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Cimcorp customer magazine 1 | 2013

Francisco Lopez, MERCADONA:

Speed, accuracy & return oN investment The Spanish grocery giant improves its efficiency with Cimcorp automation

Cimcorp 3D ShuttleÂŽ

Sweden´s postal operator:

Innovation through customer-driven product development

Latest technology to boost eco-friendly efficiency

In this issue: EDITORIAL | Effective operation through continuous product development



Cimcorp 3D Shuttle®

Researcher Mika Aaltonen sees the future from a different angle


Mercadona improves efficiency with Cimcorp automation


Creative problem solving leads to novel innovations.

At the heart of the wine and flamenco country Cimcorp WCS for complete control COLUMN | NEED FOR SPEED

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New facilities of Sweden’s postal operator, Posten Meddelande, use the latest technology 14 Customer-driven product development results in Cimcorp 3D Shuttle® 18 HORIZON 21 PICK OF THE COLLECTORS | Software specialist's special skill




In search of the perfect moment – and capturing it.


The Spanish Grocery Giant Mercadona:

Optimum product freshness through minimal handling time.

Pick | Cimcorp customer magazine publisher | Cimcorp Oy, Satakunnantie 5, FI-28400 Ulvila, FINLAND phone +358 10 2772 000, fax +358 10 2772 200,, editor | Paula Ovaskainen, translation | Pelc Southbank Languages editing and layout | Zeeland printed by Paino-Kaarina subscriptions | or phone +358 10 2772 000

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Effective operation through continuous product development Smartness seems to be the current trend, not only in automation but also – and especially – in consumer products. Everyday appliances are offering more sophisticated functionality through software-based solutions. As a result of this change, the emphasis of product development has changed radically during the years at Cimcorp, too. Not forgetting our strong mechanical and electrical engineering, the importance of the ‘software side’ has been duly noted. Our latest product launch, the Cimcorp 3D Shuttle®, represents a new,


intelligent generation of robots, and it has been well received by our customers. I’m sure that most of us have noticed a huge difference in usability among different devices in our everyday life: some are very logical and easy to use, while others can be quite complicated. We at Cimcorp have realized that there is also room for improvement in our own user interfaces. After all, although our products are very technical, we don’t expect the operators to be engineers! A long time ago, as a young project engineer at Cimcorp, I watched an operator working with one of my first user interfaces, designed for the CIMCUT wind-

Jyrki Anttonen Technology director

screen cutting and grinding line. I had thought that the user interface would be very easy to use, but I soon realized that the operator was struggling with certain things. For me, getting direct feedback from the operator was very educative. I made improvements accordingly and soon everyone was happy. Direct feedback from actual users is the best and most important source of information when planning the direction we should be heading in with Cimcorp user interfaces. So please, keep on giving feedback to our people whenever you feel like it, whether it is negative, positive or even neutral. I hope you had a chance to have a look at the user interface of our Cimcorp 3D Shuttle® at LogiMAT in Stuttgart or at IMHX in Birmingham earlier this year. With the development of the Plus series robots, we have also moved towards more productized software with our cell controller. I believe this enables us to concentrate more on the user interface, which in turn benefits our customers through more effective operation.

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Text: SARI LOMMERSE Photo: sini pennanen

The thoughts of futurist Mika Aaltonen have been heard by leaders of major corporations and he has acted as advisor to governments in many countries. Before starting his career in research, Aaltonen played soccer professionally in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Israel.

In his new book, futurist Mika Aaltonen, together with Rolf Jensen, presents his views of the restructuring of Western society. If the theory is correct, in the future we will have a completely different way of organizing ourselves and millions of one-man factories.

