Cimcorp customer magazine 1 | 2011
Kai Tuomisaari, Vice President, Sales and Marketing:
Greenfield or Brownfield? Cimcorp's Dream Factory fits both Bigger and better Cimcorp is strengthened by the acquisition of RMT Robotics MultiPick automates order picking of fresh produce at Eroski
In this issue: 3
PHOTO: SINI PENNANEN
How U.S. traceability legislation impacts food supply chain 4 Fresh developments at Spanish grocery giant Eroski
Cimcorp meets global traceability standards
COLUMN | sock tracking
Greenfield dreams are made of Brownfield expertise
RMT Robotic brings 30 years of robotic innovation to Cimcorp 17
22 4 17
PICK OF THE COLLECTORS | lauri vartiainen
A slot machine aficionado
OUR EXPERTS OUT IN THE WORLD
Journey through the world of project management PICK OF THE COLLECTORS | FROM THE GARBAGE HEAP TO STORE SHELVES
How U.S. traceability legislation impacts food supply chain RMT Robotics presents Robot Adam and its innovators Pick | Cimcorp customer magazine publisher | Cimcorp Oy, Satakunnantie 5, FI-28400 Ulvila, FINLAND phone +358 2 6775 111, fax +358 2 6775 200, email@example.com, www.cimcorp.com editor | Paula Ovaskainen, firstname.lastname@example.org translation | Pelc Southbank Languages editing and layout | Zeeland Turku Oy printed by Newprint Ltd subscriptions | email@example.com or phone +358 2 6775 111
2 | Pick
Global awareness The world is full of business magazines. The variety is huge. In my experience they are often regarded as just ads for the company, but in a nicer form than a leaflet. Naturally, it is unlikely that any company would participate in any political issue on their pages, but still the purpose is to say something other than just boasting about the company and its products. This is a funny situation since, in my experience again, customers and readers are people with above-average awareness of things that happen in the world in normal life. To be able to run your business you have to follow and understand what is happening in the world. The more aware PHOTO: TOMI GLAD
you are, the better. Also, our people have been very concerned at what has taken place in Japan, especially since after many years of hard work we were finally able to enter the difficult Japanese market in 2008. It has been a relief to know that our customers and partners in Japan have not been affected directly by the earthquake and the other consequences. Our thoughts are with the Japanese people. This catastrophe has again shown that
Markku Vesa President
along with the many opportunities that the world provides for its people, there are also many risks. Perhaps they are there so we can fully appreciate the good things that this world provides us with. From Japan to North America. The Cimcorp group has now had the opportunity to acquire RMT Robotics of Ontario, Canada. The recession is probably not over everywhere, and a new one could arise there at any time but for our business it looks like the worst is over and business is improving month by month. From North America back to Europe. In this issue we have many interesting stories about the solutions that Cimcorp is proud to have made, either to serve a local customer directly or through a local system integrator in a third country. I hope that you will take the time to learn about the solutions and the groupâ€™s offerings from these pages and enjoy the magazine.
Pick | 3
Text: Kathryn Olive Photos: Donald Ratliff, Shutterstock
An interview with Dr. H. Donald Ratliff, Georgia Tech Regents and UPS Professor and Research Director – Georgia Tech Integrated Food Chain Center
How U.S. traceability legislation impacts
food supply chain FDA Food Safety Modernization Act ushers in new requirements and responsibilities In December 2010, the United States Senate passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in response to a growing public concern about the integrity of both local and imported food supplies and the inability of officials to trace the sources of many tainted foods. As those involved in the food chain begin to examine the impact of the new legislation, one requirement in particular is striking: “The Secretary [is required] to establish a product tracing system to track and trace food that is in the United States or offered for import into the United States.” (FSMA δ 204 (c)) The regulations contained in the Act target both local suppliers and importers,
4 | Pick
and consequences for non-compliance are severe. According to Dr. Don Ratliff, Regents and UPS Professor and Research Director – Georgia Tech Integrated Food Chain Center, any organization involved in the importation, manufacturing, production, storage, transportation and sale of food needs to understand the consequences, requirements and cost of compliance of the bill.
Defining traceability in black and white The new Act will most likely mean an increased burden on the bar code. Every shipment will likely carry a bar code label that tracks at the case level where a product is produced and who produced it, as well as a unique lot number and content description. Ratliff believes that a logistically viable solution is a dynamic tracking scenario. When product is received, information regarding product type, lot number and the
name of the companies shipping and transporting the case can be captured with a bar code scanner. Similarly, upon shipment, information regarding product type, lot number, dispatch details and the name of the transportation supplier must be captured and recorded. This information is vital, Ratliff says, for meeting the new requirement of
For more information on the Food Safety Modernization Act, visit www.gop.gov/bill/111/2/hr2571senateamedment
A silver lining
From bread to strawberries, to cans of soup to bottled fruit drinks, every food product is different in terms of origin, ingredients, storage, transport and shelf life. Moreover, these products are referenced differently as they pass language, culture and brand barriers. The success of a track and trace system, however, relies on a standardization of these diverse product descriptions that can be translated into associated database codes. Now is the time to confront and find a solution to standardize product labeling, says Ratliff. Without a global set of standards, the challenge of developing and maintaining a centralized traceability database may well become insurmountable.
