about your dispatch operations?" After an initial pause, managers remember that they bought some new crates or an additional delivery truck. I have to explain that this has nothing to do with dispatching – those items are bought because production has simply made more goods to be transported. Although billions have been invested in optimizing bakery production over the last century, precious little 4 | Pick

To discover more about the supply chains of modern bakeries, Pick magazine interviewed Dirk Franke, Chief Executive Director of ToolBox Software GmbH, specialist suppliers of pick-to-light solutions for industrial bakeries. has been spent on dispatch systems. A picker’s job today is virtually unchanged from 50 years ago. What’s more, often the space dedicated to dispatch operations has shrunk, even though more volume has to be shipped. However, more and more bakeries are now recognizing that dispatch is their main bottleneck. When talking to dispatch managers, two key issues arise very quickly: time and space. This is the point at which we can start to explain the possibilities of paperless dis-

patch solutions. Experience shows that pick-tolight solutions can save 30 per cent or more in time and labor costs. The simple fact is that dispatch is the area of greatest potential for efficiency improvements and cost savings in the baking industry today. About a thousand fresh bakeries already use paperless distribution systems and what’s really interesting is that these are not only in countries with high labor costs. Bakeries in low-wage countries have also invested in paperless solutions, for control reasons. We at ToolBox, for example, have installed pick-to-light systems in some 25 countries, from Asia to North America. How do bakery production and distribution operations differ between countries, in your experience?

– The differences are mostly market-driven, depending not only on consumer tastes but also on historical and cultural factors. For example, a worker who earns $60 per month has to be controlled in a different way to one making $4,000. When we start to work with a bakery on a dispatch project, we have to ask for volume data and the answers we get are very interesting. In Germany, bakeries quote the number of stores and customers; in Russia, we’re told the capacity in tons; while in the US, managers list the number of routes. These are completely different factors but they reveal how the bakeries rate themselves. Compared to North America, Europe is a crowded market and shipping distances are shorter. European consumers demand loose products, which would get too soft if wrapp-ed. Many bakeries in Europe do not work 24/7, as there is no real market for this. It is completely different in America, Austra­ lia and other areas, where consumers normally

buy wrapped bread and they want it 24/7. These are the factors that influence production and distribution most. Are there any limitations of pick-by-light solutions in bakery applications?

– So far, we have not really experienced any. The market is, of course, changing, with more and more frozen and par-baked producers, who demand different solutions. Our new WMS system is specially designed for these types of operations. Today, we have installations ranging from some 15 displays to more than 1,000 with multiple-site handling. I think it’s more a question of concept limitation than volume limitation – if the number of SKUs and/or shipping points is too small, a typical pick- or put-to-light system may not fit. In what scenarios do manual picking and fully automated picking fit well together in the modern bakery?

– Labor costs will increase in the future, while the overall quality of labor will not improve. Energy costs are increasing and will continue

to do so. This leads to the question: "What will be the optimum size and location of a bakery plant and distribution center?" Robotic picking makes sense when a large number of crates with one SKU per crate are handled. This could be the case for the bakeries that supply in bulk to the distribution centers of specific retailers or thirdparty logistics providers. In these DCs, manual picking according to route and customer would take place. We see a big market for combined solutions that feature both automated picking and manual pick-by-light systems. What do you think the industrial bakery of the future will look like?

– A glance in the crystal ball for me reveals a future in which there is increased demand for integrated solutions of WMS, pick-tolight and automatic picking. I think the market share of par-baked and frozen goods will increase, leading to make-to-stock production instead of make-to-order. The consumer will still expect fresh goods – rather than frozen ones – on the supermarket shelf, so goods will be thawed during shipping. Personally, I hope that people will once again view bread as an important and healthy basic food. Today, it’s sold much too cheaply in many areas in the western world and it is shameful just how much bread is thrown away. TEXT: HEIDI SCOTT PHOTOS: TOOLBOX, SHUTTERSTOCK

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Hannu Tuominen, development director, Itella:

“The big plus compared with the competition is that MultiPick is able to alleviate peak situations in a rational manner.�

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Mail delivery reshaped by automation The fall in letter volumes and the liberalizing of the postal markets led to Finland’s Itella investing in the MultiPick system developed by Cimcorp.

Electricity travels from one continent to another in a matter of seconds. No wonder then that more and more often a letter travels via an IT network rather than inside an envelope. What’s more, the EU is planning to open postal traffic to competition at the beginning of 2011. Itella is responding to these challenges with a major investment of 160 million Euros, including mail-sorting automation systems for their mail centers supplied by Cimcorp and Siemens. Hannu Tuominen, development director, justifies the corporate investment with sound arguments. “In the current situation and ­given the trends for the near future, the reshaping of mail sorting and logistics through auto­ mation was the only real solution.” The postal service law of Finland requires all companies that engage in postal services to deliver mail on the five weekdays. Services may be provided by any organization that fulfills the requirements of the law and pos­­sesses a license. However, the stringency of the license conditions has not been conducive

to competition in mail delivery in a sparsely populated country like Finland. In the new EU postal directive that comes into force in 2011, this requirement will no longer exist, which may well introduce competition in the sector.