According to researchers, there are a number of reasons for the need for change. Western societies need to be reorganized if they want to maintain some kind of welfare society. The current structure is unsustainable, both economically and environmentally. “The public sector’s share of GDP has increased steadily over the last 140 years. Depending on the country, it is on a level of about 10 percent to 50 percent. The problem with this trend is that the budgets of most countries have been in deficit for many years,” says Mika Aaltonen, Research Director of Aalto University. “On the other hand, the way we live and consume is also unsustainable. For example, last year we had used all the resources 4 | Pick

Researcher Mika Aaltonen sees the future from a different angle

Renaissance II scraps hierarchy allocated for the year by August 22. At the end of the year we were living “on credit” using our children’s and grandchildren’s natural resources,” he continues. Dr. Aaltonen is one of Finland’s most internationally renowned thinkers and futurists. He and his Danish colleague Rolf Jensen reflected on changes in society in their book The Renaissance Society, published in New York on May 3rd. A publishing contract was also signed with South Korea. According to the researchers, we are facing a phase of restructuring society on a par with the Renaissance in terms of impact.

Horizontal dialogue “Although people are freer and more educated than they were in the first Renaissance 600

years ago, our corporations and society are still organized from the top down,” Aaltonen notes. Change is furthered by a change in values: trust in the establishment and leaders of large corporations has decreased. The globalization of production is moving jobs from west to east, and the Western governments are seen as powerless because they are unable to prevent the loss of jobs. The unusually long economic crisis has exacerbated the general uncertainty. We do not trust governments and big businesses to improve the situation. According to an American study, in the 1960s three out of four people trusted the traditional authorities. Now the figure has dropped to one in four. “Research shows that trust in the establishment has eroded. At the same time, the

Although people are freer and more educated than they were in the first Renaissance 600 years ago, our corporations and society are still organized from the top down.

desire to network with the same kind of people as ourselves has increased. We believe in those who are like us. This creates a horizontal dialogue, which is very different from the traditional vertical top-down model. The dialogue is supported by the Internet and social media.” According to the researchers, companies and governments must be involved in horizontal dialogue, because that is where the information that they need in their operations is flowing. They should be involved in a more democratic, horizontal dialogue, so that they can understand what people think and want. Dr. Aaltonen gives an example of the power of social media. “The Arab Spring and the rise of the current new biggest political party in Italy

are based on horizontal dialogue. Companies need to think seriously about their own business management principles and their way of being involved in this society. It means, for example, a lower hierarchy,” he suggests.

The third industrial revolution In the new model, manufacturing practices will also change. “Within ten years, the 3D printer will transfer production from huge conveyor belts to one-man factories, of which there will be millions.” Dr. Aaltonen describes the change as the third industrial revolution. “First came factories, secondly, production lines, and now the third will be one-man factories.” Dr Aaltonen does not consider that the second Renaissance was a revolution,

but simply a new way of organizing society. It is the result of combining our dreams with technology. “During the Renaissance, people were liberated from a strict religious way of looking at the world, and the impacts were tremendous. Equivalent consequences will be created if we give up an industrial vertical leadership style. This will give rise to a more diverse society, which allows people to pursue their dreams and be happier.” GET INSPIRED BY ted talks: Erik Brynjolfsson: The key to growth? Race with the machines! Pick | 5

Supermarket giant invests for further growth The leading Spanish supermarket group, Mercadona, is investing in a fully automated order picking system from Cimcorp at its new distribution center in Guadix. Text: heidi scott Photos: arto helin, shutterstock

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Flying in the face of very tough economic conditions on the Iberian peninsula, Mercadona continues to go from strength to strength. In 2012, the retailer increased its turnover by 7% to over 19,000 million euros, recorded a net profit of 508 million euros, created 4,000 new jobs and opened 60 new stores. Its 1,418 supermarkets now represent 13.8% of Spain’s grocery retail footprint, serving more than 4.7 million households. These stores are served by a network of ten distribution centers (DCs), with two more under construction – in Guadix (Grenada) and Abrera (Barcelona) – in order to handle further growth.