Ratliff predicts that, while there may be a significant cost burden on the food chain in order to ensure compliance with the new Act, there are some potential benefits to both consumers as well as suppliers. For consumers, the visibility and accountability in the food chain should result in enhanced food quality and freshness with less risk of contamination. Supermarkets, food retailers and food suppliers can all benefit from increased sell life of products, better order management, fewer rejected loads, less waste because of better handling and a quicker and more efficient way to identify where failure points occur. He emphasizes that, in order to receive the advantages of increased visibility, it is essential that the tracking data be standardized at the case level and that it be shared across the entire supply chain. While many procedures are yet to be specified, the law provides for pilot studies to be undertaken by industry groups and organÂ izations, like Georgia Techâ€™s Integrated Food Chain Center, to evaluate potential tracking systems and make recommendations. Ratliff advises that food suppliers around the world should become proactive in determining how to get ahead of the regulations by meeting best practices rather than waiting for mandates. Together, automation and standardization will make it easier for food and beverage suppliers worldwide to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act and benefit from all that comes from tighter control of inventory.
Real-time data capture and automation tracing the product one forward and one back in each point of the supply chain. In addition, manufacturers, distributors and importers will need to record processing, handling, storage and transportation details for internal record keeping. Fresh produce will only require straightforward traceback methods because the supply chain is reasonably linear, but food processors and cold chain operations will need more complex traceback methods.
The most practical way to handle the required volume of transactions is to automate the capture and upload of tracking data to an online database. A web-based system would allow FDA officials to manage recalls more efficiently while storing data securely. However, such a database does not currently exist, and there are many issues regarding who would be responsible for storage and management of the data, pricing, etc. that need to be resolved.
Pick | 5
Text: Heidi Scott Photos: Eroski and Ulma
Eroski, the Spanish grocery giant, has become the first supermarket chain in Spain to automate its order picking of fresh produce. The result is an award-winning distribution center in Madrid that has doubled the productivity of its available space.
developments With over 2,300 stores – including both branded and franchised hypermarkets, supermarkets, urban convenience stores, gas stations, cash and carry centers, sports stores, perfume shops and travel agencies – plus a growing e-commerce operation, Eroski is a major player in the Spanish retail market. Operating on a co-operative model, the group generates revenues of over EUR 8 billion and employs over 40,000 people. Naturally, the distribution servicing this network is key to Eroski’s continued success. Back in 2006 the company restructured its fresh produce distribution, centralizing its product flows in a 28,000m2 consolidation
6 | Pick
facility in Madrid, rather than ten regional distribution centers. This had the effect of reducing transport kilometers by 30% and product storage times from 1.2 to 0.3 days. Now Eroski has taken another leap in its logistics by automating the order picking of its fresh produce lines.
Three key objectives “The main objective driving this project was that we wanted to minimize our manual handling,” explains Imanol Alberdi, Logistics Director for Eroski’s Distribution Centers. “The negative ergonomic impact of such handling is something we want to avoid. In addition, we sought a solution that would allow flexibility in our distribution and, of course, that would reduce our handling costs. The system we have achieved,” continues Mr Alberdi, “is a perfect combination of all three of these elements, so we are delighted with the result.” Previously, sorting of goods arriving at the facility, buffer storage of produce and picking of orders were all carried out manually, with operators using ride-on pallet trucks and hand-held radio frequency terminals. With large volumes of crates being marshaled on pallets around the warehouse floor, the system was inefficient in terms of both space and labor. The new, automated system – installed last year through an innovative partnership of
Eroski, Euro Pool System and Ulma Hand- ling Systems – has completely transformed the Madrid facility. As Europe’s largest logistics service provider for returnable packaging, Euro Pool System engineered robust, foldable, food-grade crates that were suitable for automated handling. Logistics integrator, Ulma Handling Systems, designed the automated handling solution, appointing Cimcorp to supply the robotic order picking system.
Shuttle car system Now, a shuttle car system sorts the pallets of produce, automatically directing them to the buffer stock, the picking area or dispatch positions. Traveling at an impressive 200 meters
Automation of the order picking has reduced lead times and increased shelf lives.
per minute, the shuttle cars achieve a throughput of 336 pallets per hour. The shuttles – which operate at a temperature between 4 and 6˚C, although they could work down to -30˚C – can be maintained or repaired without the need to stop the system, and the number of cars can be adapted to suit throughput needs. The buffer stock is handled by a high-bay store served by three automatic stacker cranes. With a capacity of 800 pallets, the store sequences the supply of pallets to the order picking area and dispatch, maintaining strict inventory control. As well as optimizing the use of available space, the store is environmentally friendly, using regeneration techno logy to minimize power consumption.
Robotic picking system Key to minimizing manual handling at the site is the automatic order picking system, which has a handling capacity of 150,000 crates per day and is engineered for cold stores. Cimcorp’s MultiPick solution features two robots operating on an overhead gantry, enabling them to cover a large work area. Whereas 65% of goods in the Madrid facility are shipped as full loads, being transported by the shuttle cars directly to dispatch, some 35% are transferred to the regional distribution centers as mixed loads. Pallets of produce required for these mixed loads are delivered to the order picking area by the shuttle cars, where the robots retrieve the stacks
of crates and distribute them among specific customer locations directly on the floor. When a pallet load for a particular destination is ready, the robot deposits these crates on the outfeed conveyor, ready for collection by a shuttle car and transfer to dispatch.