MultiPick – adaptable for many applications According to Tuominen, the decision to implement a major investment program is also a consequence of the fact that, after ten years of use, the current equipment and systems were nearing the end of their life cycle, and that the space at the sorting centers had become insufficient. “This major investment includes the building of two completely new sorting centers at Kuopio and Oulu, and the expansion and refurbishment of the centers at Helsinki and Tampere. In each of the four locations new equipment and systems will be installed; letter sorting equipment equipped with optical reading and data systems,

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MultiPick means multi-benefits MultiPick operates as a sorting and buffering storage at mail centers in mail acceptance, inward sorting and outward sorting of mail, and loading of transport units for distribution. The robot sorts the trays arriving at the storage by group and process step, for instance according to physical size, by terminal, class, or zip code. In addition to the speed and accuracy of the system, the mail trays can be fed flexibly in any sequence whatsoever. During peak periods, the robot can store incoming mail trays first in mixed stacks and only later sort them into the neces­sary stacks to await further processing. Since the mail trays are pre-sequenced under the MultiPick robot, they can be transferred quickly onto dollies and delivery vehicles. The operation of the system can be optimized by sending larger batches to the sorting areas, which in turn raises the handling capacity and reduces the time spent on final sweeping.

letter tray handling systems as well as parcel and bundle sorting equipment.” When the decision in principle was m ­ ade to automate mail sorting, it was put out to tender to the key equipment and systems suppliers. The total logistical package put together by the Cimcorp and Siemens consortium proved the best and landed the contract for letter handling and storage systems. “Automation is a new-generation solution, which not only brings cost savings and allows the development of services, but ­also reduces strenuous work stages such as the moving of heavy trays by manual labor.” Tuominen praises the MultiPick system for its effective use of space, its flexibility, and ease of maintenance. The pre-sorted blue letter trays move by conveyor from the letter-sorting equipment to the storage area, where a robot sorts them into product- or zip code-specific stacks. When the floor acts as both a sorting area and buffer storage area, optimal mail throughput time is achieved. MultiPick transfers the ready stacks to the transport units and onward for loading into the delivery vehicles. 8 | Pick

“The big plus compared with the competition is that MultiPick is able to alleviate peak situations in a rational manner. When there are a lot of incoming trays, the robot piles them up first in mixed stacks and only sorts the trays after the rush has died down. This means no bottlenecks are created for the mail sorting or distribution center. The competitors did not offer this kind of fea­ture. Also, service procedures on one robot do not hold up the process, because the ­allocation of work between the robots can be altered smoothly.”

Brand and business in great shape In Finland, many customers know Itella better by the name Posti. However, as the company internationalized, it needed a new brand, something that works equally well in every language and in every business sector. “We now operate in fifteen countries. In addition to Scandinavia and central Eu­r­ ope, by far our biggest area is Russia, where we have about 5 000 employees.” Tuominen sees logistical knowhow as

the business of the future. “In Finland, the daily postal delivery service is our core business. Abroad, the majority of our operations are related to the logistics of goods transport, warehousing services, and electronic invoicing and documentation management.” In addition to traditional services, Itella is well prepared for the growth of online serv­ices. For example, many large corporations send their invoicing electronically to Itella, where the invoices are printed and forwarded to the recipients. When competition opens up in a couple of years’ time, the company will be more than ready for the new market situation. “The service provided by Posti in Finland is top class. Of course, we must also consider how to sustain this reliability and enhance it even further. Now we have made a significant investment in the future. The automation solution allows us to maintain the high quality of our operations, keep the cost of mail at a reasonable level and remain a strong player in this changing business,” explains Tuominen. Quite remarkable flexibility for an organ­ ization founded in the 17th century!

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MultiPick buffer storage adds flexibility to order picking When products have a short selling time and distribution volumes are large, it requires automated order picking and often also smooth buffer storage between production and order picking. MultiPick is ideal for both tasks. The distribution of fresh products, in dairies for example, often operates under extreme pressure, and in dispatch frequently there are product batches to be managed with several different expiry dates. Clarity of function and speeding up the supply chain play a key role as far as development is concerned. Cimcorp’s MultiPick solutions are most often used in distribution centers for picking customer orders, but they are also ideally suited to the buffer storage of all kinds of dairy products, providing effective means to improve productivity.