Freshness is key The new Guadix DC, which will serve 82 stores and is due to open in July, will feature a robotic system from Cimcorp for order picking of full crates of fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as meat products. This will be, in effect, an ‘island’ of automation, albeit fully

integrated with the surrounding manual operations. Product quality is a key reason behind Mercadona’s decision to implement a robotic picking solution in the Guadix DC. Francisco Lopez, Head of Logistics and Purchasing (Fruit and Vegetables), explains: “The automated solution improves efficiency and picking accuracy, bringing benefits to our customers in terms of product freshness and availability on the shelves.” In Mercadona’s corporate model, the satisfaction of its customers is paramount, with the consumer referred to as ‘el jefe’ (the boss). “Our slogan is ‘Always Low Prices’,” says Francisco Lopez, “but that does not mean that we compromise on quality. In fact, for many years our philosophy has been: ‘quality doesn’t have to be more expensive’. When it comes to fresh produce and chilled foods,” continues Señor Lopez, “a key element of quality is freshness. That’s where supply chain efficiency comes in.” Francisco Lopez believes that

Francisco Lopez, Head of Logistics and Purchasing, MERCADONA:

When it comes to fresh produce and chilled foods, a key element of quality is freshness. That’s where supply chain efficiency comes in.

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Mercadona must remain able to reinvent itself in order to continue to succeed. “The only constant is change,” he says. “One of the main challenges facing the company today is how we deal with the realization that we cannot handle fresh produce in the same way as dry produce. Perishable food has to be treated differently in the handling process – from the field to the shelf – in order to guarantee its freshness. This requires fundamental change to our supply chain. The new robotic systems we are implementing guarantee minimal handling time and therefore optimum product freshness,” he continues. “Our new fresh produce preparation line and picking system will allow us to prepare all orders ready for delivery in just six hours. The speed, simplicity and return on investment of the Cimcorp solution were the deciding factors for us. Of course, accuracy is fundamental too – we need to have the complete order, with no errors, delivered to each store before it opens in the morning.”

Robots to take the strain The new Guadix DC will feature various zones – one for dry products; two for refrigerated products, at temperatures of 3ºC and 12ºC; 8 | Pick

one for frozen products at -23ºC; and a production area for bread, producing some 8,000 loaves per hour. Cimcorp robots will automate the picking of full crates of fresh fruit, vegetables and meat products in the refrigerated zones, where around 300 different stock-keeping units (SKUs) will be handled in almost 30,000 crates each day. In total, the new DC will handle some 6,000 SKUs and shift more than 100,000m3 of merchandise per month. Another important reason for Mercadona choosing the Cimcorp solution was to protect its staff from strenuous work. The company takes the welfare and satisfaction of its employees very seriously, as evidenced by the fact that – unlike many workers in the grocery sector – all of its 70,000 staff have permanent contracts. “The robotic system minimizes the need for manual handling, protecting our employees from the strain of moving heavy crates and the associated risk of injury,” says Francisco Lopez. He sees potential for more co-operation with Cimcorp in the future. “We are planning to roll out automated picking to more of our distribution centers in the next few years,” he explains, “in order to eliminate strenuous manual handling from our other facilities.”

Francisco Lopez, MERCADONA:

The speed, simplicity and return on investment of the Cimcorp solution were the deciding factors for us. Of course, accuracy is fundamental too – we need to have the complete order, with no errors.