Ergonomics and labor savings Automation of the order picking process has reduced lead times, a critical factor for products with limited shelf lives and stores requiring frequent deliveries. In addition, by operating on an overhead gantry, the MultiPick solution brings the benefit of a clear floor and therefore easy cleaning of the entire picking area, Pick | 7
Text: Kathryn olive ILLLUSTRATION: SHUTTERSTOCK
an essential hygiene requirement in food distribution. Other advantages include improved product quality through gentle, robotic handling and error-free orders through automated picking. Most important, however, has been the advantage of virtually eliminating manual handling. “The automatic picking system has replaced 300 tons of manual handling each day,” says Imanol Alberdi, “and the work of some 30 order picking staff is now completed by the automated equipment, supervised by just five operators.”
Increased flexibility Operations at the distribution center can also be adapted more easily to the demands of the various shops it serves. “Our warehouses prepare almost a million packages a day for over 1,200 stores in a constant struggle against time,” explains Mr Alberdi. “We ensure a guaranteed service and have to balance the needs of our shops with the handling risks to our warehouse staff. This is where automation brings added versatility. Our project in Madrid has acted as a pilot for a series of automated installations we are planning at our regional distribution centers, with the aim of eliminating the manual handling of fresh produce, as well as dry foods.”
Lower costs Along with minimizing manual handling and improving flexibility, cost reduction was another key objective for Eroski. Automation has secured not only ergonomic benefits but also labor savings. “After the first few months of adjustments,” says Mr Alberdi, “we can say that we will achieve savings of over 20% with this system, compared to the costs of our traditional methods.”
Logistics award The impressive results of the automation have not gone unnoticed. The project scooped the award for ‘Best Logistics Project’ from the Spanish logistics organization, Club de la Logistíca. The accolade was presented to Eroski, Euro Pool and Ulma in recognition of the efficiency of the automatic order picking – the key component of which is Cimcorp’s MultiPick robotic system – and the close collaboration between the three companies to realize this pioneering solution. “We were delighted to win this award,” admits Imanol Alberdi. “It’s an important external recognition of the work carried out and is very satisfying for the teams involved.”
8 | Pick
Meeting global traceability standards Cimcorp’s MultiPick system tracks product movement from warehouse to consumer without the additional investment required for barcode or RFID tracking As new track and trace legislation moves into the global food supply chain, manufacturers and distributors need traceability solutions to meet compliance challenges. Material handling automation is the key to effectively managing the workload and accuracy requirements. Cimcorp’s MultiPick fully automated robotic gantry with its advanced warehouse control system (WCS) ensures crate-level product traceability, from production all the way to the consumer. If there is a product recall, it is easy to trace shipments back to the source by accessing MultiPick’s securely stored tracking data tables. Here’s how it works – the MultiPick WCS integrates seamlessly with the WMS, providing real-time reporting on task status including goods receiving, buffering, picking, replenishment, order consolidation, palletizing, loading and dispatch. The Cimcorp order fulfillment software handles order management, and maintains all vital tracking data, including product and batch numbers, with total accuracy. MultiPick applications include pre-baked and fresh-baked wholesale bakeries, snack food operations, candy, manufacturing and ingredients distribution, and dairy operations.
For more information on Cimcorp’s MultiPick please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
COLUMN TONI LEHTO
Sock tracking RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) is a radio frequency tracking system, a type of product tracking memory. Initially, the application was developed for the military purposes, and as is often the case, it has spread from there to commercial use. Product tracking is considerably more reliable than human memory, which is showing its unpredictability right this minute, because I can no longer remember what I was supposed to be writing about. I have a vague recollection that it was something to do with an application that I was hoping could be developed on the basis of RFID. A product tracking system enables information to be traced from every stage of a process, from raw material batch to consumer tracking. This is particularly useful in identifying possible faults. Product faults have to be evaluated objectively, unlike in the case of humans. Of course people can locate the appearance and date of their faults with precision, but the problem comes with interpretation. In other words, the human being is a sensitive device when it comes to identifying faults, but not when it comes to acknowledging them. Thanks to complicated excuse machinery, attempts are made to show that the fault is something other than a fault, but if it is in some rare cases admitted as a screw-up, the blunder is explained as the multiplier effect of someone else’s mistake. It has been observed that people have different kinds of memory systems. The memory system of politicians, children, and criminals is selective and flimsy, whereas the memory of martyrs and those with a persecution complex is cohesive. The main rule is that memory is sharper than sharp when something good has happened, but dementia class for something bad. After all this I have remembered what I should have been writing about. Socks. Yes. Socks and the missed opportunity provided by RFID. Exactly. Why on earth haven’t sock manufacturers attached RFID tags to their products yet? At last we would know where all the odd socks have disappeared to; the location of that secret hidingILLUSTRATION: SHUTTERSTOCK
place of socks that science has still not managed to find despite its best efforts.