Precision replenishment as required MultiPick buffer storage is ideal for the distribution of all such fresh products, where items with several different expiry dates are to be managed. Products are sent in plastic crates from production to the buffer storage by conveyor. Before the MultiPick picking position the crates are put into stacks, after which the robot takes the stacks to the storage places on the floor. In this way the robot can collect the product stacks from

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the storage according to replenishment orders coming from the order picking areas and deliver them to the conveyor going to the order picking area. Not all products need to travel via the buffer storage. Instead, they are guided by conveyor directly to the order picking sectors. The buffer storage is mostly required for low-volume products, which are not worth taking to the order picking area before it is known which order picking sector needs the product in question. Thus low-volume products can be kept waiting as long as possible in the buffer storage, avoiding unnecessary transfers between order picking areas. As for highvolume products, on the other hand, the final items of the production batches are kept in the buffer storage until there are orders for them in the order picking areas. The material flow of the MultiPick buffer storage is controlled by Cimcorp’s Warehouse Control System (WCS). WCS can also manage the entire material and data flow of the distribution center, so that the buffer storage is a part of this larger entity. TEXT: TOTTI TOISKALLIO PHOTOS: TOMI GLAD, SHUTTERSTOCK

Munch, munch...



I have it from reliable sources that robots have taken over the bakeries! According to the same sources, no violence was used in this coup, because the people put up no resistance to the invasion. The reason for this Gandhi-like behavior may be due to the fact that the robots were known to be content with establishing a bridgehead in the order picking section. Unfortunately, after this, certain unforeseen matters have come to light. It has emerged that the takeover of order picking was only the first stage in the robots’ strategy. The next step is to get their hands on baking work. There is only one obstacle to the direction of this advancement, the non-humanness of robots. Mankind’s most cunning spies and counterspies have found out that robots do not have a sense of smell or taste. “So far,” as the agents have written in their reports. The most startling information has emerged as human spies have managed to infiltrate robot headquarters thanks to their cunning metal whiskers. Documents classified as top secret warn of the stark truth: the robots’ ulterior motive for the bakery takeover is to get to eat all the cakes in the world. The definition of “all” means that there would be no bakery products left for humans to eat. It is shameful that we have come to this. Why hadn’t the most eminent futurologists noticed the obvious link in the development of humans and robots? The early dawn of mankind is known as the huntergatherer culture. In other words, people lived by gathering. And what are robots doing right now? – Gathering (or in robot-speak “picking”). Personally, I have welcomed robotic evolution up to this moment. When they come and take a metallic bite out of my cake, I will give them a stern warning. Nothing makes me so mad as when somebody or something prevents me from enjoying a juicy donut with my coffee during my working day. I still don’t know what my dire warning will be, but in my mind’s eye I can already see the robots’ bottom lip trembling with fear.

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New application for car tire handling – order picking system for tire dealers Cimcorp has been supplying automation systems to tire plants for many years, where Cimcorp robots take care of the flow of material and data between production steps from tire-building machines up to tire storage. Now the company has developed a new concept for tire order picking at tire dealer distribution centers. The control system creates delivery and order picking lists from the orders that are sent to the dealer from the tire sales outlets. When the orders are received, the system calls tire pallets from the warehouse to the order picking system. Just as in tire plant applications, the system uses TyrePick gantry robot technology. Tires enter the working envelope of the TyrePick robots from storage on pallets. They are unloaded by the robots and transferred to the order picking floor area to await order picking. The tires are kept in the storage in type-specific stacks. TyrePick robots collect batches according to customer orders and delivery routes and transfer them to the outbound conveyor. The tires are loaded into the delivery vehicle according to the delivery route and delivery order. The order picking system can handle passenger car tires, light truck and truck tires, and bus tires. Tires of the same rim size can be collected in the same stack even when they are of different types. The Cimcorp system enables tire dealers to improve their service to tire sales outlets, because automation guarantees flawless deliveries and shortens delivery times, meaning that now orders can be placed later than before without compromising the requested delivery date. The tire dealer’s business becomes more efficient when the entire tire logistics process is handled automatically. Cost savings are also achieved because of the dramatic reduction in truck loading times. The order picking system is suitable for tire dealers and for central warehouses at tire plants.

See you at TireExpo Once again we will be exhibiting our offerings for the tire industry in Germany in February. We have earlier brought our innovations to the tire industry through Cimcorp’s participation at TireExpo, chiefly in material flow management of course. When the units to be manufactured – i.e. tires – are transferred from one work stage to the next in a rational and controlled way, time is saved and production capacity increased. We invest continuously in product development of systems for the tire industry. At this exhibition we will be even greener – see you at booth number 9210 at Tire Technology Expo 2010 in Cologne, 9.–11.2.2010. 12 | Pick

New partner in India We have initiated co-operation with the Indian company, Larsen & Toubro Limited, LTM Business Unit. The company manufactures equipment for the tire industry. Co-operation will range from marketing and sales through to project management, equipment deliveries, and customer service. We will supply automation equipment and control systems, and will also have overall responsibility for systems integration. Larsen & Toubro will be in charge of local sourcing and will participate in installation and commissioning. Our objective is to train the local partner to offer customer support services after handover of the equipment. According to Markku Vesa, Cimcorp's managing director, having a local partner is essential, because the customer should be able to trust that if a problem arises, help is at hand nearby and quickly. “Larsen & Toubro have proved to be just the right partner for us, because they have solid experience of India’s tire industry, which is a target group of great interest to us,” Vesa specifies.