The MultiPick® solution The ‘island of automation’ at Guadix will feature 8 MultiPick® robots handling perishable goods in two temperature zones (+3°C and +12°C). MultiPick® robots combine buffer storage and order picking functions into one flexible operation. They handle, store and pick crates of product in stacks. Goods arrive at the island by conveyor in stacks of crates that contain just one SKU. A robot collects the stack and stores it on the floor within its working envelope. For picking, the robot moves to the relevant stack for the first product of the order. After picking the required number of crates of this SKU, the robot moves to the next product, and so on. When the stack being picked is complete, the robot either stores it for dispatch later or deposits it onto a pallet or into a roll container. At Mercadona, the robots will pick up to 28,675 crates in a 6-hour period and will be able to store up to 30,000 crates per day. The 300 SKUs will be handled in one of two sizes of plastic crate – 600mm x 400mm and 400mm x 300mm – weighing between 5 and 250kg and with a maximum stack height of 2.2m. In addition to the robotic system, Cimcorp is supplying the crate stackers, the conveyor system and its WCS (Warehouse Control Software) system to manage the material flows, as well as providing installation and start-up services. Cimcorp’s MultiPick® robotic island offers many benefits for grocery retailers. It prepares orders for the retail stores accurately and rapidly, enabling them to be transported to the supermarkets without the need for any further processing. The system is self-sufficient, taking care of goods reception; put-away; location of stored items; retrieval planning; picking of crates; sorting and assembly of crates into discrete orders; and loading of the orders onto transport units ready for delivery. As well as ensuring shorter lead times due to very fast order processing, the robotic system facilitates customization of picking rules according to the retailer’s preferences – for example, arranging crates into product families for shelf-ready replenishment. In addition, automation means that full tracking and tracing are possible throughout the island, with all goods movements being communicated to the host system without the need for barcodes or RFID tags. A great benefit of the MultiPick solution is easier cleaning – as the robots can empty the entire floor area fully automatically.

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At the of the wine and flamenco country With around 120 days per year spent traveling around the world, this time Timo Pessi, a mechanical fitter at Cimcorp, headed for the south of Spain, to the town of Guadix in the province of Granada. The aim of the trip was to install eight Cimcorp robot units in the brand-new gleaming Mercadona distribution center. The five-week business trip also gave him the time to explore the local attractions.

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Timo Pessi Mechanical technician • 13 years’ experience • 120 travel days a year • Favorite location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil • Most recent location: Spain, Guadix, the brand-new Mercadona distribution center

07:00 The Mulhacen Hotel, named for Sierra Nevada’s highest peak, is Timo’s home for the duration of the trip. He wakes up every day at the same time, and after breakfast it is time to leave for the site, which is about a ten-minute drive from the hotel. Four rental cars are available for the 20-man installation team to get around. Each member of the team does the same work.

08:00 In Spain, the working hours are 8am-6pm, and Saturday is also a working day. The task of the international installation team is to install eight robot units imported from Finland at the new Mercadona distribution center (DC) and to ensure their functionality. For Cimcorp, this is a medium-sized project. According to Timo, the local way of working differs from the Finnish in terms of tranquility. Although it takes a little more time than in Finland, however, the project is progressing on schedule and without problems.

12:00 Lunch is eaten at the local plant cafeteria, which is a positive surprise with its diverse spread of locally sourced food. Today it is Timo’s new favorite - pork steak with potatoes. After 13 years of traveling around the world, Timo is also used to eating quite exotic foods, and at least so far in Spain he has not come across anything that he couldn’t eat. The cafeteria gets a special vote of thanks for its excellent cuisine.

13:00 After eating well, it is time to return to work. The DC is new and clean. It is great to work in a clean environment, and there are no unexpected challenges for the experienced installation technician. Timo, who does the same job in Finland, says the local co-workers are affable and cooperation with them has gone smoothly from the outset. Besides Timo, the installation team consists of a maximum of 11 Finns, and he also spends some of his free time with them. The working day ends at six p.m. and after that there is an opportunity to take it easy. Sundays are generally dedicated to walking around and taking in the local scenery.

18:00 After a long hard day, the installation team comes back to the hotel and Timo heads straight to the shower. Some of the team decide to go for a jog. After a refreshing shower, it is time for dinner.

The hotel bar offers tasty tapas, washed down with a few beers. This is enough to keep even a big man going until breakfast. There is something special coming up this evening. The deciding play-off match in the Finnish ice hockey league final is being shown live over the Internet and all the Finns are gathering in the same room to watch the game. Ice hockey is an extremely popular sport in Finland, so the excitement of the closing minutes of the match was sky-high. The match was won by Timo’s favorite team, Porin Ässät, from the hometown of Cimcorp.