Pick | 9
TEXT: TOTTI TOISKALLIO PHOTOS:Jussi Partanen, Esa Kyyrö Illustration: Timo Kyyrö
Greenfield dreams are made of Brownfield expertise Cimcorp’s Dream Factory concept offers extensive logistics automation for tire manufacturers. The productivity enhancing concept can be applied to both greenfield and brownfield projects. With its Dream Factory concept, Cimcorp has gained a rightful reputation as the sole provider of high-quality end-to-end logistics automation for greenfield tire manufacturing plants. All along the way, the company has been installing several individual automation modules for brownfield projects as well. “The pragmatics used in creating the Dream Factory concept are a result of our long and ongoing history in logistics automation for brownfield projects,” says Kai Tuomisaari, Cimcorp’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. With full control of material flow, precise real-time data for production and inventory management, Dream Factory solutions have been proved – along with other enhancements – to reduce costs and raise effectiveness. “Reducing labor costs is often the main goal for manufacturers. But even in countries where the costs are relatively low and the
availability of a workforce is ensured, the flexibility and efficiency of our solutions have brought substantial advantages,” says Tuomisaari.
Thorough expertise The benefits of the Dream Factory concept are widespread. According to Tuomisaari, logistics automation has raised the bar even in cases where manually operated production lines have been thought to be as productive as possible. “Complete automation and material flow logistics improves the final output of the plant by increasing the capacity of the line and by improving tirequality. Expenses for this extra output derive solely from raw materials and everything else is just pure profit, making the return of investment apparent.” Cimcorp’s Dream Factory concept covers the whole logistics process of tire manufacturing from tire building to curing, finishing,
BrownField = Systems for existing production lines, buildings on an existing plot of land GreenField = Systems for new production lines, buildings on a newly developed plot of land
10 | Pick
Kai Tuomisaari, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Cimcorp
With Dream Factory, we can ensure that you achieve the maximum possible throughput of high-quality tires.
Pick | 11
1. Raw material and component processing
12 | Pick
2. Green tire processing
7. Shipping 6. Warehousing
Parts of Cimcorp's Dream Factory concept can also be easily fitted to existing automation systems.
warehousing, picking and dispatching. Automating material handling throughout the plant can optimize throughput, minimize buffer stocks and make dynamic use of available space. The whole logistics process is controlled with Cimcorp’s own WCS software, tracking every individual tire through the process. “The WCS system is a standard feature in all of our projects, from the smallest automation features to full-scale solutions,” says Tuomisaari. “In fact, the whole Dream Factory concept is adaptable. We have also successfully installed each part of the concept in brownfield plants.”
Adaptable modular structure Cimcorp’s expertise in building comprehensive logistics automation solutions relies on the company’s thorough and up to date knowledge of the tire manufacturing process. “Our know-how is obtained through years of working with automation in brownfield pro jects. Brownfield projects are one of the main areas of our business,” Tuomisaari says. Due to the Dream Factory concept’s modular structure, parts of it can be fitted
even to existing automation systems. As well as in the case of greenfield customers, those with only partial Dream factory automation have attained significant improvements for their operations. Feedback from clients worldwide has been extremely positive. “For example automated shipping has significantly reduced the time span between receiving an order and delivering the tires ordered. This results in a major competitive edge for both the manufacturer and the end client,” says Tuomisaari. “The same kind of benefits can be gained with other partial Dream Factory solutions as well.” While delivering plant-wide end-to-end solutions, Cimcorp has also invested in devel oping modular and more competitive robot cells for individual operation phases. As Tuomisaari points out, development is not a oneway street. “Our main task is to ensure our capability to serve clients with different aspirations, whether it’s green, brown, big or small,” says Tuomisaari. “The aim is to raise the overall efficiency and quality of our clients’ processes.”
Customer benefits Output is maximized by ensuring 100% availability of tires for all processing and testing machines. 100% tire traceability and process data management are ensured by highly effective control systems. Production flexibility is optimized through the ability to make tire type changes and new tire additions automatically at any time. Product quality is improved through gentle and accurate handling. Customer satisfaction is enhanced through error-free and fast robotic tire picking and shipping. Financial and space savings are achieved through reduced WIP (Work In Process).
Pick | 13
TEXTS: PAULA OVASKAINEN PHOTOS: FOTO-FRIITALA, SHUTTERSTOCK
Changes to Cimcorp management The management at Cimcorp Oy, the automation technology company, has been restructured by means of the following appointments, which came into force on January 12th 2011: Tero Peltomäki has been appointed Vice President, Operations, with responsibility for project management, engineering, procurement, technology develop ment, and manufacturing. He previously served the company as Vice President, Sales and Marketing. Kai Tuomisaari has been appointed Vice President, Sales and Marketing, responsible for project sales and marketing activities. He previously served the company as Sales Manager.
Cimcorp+ takes user interfaces to a new level The latest innovation by Cimcorp – the Cimcorp+ user interface – is unparalleled. The clear visual features of the touch screen interface and the interactive functions bring a whole new approach to robot cell control. The development work for the interactive and user-friendly interface was guided by feedback from the clients in addition to normal operating requirements. The new user interface (UI) is constructed to be easy to use. It is also able to guide the user in problematic situations. Ease of use not only makes work more convenient and smooth, but there are also other benefits: both user training and troubleshooting any disruptions takes less time than before. All the operations performed by robot cells can be controlled via the touch screen. The UI can be installed in all new Cimcorp+ systems using a robot controller and it can be adapted to a certain extent for older robots too.
Marjo Rimpelä has been appointed Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and her responsibilities will also be expanded to cover HR and IT functions. She previously served the company as Controller.