The new gripper:

MultiPick Dual Cimcorp has developed a new version of the MultiPick stack gripper designed for the order picking of plastic crates and stacks called the MultiPick Dual, which can handle two stacks of crates simultaneously. The square tubular structure of the gripper enables the stacking of different-sized crates inside the gripper. The varying sizes of plastic crates and crate stacks no longer pose a problem, since the structure can be adapted at the design stage simply by changing some parameters.

Trade fair news from Post Expo and iba We took part for the first time in the international trade fair for the postal industry and the international iba bakery fair, which is a mega event for the sector. At both fairs, we exhibited the MultiPick sorting and order picking system, which has been developed for plastic crate picking used in the distribution of both mail and bakery products. As newcomers, our gantry robot-based applications attracted some well-earned interest. The flexibility of MultiPick is second to none in comparison with the conventional conveyor systems in order picking. We were able to make new contacts, and quotation projects are now underway in many new destinations and countries. Pick | 13


Cimcorp’s sales manager Kai Tuomisaari and sales project manager Jarno Honkanen visited Chennai and Delhi for negotiations that resulted in the first dream factory for the Indian tire industry.

Namaskar In 07:00 08:00 09:00 Wake-up at the Royal Méridien Chennai.

Tourists are mesmerized by the Indian hospitality at this hotel humming with a British colonial atmosphere. Service is fast and attentive. Refreshments are served as soon as you arrive at the hotel, and you don’t even need to contemplate moving your own baggage to your room. You can even be given guidance in using the TV in case guests are interested in watching some Bollywood productions. The British heritage may be the reason why the hotel staff speak impeccable English, which in this multi-lingual country is the only common language. Local Indian dishes are served for breakfast, including thin wheat bread fried in oil, which is served with a rice-based chaser. All the dishes contain plenty of vegetables. The bread also functions as a handy utensil that is used for scooping up the food from the plate without knives and forks. Plain yogurt takes the edge off the fieriness of the very spicy food.

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Two chauffeur-driven cars from our partners appear in the hotel courtyard.

The perfectly equipped dream factory is being planned for the town of Sriperumbudur, which is an hour’s drive from Chennai. So, there was time in the cars to get down to discussing the day's agenda straightaway. From time to time, the passengers even changed car, depending on whether it was commercial or technical matters being discussed. The temperature in the morning was already hitting 30 degrees Celsius, so in the daytime the mercury would be climbing to 37 degrees. Fortunately, both the cars and negotiation rooms have good air-conditioning, as business attire for the locals too is a dark suit, tie and a long-sleeved shirt. In the hottest weather, they might forego the jacket. Although it is hot all the year round in Chennai, its climate is much more pleasant than that of Delhi, for example. According to the locals, India is the most democratic country in terms of traffic. On the road anyone can do anything! The use of space is extremely effective; the idea of keeping a safe dis­tance is unheard of, and the horn is used constantly. It is the most important piece of equipment for the driver, which he uses to announce a change of lane or an impending collision. Although the roads are congested and cows wander across the roads hampering the traffic, the cars seem to reach their destination surprisingly quickly.

The drive comes safely to an end.

In the middle of a large construction site the prefabricated offices look a little bare, but contain air-conditioned negotiating rooms with up-to-date meeting paraphernalia. The working day that began in the car continues with the handling of the technical details of the tender. A large team considers factory layouts, the configuration of equipment and systems from the assembly of green tire machines to the storage of finished tires. In Indian business culture, it is critical that everyone gets to have his or her say. This may lead to long negotiations. Agreement is shown by nodding the head from side to side.

11:30 15:30 20:00 Tea, coffee, soft drinks, and snacks are available in the meeting continuously so that nobody will go hungry or thirsty during the hectic negotiations. The customer is very well informed, committed, and motivated to make a deal. In the midday heat, things gradually move forward and the factory layout, machinery and automation systems begin to take shape.

A deluge takes the negotiators by surprise.

The monsoon rains are late, and they are awaited in the media as earnestly as we wait for the first snow in Finland. This year, there has been about a third less rain than normal so the farmers in particular have suffered from the exceptional weather conditions. The monsoon is an anticipated event especially for the poorest sections of the populace, because a poor grain harvest will have an immediate effect on the price of food. The amount of rain that falls in half an hour is truly impressive. The deep ditches are filled up to their limits. Through the windows you can see for a time nothing other than water, which pours down from the skies in torrents.


Arrival at Delhi. Stepping out at the airport it feels like there’s a hairdryer blowing hot air against your face, and the humidity of the monsoon wind is really noticeable. The amount of people is overwhelming, with passengers often seen off on their flight by the whole family. Outside the terminal, the sea of lights of the taxis on duty takes care of onward connections in the metropolitan area of over 22 million inhabitants. After a quick supper the evening con­tin­ues with the fine-tuning of the commercial proposal. It is possible to have our clothes washed and ironed after the dusty trip, even though we only get to the hotel rooms just after midnight. The following day’s negotia­ tions will be held in the town of Gurgaon, which is less than an hour’s drive from the hotel. When the contract is made, the dream factory will be ready, apart from actual construction.