22:00 After the game, there is still a moment to relax in peace and quiet. The hotel room’s entertainment is provided by the Internet, and team, while browsing, avorite Timo's f i Aces), Timo also thinks sät (Por s Ä in r o P about his family. There nish Ice n the Fin o w are two small children and pionship ey cham k c o H his wife waiting at home, rst time for the fi who he always misses when ears! away on the road. His family, in 35 y however, has no problems with Timo’s trips and that’s just as well, because more trips are likely to be coming up in the future. Timo certainly wouldn’t mind coming back to Spain again.


Time to go to sleep and recharge the batteries for a new busy day.

TeXT: HARRI VASTAMÄKI PHOTOS: TIMO PESSI, Mikko Viitapohja, shutterstock

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Cimcorp WCS

for complete control Cimcorp’s proven warehouse control software (WCS) has been developed to manage fast-moving, real-time, robotic handling operations in order to optimize material flows and meet tight delivery deadlines.

Unbroken chain of control

Automation control

Cimcorp WCS provides an unbroken chain of control for manufacturing execution (MES) and warehouse management (WMS) – from individual robot movements through material flow to interfaces with host and other systems.

WCS controls all automated equipment and takes care of key functions such as receiving products from upstream processes, routing of products to the robots and sorting them by SKU, while maintaining FIFO.

Distribution supervision

Organized execution

In distribution centers, WCS supervises the required warehouse functions, including control of the order picking and material flow. The WCS system receives all the relevant data such as products, order lines, volumes, priorities and dispatch deadlines, from the customer’s host system. WCS can also control consolidation and dispatch planning so that orders are sent to the shipping dock in reverse drop sequence, ready for loading into delivery vehicles.

The software controls the storage operation and organizes process execution. Easy-to-use graphical user interfaces assist operators by showing the real-time status of the system, including inventory visibility, giving full control over WIP (Work In Process).

SOLUTION IS IDEAL FOR Breweries • Meat processing plants • Dairies • Bakeries • Postal industry • Tire industry • Retail industry • Manufacturing lines SOFTWARE TAKES CARE OF Order picking • Sorting & buffering & sequencing • Automatic storage and retrieval • Buffer storages• Assembly lines • Manufacturing lines • Material flow control • Voice picking • Manual order picking • Tote warehouses • High-bay warehouses • Tracking and tracing

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24/7 Help Desk


Need for speed I vividly remember the days when I was in junior high that my one and only goal in the world was to get my moped to go as fast as possible. Nothing else really mattered and to the horror of my parents, I was quite successful in this goal. Filing the carburetor, changing to a bigger cylinder, replacing the sprockets at the front and rear, and a power exhaust system were the basics that gave me a pretty good start. Two iconic mini-bikes of the 90s were put through this infernal tuning. The first, a Honda Monkey, with a reputation of being very good for popping wheelies, looked and particularly sounded fairly ”wimpy” in the standard form. However, the four-stroke engine was a wolf in sheep’s clothing and removing just a few nuts from the exhaust pipe made it sound like a beast unleashed. In fact, increasing its speed was a lot more laborious. The other one was a Suzuki PV. One degree further towards a tough guy’s moped, its technology was simple enough to maximize the speed. It really was possible to make this baby go three times faster than it did when leaving the plant. I didn’t go so wild, because I decided to live with a solution only twice as fast. 80 km/h


less than one meter above the asphalt was in my opinion quite enough of a ride for a speed-hungry teenage boy. Without touching the brakes, naturally. Despite my hobby, in those days I wasn’t in any hurry to go anywhere in particular. I just wanted to get from A to B as fast as possible. I still do. “The faster, the sooner”, used to be the favorite mantra of a former boss of mine. Here’s a great maxim for future product developers. If my unborn son at some point begins to beg for a set of wheels, I really hope that tuning parts won’t be necessary. It should look like a two-wheel Formula One car, sound like the evil twin of an American muscle car and move like a bullet in a tailwind. Mind you, it could also have illustration: TIIA KOSKELA

better brakes.