Ilpo Nummelin will continue in his current position as General Manager, Customer Support, with responsibility for project after-service activities.
These persons will constitute the company's management team together with the President. The President will also act as the CEO of the Cimcorp Group, which besides Cimcorp also includes RMT Robotics Ltd., a Canadian subsidiary. The Chief Financial Officer will also serve as Group CFO. 14 | Pick
Thank you and welcome! Thank you to all those who found time to visit our booth at Tire Technology Expo 2011 and see you again next year. See also our exhibition calendar on the back cover.
Sibur Russian Tires
invests in Cimcorp's Dream Factory Sibur, a significant Russian tire manufacturer, has commissioned Cimcorp to provide the turnkey delivery of a new material handling solution for truck tires. The system is due to become operational in 2011.
The project will be realized at Sibur's Yaroslavl plant and is based on Cimcorp's Dream Factory solution, which ensures 100% availability of tires for all processing and testing machines. The multimillion euro order consists of all automation equipment and software for total control of the material flow from the tire-building area to the testing area, including robots for unloading tire-building machines, conveyors for green tires from tirebuilding to weighing and spraying stations, green tire buffers, electric monorail systems for loading curing presses, as well as the conveyor from the press area to the finishing area located in another building and on the
second floor. For the testing area Cimcorp will supply manual trimming and inspection machines as well as finished tire buffers. The total material flow will be controlled by the Cimcorp WCS control system, which integrates all robots, conveyors, and machines into a seamlessly working system. This enables tire data management and tracking as well as 100% green tire availability at the curing presses. Cimcorp's Dream Factory concept is proven technology and applied in dozens of greenfield and brownfield installations around the world. Through this investment Sibur wishes to increase productivity and improve product quality.
Pick | 15
Text: Lori Vaughan Photo: Jeff Hardy
In July of 2010, Cimcorp acquired the Canadian company, RMT Robotics Ltd., What is the situation now 9 months after the acquisition? What are the benefits of the transaction for the business and our customers? Markku Vesa and Doug Pickard answer these questions and more in the following story.
Competitive edge • Customers expect that they will get the benefit of broad experience that will supply choice, reduce costs, and increase both reliability and performance. The acquisition doubles the experience that each group has access to. • Customers expect that their automation supplier will be able to handle a wide variation in demand and will have the capacity to match the customer’s schedule. The acquisition provides the opportunity to load balance during especially busy periods.
“Cimcorp now has a wealth of competitive tools for sustainable long-term growth,” says Doug Pickard, President, RMT Robotics Ltd (left). “The merger has expanded our range of solutions, enhanced our engineering expertise and extended our market reach,” continues Markku Vesa, President, Cimcorp Oy.
What were the deciding factors driving the decision to switch from competing to collaborating? “Staying competitive is the fundamental challenge for any company and keeping our competitive edge is at the forefront of the decision to expand and improve upon our existing footprint in the market. We at Cimcorp and RMT could see an opportunity to improve our competitive edge through the acquisition of RMT by combining our efforts,” says Markku Vesa, President of
16 | Pick
Cimcorp Oy. He lists the key points to support his view. • Markets are now global and customers want to be serviced and serviced properly by a single entity around the globe. The acquisition expands the geographical areas that can be serviced by the group. • Customers are extremely cost conscious and they expect to be serviced at a fair and competitive price wherever they set up shop. The acquisition provides purchasing power by allowing both companies to gain access to the other’s suppliers, providing the most cost effective solution.
Doug Pickard, President of RMT, looks at the competitive edge from the technology point of view. Each of the companies has 30 years of experience in similar industries but seeing things through a different set of eyes. By pulling back the curtain and allowing our technical people to exchange experiences, we have gained insights and knowledge that each of the companies independently would not have gained. This is truly a case of 1+1>2 and has energized the design teams to push the envelope further and further in areas such as: • Energy conservation, reliability, and endurance because the systems we build operate mostly on a 24/7 basis • Tooling and gantry constructions to reduce costs, add flexibility, and improve speed, weight carrying capacity and dimensional choice • Controls and software approaches to improve uptime and recoverability while reducing start-up and commissioning costs • Man Machine Interfaces to provide multilingual capability on a single interface plus many others Changes will take time but the acquisition has spurred many technical innovations that will be introduced as they are proven.
Text: Kathryn Olive Photos: Jeff Hardy, Lori Vaughan
What is the company’s focus today? The combined company brings together experience in material handling and automation across a wide variety of industrial applications. Doug summarizes the accumulated knowledge of the group which is now focused on 3 areas: • Green & Finished Tire Handling for the Global Tire Industry. This represents a wide variety of proven solutions for any tire handling application within the industry, including the Dream Factory concept which has become a reality in more factories around the world. • Advanced Order Fulfillment Systems with related software and controls for Crate and Case Picking for the Warehouse and Distribution Markets. The primary industry to benefit from this is Food and Beverage but the distribution market is very broad and includes areas as diverse as drugs to electronics. • Mobile Robots for the industrial market to automate transport logistics in applications where the movement between any 2 points is too infrequent or where the variety of possible destinations is too high to justify fixed automation or where the frequency of moving obstructions is too high for less intelligent automation to deal with.
RMT Robotic brings 30 years of robotic innovation to Cimcorp In July 2010, Cimcorp acquired Canadian-based RMT Robotics. As one of the world’s most advanced gantry and autonomous mobile robot companies, RMT Robotics brings over 30 years of robotic innovation, strengthening the Cimcorp portfolio in North America.