After the monsoon it is time to leave for Chennai airport,

from where we catch our connecting flight to Delhi for further negotiations on commercial matters. The Indian airline fleet is modern, and the service beats its European rivals hands down, and food is included on the short-haul flight.

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37 °C in a collar and tie! Cimcorp's Kai Tuomisaari (right) and Jarno Honkanen with their host.

To meet its ambitious growth targets, India’s largest tire manufacturer, Apollo Tyres Ltd, is building a brand-new factory in Southern India and the company has commissioned Cimcorp to supply the facility’s state-of-the-art robotic systems. TEXT: HEIDI SCOTT PHOTOS: APOLLO TYRES, CIMCORP

New Apollo mission is on Renowned for its dynamism, Apollo sets incredibly high goals for itself. The c­ ompany is on course to achieve a turnover of 1.37 ­billion Euros next year, which means that it will have doubled its revenues in less than three years. This would be impressive in normal economic times but is quite staggering in the current global recession. In his keynote speech at the company’s recent AGM, Chairman Onkar S Kanwar announced that ­Apollo’s growth in the last financial year had been 10% in India and 6% worldwide, ­despite the challenges of oil and rubber prices at all-time highs and plummeting demand. Headquartered in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi, Apollo operates eight factories in India, South Africa, Zimbabwe and the Netherlands, employing over 10,000 staff worldwide. The company achieved a turnover of 754 million Euros for the financial year 2008–2009, with replacement tires being the bedrock of revenue (88%) but sales to OEMs also important (12%). The company’s products – which include tires for passenger cars, SUVs, MUVs, light trucks, trucks and buses, and agricultural, industrial and offroad vehicles, as well as retreading material, retreaded tires and alloy wheels – are exported

to over 70 countries around the globe. With the purchase of Dunlop Tyres International in South Africa in 2006 and Vredestein Banden BV in the Netherlands in 2009, Apollo added the Dunlop marque to its operations in 30 countries in Africa, as well as the Vredestein and Maloya names to its portfolio of brands, which already featured Apollo, Regal and Kaizen Tyres.

Brand-new plant Apollo is about to add a ninth factory to its asset base, with the construction of its greenfield facility in Sriperumbudur, just outside the Indian city of Chennai. Tires are expected to be rolling out of the new plant before the end of this year, with full production being reached next summer. At the Chennai plant, manufacturing capacity will be ramped up to 8,000 PCR (Passenger Car Radial) and 3,000 TBR (Truck and Bus Radial) tires per day. In line with its vision of achieving excellence in all areas of operation, Apollo is investing in robotic automation at the Chennai plant. The company has commissioned Cimcorp to install automation lines for the manufacture of both TBR and PCR tires, which will become operational later this year. Larsen

Cimcorp’s scope of supply to Apollo Tyres Ltd includes: • Systems integration • Linear transfer robots • TyrePick gantry robots • Monorail systems • Tire conveyors • Pallet conveyors • Manual trimming machines • Inspection machines • Warehouse control software • Installation and start-up

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& Toubro Limited (LTM Business Unit), which also has considerable experience in the tire industry, will assist Cimcorp in this project by providing local support. Larsen & Toubro will supply a portion of the contract from its Chennai plant and will also assist Cimcorp with the installation work. Cimcorp will be responsible for the total system integration, as well as the interfaces to the processing machines and Apollo’s host system.

Dream factory The TBR solution – which will be Cimcorp’s largest TBR project to date – is based on Cimcorp’s ‘dream factory’ concept, providing end-to-end logistics automation from the tirebuilding machines to storage of finished tires. Cimcorp’s robotic systems will handle the unloading of green tires from the tire-building machines, transfer to the painting area, the complete painting process, curing buffer storage, loading onto the curing presses, transfer to the finishing area and then the material flows of finished tires between the trimming, inspection, run out and X-ray machines, before sorting tires according to quality classes and tire types and sending them as full pallet loads to the warehouse. For the PCR production, Cimcorp will supply automation in the finishing area, including two tire buffer systems, and provide complete control of the material flow. The first buffer will receive finished tires from the visual inspection positions and sort them for feeding to the uniformity testing machines, after which the second buffer will sort tires according to quality classes and tire types, loading them directly onto stackable tire pallets.