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New facilities equipped with the latest technology

Millions of letters for the Swedes Sweden’s postal operator, Posten Meddelande, is part of the PostNord group, formed by the merger of the Swedish and Danish postal services in 2009. Consisting of four different companies and employing over 40,000 people in the Nordic countries, PostNord has sales of approximately US$6 billion and distributes some 400,000 parcels, 11,000 pallets and 27 million letters every business day. By 2014, a fair share of these will be dispatched from the brand-new Hallsberg and Rosersberg sorting centers. At Hallsberg, Cimcorp’s automation technology will play a key role in mail handling.

Rethinking geography As with mail operators worldwide, the growth in electronic communication has driven significant operational change for PostNord. With the future possibility of a stock exchange listing, the group is investing significant sums to overhaul its letter business

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Robotic systems from Cimcorp will soon be putting the mail in order at a brand-new sorting center in central Sweden. to ensure profitability in the face of declining mail volumes. A key part of its strategy has been rethinking the geography of its sorting centers, a process also driven by the group’s environmental agenda. The first elements of its new distribution network – the new sorting centers at Hallsberg, in central Sweden, and Rosersberg, just north of Stockholm – are now underway. Staffan Strömhage, Posten Meddelande’s Project Manager for the material handling systems for the Hallsberg and Rosersberg facilities, believes the company is on the right track. “Investment in production is a crucial element of the group’s strategy to manage the volume trends for mail with improved scalability. There continues to be a significant level of substitution with e-mail and new solutions entering the market, so we need to adapt to be competitive. New facilities equipped with the latest technology are

a key part of our strategy.” Posten Meddelande currently has 11 sorting centers across Sweden. The Hallsberg center, which will go live in August this year, will replace facilities in Karlstad and Västerås, while the Rosersberg facility, due to go live next year, will replace a sorting center in Uppsala and a logistics facility in Tomteboda. The contract for the design and supply of the handling system for Hallsberg was awarded to Cimcorp, with the framework agreement also including options concerning the Rosersberg center and other existing sorting facilities. Built on greenfield sites, the two new sorting centers are optimally located. “They are sited close to the main railway lines so that more mail can be transported by rail instead of by road or by air,” explains Staffan Strömhage. “This is not only environmentally friendly but also increases flexibility. Hallsberg is halfway between Gothenburg and Stockholm – Sweden’s two largest cities –

and is also the main junction for trains heading south.”

Staffan Strömhage, Project Manager, Posten Meddelande:

Latest technology

Instead of a static system, we will have a dynamic one that promises even greater benefits for our entire supply chain.

The Hallsberg center will operate six days a week, employing 300 staff in the sorting of mostly business mail. With an operational footprint of 28,000m2, it will be the company’s second largest sorting center, becoming third largest when Rosersberg – which will be the biggest – comes on stream. As well as eco-friendly buildings and vehicles, Posten Meddelande is investing in significant levels of automation. “We are investing in the latest technology in every aspect. We want to have a totally automated system, as this allows us to increase the flexibility of these new sorting centers. We already had some robotic technology but it dated from the 1980s, so it was slow and inefficient. Technology has moved on and now we are stepping up over 20 years in performance,” says Staffan Strömhage.

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Proven know-now The Hallsberg solution features some robots from the Cimcorp+ series, which offers excellent energy efficiency and regenerative braking. “As the environmental impact is very significant for us,” says Strömhage, “we were very attracted to these new robots.” When it comes to state-owned businesses, however, impressive and eco-friendly technology alone is not a sufficient reason for choosing a supplier. In fact, the tendering process for the new facilities was stringently controlled and open to public scrutiny. “We formed a specification matrix in order to evaluate the various bidders for the handling systems and the company with the highest score was chosen,” explains 16 | Pick

Strömhage. Experience was one of many factors weighed up in the evaluation process. “We wanted a supplier with proven knowhow in postal technology,” says Strömhage. “The handling system in Hallsberg is the only part of the project which will not undergo our usual pilot test, so it needs to be right first time. We knew that Cimcorp had supplied systems for the Finnish postal operator, Itella, so we went to see those in action. I had also heard positive reports from colleagues and friends about Cimcorp’s installations for Volvo in my home city of Gothenburg.”