How do Cimcorp and RMT see the future? All of our chosen focus markets deal with an incredible diversity of SKU’s and situations that require automation to be very flexible and fully data driven. This trend will continue and gain momentum in the future as the requirement for product traceability and accountability gets stronger. “It seems to be obvious that in spite of these ever increasing requirements, the cost of manufacturing and order fulfillment remains the No. 1 priority for our customers. In a situation where the pressure is coming from two sides: lower cost and higher quality, automation is a viable choice for our customers to meet both of these needs at the same time,” says Markku. He continues that the No. 1 priority for us is to be able to create and supply concepts, solutions and products that give our customers the ROI that they require to invest in our technology. We believe that our experience and excitement to drive the technology forward will lead us to satisfying this priority.
Pick | 17
Humble beginnings RMT Robotics has its roots deep in innovation and an entrepreneurial spirit. Growing from a humble startup located in a residential townhouse to its current 50,000-square-foot engineering and manufacturing facility just outside of Niagara Falls, the friendly hockeyloving group operates as an engineering and applications incubator that lives and breathes robotics innovation and excellence. Launched in 1981 in St. Catharine’s, ON, the company began with founders Doug Pickard, Richard Baumann and David Wilmshurst. Working together at General Motors, these entrepreneurs realized that their knowledge of robotics and their application could be applied to other industries and decided to venture out on their own. The startup crew chose the name RMT, shorthand for “Robotics and Manufacturing Technology.” Initially occupying the third bedroom of
a townhouse that two of the founders shared, the company not only faced the credibility challenge of working from home, but fought skepticism that the fledging robotics industry, flush with participants and plagued with technical limitations, could deliver products and solutions that could reliably automate timetested manual production methods. “Reflecting on our early days of robotics, RMT recognized that we had quite an uphill battle, but we knew that persistence and continuous innovation was the only way to blaze the paths of acceptance we enjoy today,” said Doug Pickard, the President of RMT Robotics. “Today, robots are part of the fabric of the modern manufacturing and warehousing environment.”
Robotic gantry pioneers The legacy of RMT Robotics as an innovator and robotics pioneer was forged in its devel-
opment of large and fast gantry style robots for case handling and palletizing operations. While most robotics companies developed pedestal and scara-type robots, RMT fashioned a unique materials handling gantry robot design. True to their focus, over the decades RMT has evolved the gantry systems from small and slow to goliath proportions; today’s high volume high-speed gantries can individually span up to 2,000 sqm of floor space and accelerate to speeds of 5m per second.
Making the move to mobile robots: meet ADAM RMT is also a pioneer in the field of mobile robotics. In 2005 the company launched one of the world’s first autonomous mobile robots, which they named ADAM™. ADAM was originally sold as an innovative press delivery solution for the global tire industry de-
What is important to RMT and what makes it unique? Doug Pickard, President of RMT: “RMT has prioritized focused innovation, an entrepreneurial spirit and an unwavering commitment to the success of their clients and solutions. With these qualities guiding their work, RMT has a leading edge as they push the envelope of technology and its application. The company personnel are self-confessed robot nuts who share a love of innovation.”
18 | Pick
Derek Rickard, Distribution Systems Manager: “Our goal is to solve customer’s material handling challenges. We have the innovative ability to develop robotic systems that not only meet these challenges but oftentimes exceeds their return on investment expectations.”
signed to replace the manual process of green tire transport by offering a fully automated, just-in-time connection between work-inprocess tire storage and automated curing presses. ADAM rapidly earned a r eputation for durability, reliability and operational efficiency in this dynamically changing and environmentally harsh operation. ADAM delivered on the promise of labor savings and the added value of delivering Lean manufacturing benefits such as reduced work-in-process inventory, electronic product tracking, error elimination and improved final product quality. “We saw the success of ADAM in the tire industry, and knew that other applications could see the same results,” said Pickard. “Our commitment to the success of our clients and our solutions always comes first, and we push the envelope of technology and its application with the sole purpose of elimi-
Luis Graca, Applications Engineering: “We gravitate toward areas of technology opportunity because we know competitors can’t. We are analytical and study our customer situation to have a deep understanding.”
nating inefficiencies and increasing ROI.” Today, ADAM is designed for broader applications, including lean assembly, kitting operations, electronics and solar power manufacturing, leading the way in industrial applications.
Global growth From its startup crew of three, the company has grown to a staff of over 70, including a highly-skilled cross section of technical sales and marketing professionals, engineers, pro ject managers and customer service and support technicians. “RMT Robotics will continue to grow by offering innovative and best-in-class material handling solutions for a targeted set of applications,” Pickard says. “We will continue to innovate by applying state-of-the-art robotics to the mission-critical task of order picking for warehouse distribution systems
Rick Trigatti, Operations Manager “The business is not capital-intense or tied to fixed production lines. The Grimsby facility can easily be reconfigured because the team is not tied to fixed assets and aren’t risk-adverse when looking at embracing new technologies.”
where pick accuracy, reliability and cost effectiveness are paramount.” In 2010, former rival Cimcorp Oy acquired RMT Robotics. Today, the newly merged entity offers fully integrated case picking and order fulfillment solutions, tirehandling systems, specialized robotic gantry technology and the ADAM mobile robots. Together with Cimcorp, the group is positioned for growth globally throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. “Cimcorp has embraced the innovative spirit of RMT Robotics,” concludes Pickard. “We are in an excellent position to ensure that our solutions are the most efficient and productive in the market to help our customers compete in increasingly aggressive and price-sensitive global markets.”