Real-time control The material handling for both the TBR and PCR production will be controlled by Cimcorp’s Warehouse Control Software (WCS), which will manage the entire material and data

n course flow from the building machines to the warehouse. “Our proven robotic solutions for the tire industry and the capabilities of our WCS were the keys to securing this ­contract,” explains Markku Vesa, Managing Director of Cimcorp. “Apollo is very keen to take advantage of the real-time inventory features of WCS. The company’s management wants to know precisely which tire-building machine each tire comes from, which operator is running the machine, which curing press and which mold is used, who inspects the finished tire and the inspection results. This data management is based on the fact that Apollo will have barcodes in its tires. All this real-time production data from Cimcorp’s WCS will then be fed into Apollo’s SCADA and SAP systems,” continues Markku Vesa.

Clear benefits A key reason behind Apollo’s decision to invest in robotic solutions from Cimcorp was the potential to reduce costs and thereby increase profitability. “By streamlining our material and data flows, the logistics automation systems will allow process machines to be utilized at 100% capacity, thereby increasing the output of the manufacturing lines. Clearly, we expect this technology to have a positive effect on the bottom line of our business,” says Neeraj Kanwar, Vice Chaiman & Managing Director, Apollo Tyres Ltd. The ability to achieve total system inte­ gra­tion was another key factor for Apollo. “By subcontracting local sourcing and installation work to Larsen & Toubro, while retaining the role of main contractor, Cimcorp benefits from local market knowledge, yet ensures that Apollo receives a totally integrated solution, with maximum capacity and availability,” says Mr S. Venkataraman, General Manager of Larsen & Toubro Ltd’s LTM Business Unit,

Neerej Kanwar is a third-generation Apollo employee. His grandfather established the company in 1976. Pick | 17

Cimcorp’s dream was realized in 2008, with the birth of the “dream factory” i.e. logistics automation covering the whole tire plant. Now the dream factory has captured a new sector, since Cimcorp is currently supplying the first total dream factory system for the manufacture of truck and bus tires.

The dream factory captures new sectors In principle, the dream factory works in the manufacture of truck and bus tires (TBR) in the same way as for passenger car tires (PCR): robots handle the transfer of green tires and finished tires from building machines up to loading docks, and all the necessary steps in between. In the production of massive tires, however, the process cycles are longer and therefore production capacities are also smaller than in plants manufacturing passenger car tires. “The size of the products also places demands on the equipment to be used, and all the robots and conveyors of the dream factory are dimensioned in this application for larger loads. Through robotization, even large and heavy products move between the various

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stages and storage points smoothly,” says Kai Tuomisaari, sales manager at Cimcorp. Due to the weight of the products, the handling of truck and bus tires demands operating models that differ from PCR applications both in warehousing and transportation. Through automation however, handling can be done with the necessary gentleness, without sacrificing efficiency. “In the TBR application, green tires are not handled directly on conveyors; instead they are first lifted onto pallets developed specially for the transportation and storing of green tires. They remain on the pallet during transportation and storage, so that they don’t get damaged in transport or deformed,” says Tuomisaari.

Jaws stay closed The dream factory concept delivers clear bene­fits to the tire manufacturer in the field of product monitoring etc. Using bar codes and Cimcorp’s data management system enables the life cycle of each tire unit to be monitored stage by stage, so that for instance any nonconformances that may occur during the manufacturing process can be reacted to more quickly and accurately. “Most car plants consider product traceability as an important criterion in the selection of a tire manufacturer. When quality control is in order and the products are completely under control, better markets open up to the manufacturer,” says Tuomisaari. In addition to data management, the


Cimcorp WCS system (Warehouse Control Software) is an important part of the dream factory. The WCS, which controls material flow, has a perfect interface with the company’s business management system, e.g. SAP or ERP. “Each system is optimized according to the customer's specific needs. For example, the WCS has built-in parameters for TBR plants, which can be tailored in line with the customer’s requirements.” For the tire manufacturer it is essential that the overall service is available from one responsible supplier. And for Cimcorp, responsibility doesn’t end with the delivery of the system. “We also take care of the integration of the whole system and system interfaces with new and existing machinery and so on. We take responsibility for material handling from start to finish.” The capture of new sectors means that dreams can also come true in heavy-duty tire manufacturing, thanks to automation that facilitates operations and enables complete product control. “The dream factory improves the utilization rate and availability of the manufacturing system. We can guarantee that the jaws of the curing presses stay shut,” smiles Tuomisaari.

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Cimcorp’s new, more environment friendly and energy-efficient automation concept will make its debut at the beginning of the coming year. The robotic system that will cover all product groups step by step will be on display in Cologne in February. TEXT: TOTTI TOISKALLIO ILLUSTRATION: CIMCORP

The aim of the new concept is clear: more efficient and ecological robots are at the core. According to Lasse Salakari, product development manager at Cimcorp, the idea for this development trend was mainly a result of customer feedback. “In line with current trends, our customers need more energy-efficient solutions than before, and the new concept is the answer to these wishes. It’s a continuation of the demands that Cimcorp’s customers receive from their own customers.” The amount of energy consumed by the equipment to be launched in the winter is reduced for example by facilitating moving and braking, and by replacing pneumatics with a more cost-effective form of energy. “Compressed air is one of the most expensive forms of energy. In future production, electricity will replace pneumatics,” explains Salakari.