The beating heart It was during the phase of specifying the systems for Hallsberg that it became clear how

important the handling solution would be. “We had thought that the handling system was not the core technology,” admits Strömhage, “but when we started writing the tender documentation, we realized that we could gain a significant amount by improving the internal logistics. Suddenly the material handling became critical. It is, in fact, the beating heart of the sorting center. Just like a heart pumping blood around the body, the system drives mail to the sorting machines – which are the value-adding part of our operations – in the most efficient way. We had been focusing on the mail-sorting machines but soon realized that the Cimcorp system can act as a kind of tray-sorting machine, allowing us to increase efficiency and simplify operations.” Efficiency and speed are vital, given

Staffan Strömhage:

As the environmental impact is very significant for us, we were very attracted to these new robots.

Posten Meddelande’s service commitment. Its customers are promised delivery within 24 hours for first-class mail posted by 5pm and within 72 hours for economy mail. “We are the only company in Sweden that reaches all our customers on a daily basis,” says Strömhage. “Cimcorp’s system will improve our internal logistics and shorten the handling time at the sorting center by making the trays ready for shipment in a more efficient way than we are able to do today. The workload of the operators will be eased because trays will be handled automatically. It simplifies the job. Also, the software will give us a much better overview of what is happening than we have today. We won’t need to worry about being in time for deliveries – when the train leaves, the load will be ready.”

Less is more Perhaps the most impressive feature of the Cimcorp technology for Staffan Strömhage is its simplicity. “Increased technology does not have to mean that a solution is complicated. Cimcorp offers a simple solution to solve a difficult task. To create simplicity out of complexity you need innovation; we consider Cimcorp to be an innovative company and we have learned a great deal during the development phase with them. Instead of a static system, we will have a dynamic one that promises even greater benefits for our entire supply chain. We see almost limitless opportunities to develop the sequencing of trays to better suit our future business. That’s very exciting.”

Scope of supply The total solution is based on Cimcorp’s 3D Shuttle® gantry robots used for tray-sorting and sequencing. Also included in the delivery are extensive conveyor systems for trays and bulk mail/maxi letters. The total material flow is controlled by Cimcorp’s Warehouse Control Software (WCS) .

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Text: TOTTI TOISKALLIO Photos: shutterstock

When Cimcorp’s sales manager Jarno Honkanen and technology director Jyrki Anttonen are asked how the product development work on the Cimcorp 3D Shuttle® came about, they answer in unison: from listening to the customer.

Customer-driven product development resulted in the

New king of the tote warehouse The aim of Cimcorp’s product development is simple: offering customers systems that meet their needs. During its history, the company has developed several automation products that can be customized for many different applications in different areas but from time to time challenges arise that demand something totally new. The new Cimcorp 3D Shuttle® automatic storage and retrieval system for goods-to-man order picking is the answer to such challenges. “Product development work stemmed from the customer’s need to store a larger amount of products than with the conventional MultiPick® system,” says Anttonen. Generally in such situations, the starting point is the adaptation of an existing product for a particular purpose. “In this case however, we very quickly realized that our products couldn’t be molded to the task in the way we wanted,” states Honkanen.

Creative problem solving Each Cimcorp product development process progresses in line with a predetermined model, taking into account customer requirements. As products are designed for different purposes and on the basis of different kinds of demands, no two development processes are ever exactly alike. Nevertheless, the Cimcorp 3D Shuttle® development process did not start completely from scratch: a new robot 18 | Pick