Harold Schulz, Human Resources Manager “The corporate culture allows us to retain employees, as it is very fair, authentic and credible. We have a good reputation with both our internal stakeholders and our clients as a company that stays the course.” Pick | 19
TeXT: TOTTI TOISKALLIO PHOTOS: CIMCORP, JUSSI PARTANEN
Journey of proje #001 The Deal
OUR EXPERTS OUT IN THE WORLD
Cimcorp’s project manager Markku Setälä’s job has taken him almost around the world. In addition to projects in Markku’s homeland, Finland, he has been travelling to Sweden, Denmark, UK, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Hungary and Australia – among many others – to ensure automating processes are carried out professionally from start to finish. With Markku, we too can travel through the world of project management in the Cimcorp way. 20 | Pick
Every project starts from signatures. After closing a deal with a client, Markku starts negotiations with subcontractors. Cimcorp’s experience and history in the business have resulted in a variety of acknowledged subcontractors, from which the most suitable for the project at hand are usually cherrypicked. Defining the responsibilities of everyone involved gives a clear view about what’s to be done – and by whom. Like the Finnish proverb states: “well planned is half finished.” Thorough planning is indeed one of the cornerstones of Cimcorp’s project management. Predicting and timetabling all of the phases of the project beforehand, including those of subcontractors, results in quicker reacting to possible anom alies. It also helps negotiations between the client, Cimcorp, and the subcontractors.
Among other tasks, Markku’s job is to supervise and track the project’s progress. Keeping himself constantly up-to-date with the current status of the project and communicating with the end client on a weekly basis, Markku
y through the world ect management metaphorically steers the ship towards its destination. Negotiations and agreements, even with the parties Cimcorp has no contracts with, ensure smooth progress. As the automation system ordered is completed, it goes through factory acceptance tests. Defined sectors of the entire system are tested at both Cimcorp’s and the main subcontractors’ premises, to guarantee that every part of the system passes Cimcorp’s strict quality requirements.
Packing and transportation of the components are done according to precise timetables. The state of the project at the construction site dictates when the components need to be delivered. Even the exact hour of the arrival of the “package” can be defined.
#004 Installation and commissioning
The appointed installation director supervises construction site and installation at the client’s premises, while software engineers are responsible for the start-up. As the project
manager, Markku coordinates the process and when needed, acts as a problem solver. Commissioning encompasses all the activities required to take a plant from mechanical completion into operation. In order to get this to happen safely, professionally and in an optimum time, it requires meticulous planning, detailed technical knowledge and experience – yet another field of Markku’s expertise.
skilled work, thorough testing and documenta- tion naturally leads to acceptance. While Markku’s role in the process usually ends at the point where the automation system is delivered, installed, commissioned and accepted, Cimcorp still plays its part. Offering full support for the systems installed, including the Warehouse Control Software WCS, Cimcorp can guarantee its clients the smooth flow of automated operations.
#005 Integration tests and acceptance
During integration testing, Markku makes sure that the entire project is carried out as planned – including the parts where subcontractors have been involved. Integration consists of several different tests done during the project, factory acceptance tests and the final test run after the automation system is installed. With Cimcorp’s experience and expertise, components from Cimcorp and different subcontractors are integrated to form a wellfunctioning, reliable automation system, meeting the client’s unique demands. Together with high-quality technical solutions and Pick | 21
TEXT: ANNA KORPI-KYYNY • PHOTOS: SINI PENNANEN
PICK OF THE COLLECTORS
Slot machine aficionado
gives payazzo and gum-vending machines a new lease of life How does it sound to transport slot machines from England to Finland by truck? That’s just part of normal everyday life for collector Lauri Vartiainen. This is a man who has filled his life with coin-drop “payazzos,” gum-vending machines, pinball machines, wall-mounted arcade games, and jukeboxes. There is even space in the collection for a few parking meters. Vartiainen collects all kinds of coin-operated mechanical vending and slot machines. He admits that stamp collecting would certainly be easier than hoarding the heavy and bulky gambling machines. The mailing of heavy slot machines is not cheap, so every now and then the collector has to go abroad in a van to pick up new treasures. He has picked up Finnish coin-flicking payazzo machines from as far afield as Oslo, Norway. Machines exported from Finland often end up being brought back by amateurs to their country of origin. “Hunting down slot machines is an important and interesting part of the hobby.” Vartiainen bought his first slot machine
22 | Pick
in the 90s. At the moment his collection numbers 100 different kinds of coin-operated machines. Jukeboxes are the most prized items in the collection for those collectors who never tire of American culture. “My aim is one day to put all the jukeboxes I have collected in chronological order, which would also showcase the historical development of the jukebox from the music box to the modern CD player.”