Performance enhanced by aluminum Manufacturing materials play a central role when assessing the properties that achieve low energy consumption. The principal material 20 | Pick

now used in place of steel is aluminum. “Aluminum weighs only about one third of the specific weight of steel, but nevertheless it is a really strong material. When the mass to be moved becomes lighter thanks to a change of material, considerable savings are achieved in energy consumption during opera­tion.” Aluminum also raises the performance of the equipment to a higher level: the new robots are at the cutting edge in terms of their speed and acceleration. With regard to sustainable development, aluminum works even better than steel. The third most abundant element on the planet is in principle an inexhaustible building material, easy to recycle and thanks to its lightness, it is more cost-effective to transport. In addition to moving over to aluminum, fewer compon­ ents will be used in the robots than earlier, translating into savings in materials and energy as early as the manufacturing stage.

Pioneer in energy reuse In its new concept, Cimcorp will introduce onto the market its innovative regenerative

The benefits of the system in a nutshell: • 40% lower energy consumption • 30% higher performance • steel replaced by aluminum • easy to use • minimal service requirement • pneumatics replaced by electricity • covering all robot product groups step by step

braking feature – the first robot manufacturer in the world to do so. “Just as often as motors accelerate, they also need to brake. The energy generated in braking would normally be turned into heat, but with this new technology it can be returned to the network and used again. The amount of energy fed back to the network is 30% of the amount used by the robot,” says Salakari. Special attention has been paid to the user friendliness of the equipment in the design of robotic systems. The fact that training on programming, operating and service can be completed in a single day illustrates the easiness of use of the future user interface. In addition to developing menus and functions, the smart interactive interface also offers concrete assistance in operating situations. “The new interface aims to help and advise the user for ­example by suggesting appropriate selections.”

The new concept will be on display at the Tire Technology Expo 2010 in Cologne, Germany on Feb 9–11, 2010.

Continuous sustainable development Sustainable development is the name of the game for Cimcorp, because environmental matters and their development are taken into account in every phase of production, and in every sector of corporate operations. Cimcorp’s product development is naturally the spearhead of environmental matters, where the material selection for the robots and measures to improve energy efficiency play an essential role. In addition to product development and the recycling of surplus material gener­ ated in production, strong emphasis is focused on ensuring the environment friendliness of the total process. “When selecting component sup­ pliers, their environmental actions are ­also assessed,” says Jouko Penttilä, production director at Cimcorp. In compliance with the ISO 14001: 2004 environmental system model,

Cimcorp is aiming at the continuous development of its environment program. New targets are set annually. “Our operations are measured and the bar is being raised for targets all the time. For example, one of our targets this year is to reduce the ratio of mixed waste to recyclable waste by at least ten percentage points.” However, this positive process is always initiated by the staff, and achieving the targets requires input from everyone. “Environmental matters are to a great extent a question of mindset, and changing attitudes is actually the most important thing in environmental work. Staff are given training, guidance and instructions as required, and every new recruit receives induction training on the corporate environmental practices,” says Penttilä. Pick | 21


Puzzles are a logical problem

Dodecahedron star.

The devil’s fist, the Siberian lock, the pigtails, the T-test, the bolt... These are a few of the traditional games of Finland, which have been crafted and solved through the long winter evenings in dark smoky cabins for entertainment. The human brain is designed for problem solving – so it is no wonder that brainteaser puzzles have appeared throughout history and all over the world. Matti Linkola has been collecting and making different puzzles all his life. He made his first wooden “devil’s fist” when he was a 10-yearold schoolboy. Currently, his collection of puzzles has grown to about five thousand individual items, 1 420 books on the subject, and shelves full of magazines, articles, ­patents, drawings and solutions. Matti has ­arranged at least 22 puzzle exhibitions where most of the exhibits have come from his own collection. The most recent one took place at the Museum of Central Finland this spring. His passion for collecting brainteaser puzzles was inspired by the articles written in the Scientific American by the mathemat­ ician and science writer, Martin Gardner. Through reading them, he found other foreign puzzle enthusiasts. At the same time this gave him the drive to go to international meetings about his hobby. “The first congress I attended was in the States in 1982. Now I have racked up 16 international puzzle conferences.”

Micropuzzles: the parts of the six-piece fist are 2.5 mm long, and the arrow 6 mm.