The fascinating history of outlawed slot machines
The collector himself has little interest in playing games, but is more interested in the history of the machines. “There are few other
collectibles that have such a fascinating his tory.” Vartiainen says that from the outset coinoperated slot machines were very popular among ordinary people, but were controversial from the legislators’ point of view. According to Vartiainen, slot machines have always been persecuted and disapproved of, and a variety of anti-gambling laws have been introduced to try to regulate their use. However, effective attempts have been made to circumvent the legislation by disguising the equipment as vending machines. “Extra side vending columns were installed in one-armed bandits to drop mint candies or chewing gum every time the game was played. Even today the fruit symbols in slot machines are a legacy of this.”
America is the undisputed leading country in the history of slot machines. U.S. gaming culture flourished thanks to the inventors emigrating from Central Europe, who were responsible to a large extent for developing the machines. Slot machines came to Finland in the 1920s. At that time, rudimentary wallmounted games were also manufactured and slot machines could even be found in parks attached to trees! Finnish payazzos are also the most valuable machines in Vartiainen’s collection. One of them is a payazzo dating back to 1931, and another is a 50-penny slot machine from the 1970s. According to Vartiainen, the monetary value of the 70s payazzo is about 3,500 euros. Nevertheless Vartiainen does not believe this is a particularly expensive hobby, since you can get the most reasonably priced slot machines for only a few hundred euros. But how much has Vartiainen himself spent on the hobby?
“It must be in the tens of thousands of euros, but less than 100,000,” he says. But is the collecting under control? “I promised myself that I wouldn’t buy any new machines until some old machines have been restored. Sometimes, however, I still succumb when a good machine comes on the market at a reasonable price,” he admits.
“A slot machine has a soul” “Not only are slot machines aesthetically pleasing, but they are also functional. Restoring slot machines and vending machines is an important aspect of collecting,” says Vartiainen, who has worked in product development. The older the machine, the more interesting it is to its collector. “The old mechanical machines dating back to the 1960s and earlier work on much the same technical basis and are also easier to repair. You can even make parts for them yourself. And you can find maintenance manuals from America for almost every machine,” he says.
“These machines have a soul. In the eyes of collectors they are almost like living creatures,” Vartiainen explains. He gives an example of an old vending machine that sold chocolate bars, which is being polished and restored to its former glory as a working dispenser. The joy of reviving a chocolate bar dispenser can only really be understood by another collector. “Fellow collectors can provide a lot of tips on how to complete your collection,” says Vartiainen in passing. The comprehensive collection of collectibles will not be left to gather dust, as Vartiainen and his friend Markku Hakola have recently opened the Nokkakivi funfair, near Jyväskylä. In addition to a full range of fairground rides, Nokkakivi is home to the only slot machine museum in Finland, containing Vartiainen’s collection, and is full of nostalgia. All the arcade games and slot machines there are for everybody to play on. “We want to share the joy,” Vartiainen explains. Pick | 23
See you at the exhibition! IDFA's International Dairy Show September 19–21, 2011 Atlanta, GA, USA At the expo, we will be showcasing our MultiPick concept, which optimizes dairy distribution operations. Please visit RMT Robotics' booth 1831! • www.dairyshow.com
CIMCORP IN A NUTSHELL
Automation technology company Cimcorp supplies robotic solutions for managing material flows in production and distribution environments. Cimcorp’s purpose-built systems, software and services improve the profitability and competitiveness of its customers’ businesses. The Cimcorp group – which consists of Cimcorp Oy in Finland and RMT Robotics Ltd in Canada – has become a leading supplier worldwide to the tire industry, and is also strong as a supplier to the food & beverage and postal services sectors. The group has 230 employees and has delivered almost 2.000 robotic systems across five continents.
PostExpo September 27–29, 2011 Stuttgart, Germany We will be presenting how the innovative MultiPick system can facilitate mail sorting at the specialist fair for the postal industry. Welcome to our booth 6026! • www.postexpo.com
RubberTech China 2011 November 22–24, 2011 Shanghai, China We will be presenting our Dream Factory concept for the greenfield and brownfield projects of the tire industry. • www.rubbertech.com.cn
Satakunnantie 5, FI-28400 Ulvila, FINLAND phone +358 2 6775 111, fax +358 2 6775 200 email@example.com, www.cimcorp.com North America RMT Robotics Ltd. (a Cimcorp Oy company) 635 South Service Road Grimsby, Ontario, Canada L3M 4E8 phone +1 905.643.9700, firstname.lastname@example.org www.rmtrobotics.com Brazil, Parana M2 Concepts Solucoes Empresariais LTDA phone + 55 41 32052937, email@example.com China, Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, Matromatic Technologies (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. phone +86 512 67533255, www.mae.cn India, Chennai Larsen & Toubro Limited, LTM Business Unit phone +91 44 2249 1932, www.larsentoubro.com Japan, Tokyo Itochu Machine-Technos Corporation phone +81 3 3506 3528, www.itcmt.co.jp Russia, Moscow LLC International Representative House, First Link phone +7 495 223 6839, firstname.lastname@example.org www.1-link.eu South Korea, Seoul EKL Korea Corporation phone +82 2 2242 2963, email@example.com www.ekl.co.kr United Kingdom, Devizes Logistics Planning Ltd phone + 44 (0)5601 482815, firstname.lastname@example.org www.logisticsplanning.co.uk
Kai Tuomisaari, Vice President, Sales and Marketing: Greenfield or Brownfield? Cimcorp's Dream Factory fits both • Bigger and better - Cimco...