22 | Pick

But what Matti rates even higher than the cube is the devil’s fist, which has a long history in Finland. It is generally a three-dimensional puzzle made of six pieces, which requires dexterity, intelligence, and spatial orientation to solve. Moving one piece in the right direction will move another piece and in the end the whole problem will be solved. “The history of the devil’s fist is not completely clear, but probably people have

been putting them together for as long as small pieces of timber have been left over when building log cabins. There has always been some village idiot, carving and solving them in the dark winter days,” Matti laughs. Another well-known puzzle is the Siber­ ian Lock or meleda, which is said to originate in the Far East. According to Chinese folklore, the war hero Hung-Ming (181–234 AD) invented it to keep his wife busy during his long absences away at war. In China the puzzle is known as Ryou Kaik Tjyo. In Englishspeaking countries it is normally called the Chinese rings. The Chinese rings have also been known in Scandinavian countries for centuries. In Norway the puzzle was used as a trunk lock, which when made of iron was difficult to break and open. It probably arrived in Finland in the 1700s with prisoners returning from Siberia. The story goes that any prisoner who was able to solve the puzzle would be set free. Although this is not true, the Chinese rings

Japanese Kumiki puzzle.

Cast disc labyrinth.

But what gets a person interested in problems almost to the point of a full-time occupation? According to Matti, the explanation lies in the attraction of problem solving. “A new puzzle is always a challenge. When the Rubik’s cube first came onto the market, I spent the whole of the Christmas holidays trying to solve it. Even though the cube has 43 trillion permutations, according to the latest information it can be solved in only 21 moves from each position.”

The fist beats the cube

puzzle or Siberian lock is sure to have been one way to pass the time in many jails.

From artifact to the computer era The majority of new puzzles are designed on computer. For example, an almost infinite number of permutations for moving the devil’s fist can be added by computer. These problems can no longer be solved with the power of the human brain. But what is the sense in designing puzzles by computer that can only be solved by other computers? None what-

soever, in Matti Linkola’s opinion. “The most interesting thing is being able to solve a problem that has been developed by another human being. For example, when I was having a gall bladder operation, they X-rayed both me and an old puzzle box that could not be opened. The X-ray showed that the box contained magnets, which should have been put into place in the correct sequence before the box would open. In fact this problem has still not been solved.” Puzzle boxes have been developed over the centuries especially in China and Japan.

There are some chests of drawers for instance, in which a secret compartment only opens when the other drawers are in a certain position. One desk of this type, supposedly owned by the President of the United States, featured in the movie National Treasure starring Nicolas Cage. Truth or fiction? Entertaining in any case. “I have noticed at exhibitions that people find puzzles fascinating, but they can’t seem to find the time to solve them. This is a real pity, because solving puzzles develops precisely the characteristic that you need most in working life – patience, instead of constant rushing about.”

FPA (Finnish Puzzle Association) is an unofficial association of Finnish puzzle enthusiasts, which meets at least once a year. FARM (the Finnish Academy of Recreational Mathematics) was set up by some of its members according to a Japanese model. In their meetings they discuss different kinds of puzzles and other matters on the “lighter” side of mathematics. Matti hopes that both will get new enthusiastic puzzlers. • For further information, please visit:

Linkola’s own adaptation of the 12-piece ­Altekruse puzzle.

Puzzles large and small. Pick | 23

TEXT: Henri Alinen PHOTOS: Pekka agarth

– Playing with puzzles can become addictive! warns Matti Linkola with a twinkle in his eye.


Cimcorp’s customers are companies in the field of ­ production and ­distribution. The solutions provided by the ­company for the automation of logistics and p ­ roduction improve the profitability and ­competitive edge of their customers’ b ­ usiness. ­Solutions are based on advanced ­robot and software technologies and on highly developed service concepts.


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 International Trade Center, 6A Jianguomenwai Avenue, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100022 CHINA Phone +86 10 65630702 •

Toward greener performance Cimcorp’s new, even greener concept will be on display at Tire Technology Expo 2010 February 9–11, 2010 at Cologne, Germany

India Larsen & Toubro Limited, LTM Business Unit Mount-Poonamallee Road, Manapakkam, Post Bag No. 990, Chennai - 600 089, India Phone +91 44 2249 1932 • Japan Itochu Sanki Corporation Sanno Grand Bldg., 2-14-2 Nagata-Cho, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo 100-0014, JAPAN Phone +81 3 3506 3528 • Russia LLC International Representative House, First Link Dorogobuzhskaya Street 14, Building 1 121354 Moscow, Russia Phone +7 495 223 6839 • South Korea EKL Korea Corporation RM 305, Dongsun Bldg., #413-5 Jangan 1-dong, Dongdaemun-Ku, 130-843 Seoul, Rep. of Korea Phone +82 2 2242 2963 • USA Food&Beverage Industry: Logistics Connections 2407 Wimbledon Circle, Burlington NC 27215, USA Phone +1 773 295 1916 Others: Pesmel North America P.O. Box 289, Ashland, MA 01721, USA Phone +1 508 893 0850

Cimcorp Customer Magazine 2009/2  

MultiPick reshapes mail delivery • OUR EXPERTS OUT IN THE WORLD - On a business trip in Sriperumbudur • A comprehensive robotics system for...

Cimcorp Customer Magazine 2009/2  

MultiPick reshapes mail delivery • OUR EXPERTS OUT IN THE WORLD - On a business trip in Sriperumbudur • A comprehensive robotics system for...