series purpose-built for the tire industry and MultiPick® grippers were ready to be used. “We were able to utilize the mechanics and control concept of the MBR700+ series robot, as well as the MultiPick® grippers, in the new system. With small modifications, they could be adapted for the needs of the customer and thus the new Cimcorp 3D Shuttle® system,” says Anttonen. In addition to the technology, all the necessary knowhow was also found in-house. “Over 200 people work at Cimcorp, all specialists in their own field, and the most suitable team for the needs of each project is hand-picked. In-house design is divided between the various departments. The sales department is responsible for the overall system compatibility and system design, and the product development side, in turn, focuses more on equipment and attention to detail. Often, the entire company is fully involved in these projects and everyone’s expertise is available if required,” explains Honkanen. “Over the years, we have supplied our customers with a wide range of automation solutions for various industries, for handling and transporting a variety of products. Our experience naturally provides us with a solid base for developing new products. Product development projects are led by people who have strong knowhow within the particular sector concerned,” continues Anttonen.

Cimcorp’s sales manager Jarno Honkanen (left) and technology director Jyrki Anttonen.

Cimcorp 3D Shuttle® – THIS IS HOW IT WORKS In the Cimcorp 3D Shuttle® system, products in plastic totes are stored on the warehouse floor under a large gantry robot. The totes are fed to the area in stacks and retrieved individually. Product totes are stacked on a conveyor, from which the robot takes them to the storage space below the robot. When you want to retrieve a product tote from the system to move it to the order picking station for example, the robot retrieves the product tote and transfers it using a lightning-fast shuttle device for further transport by the conveyor system.


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New member of the Cimcorp+ robot series:

stronger MBR800+ robot The new-generation series of robots is the answer to the eco-friendly trends of the industrial world.

Besides physical robots, the software for controlling the automation systems is also developed at Cimcorp. ”Software is playing a more and more prominent role in automation systems, and a lot of in-depth expertise is also required in product development. When this software know-how is combined with Cimcorp’s extensive expertise in system development, we are able to deliver solutions to customers on a turnkey principle, from a single location,” says Anttonen.

Appropriate tailor-made work Jarno Honkanen and Jyrki Anttonen both agree that customer needs played a key role in the product development process for the Cimcorp 3D Shuttle®, as with everything else in product development. Feedback from the customers is also crucial after installation. ”In this case, the requirements that could not be met with our existing technology led to the creation of a new type of order picking system,” says Anttonen. ”The communication channels with the customer remain open after delivery. Thus we can monitor how the system we supplied has been working and, if required, react and develop the solutions further,” adds Honkanen. 20 | Pick

Efficiency through simplicity The new Cimcorp 3D Shuttle® order picking system has even been characterized as revolutionary. The benefits for users are quite substantial: six times greater order picking efficiency than in conventional manual order picking, up to 1,000 retrieved totes per hour, and for example excellent storage capacity with a minimal amount of equipment. “A reduced number of devices simplifies factory layout design and decreases the amount of conveyor meterage required. A small number of devices also reduces the need for maintenance and increases availability,” says Honkanen. “No-rack storage also delivers clear benefits. The ease of cleaning the floor enables a high level of hygiene, and fire protection solutions can readily be implemented in the floor storage area,” adds Anttonen. Successful product development is also shown by the fact that the system can be adapted for many different applications. “The Cimcorp 3D Shuttle® has opened up a new world of plastic tote handling. The same product is ideal not only for use in distribution centers for daily consumer goods, but also for instance for mail tray sequencing, warehouses for major e-tailers, and the automotive industry,” states Honkanen.

The development of the Cimcorp+ eco-robot series continues. The newest member is the strong MBR800+ gantrytype robot, which is required for heavier duties. The more energy-efficient and more environment-friendly robot handles TBR tires in tire manufacture with superior performance. The MBR800+ is also a core component in order picking and handling solutions in distribution centers. It handles plastic crates being able to pick crates one by one and transferring even whole stacks. Also roll containers can be handled with ease with the MBR800+ gantry robot. The Cimcorp + robot concept has been a great success. The first in the series was the MBR700+ robot launched on the market in 2010. The MBR700+ is a gantry-type robot, which is typically applied in the tire industry for buffering, sorting and palletizing of PCR and LTR tires. Energy savings, carbon footprint, recyclability, and above all green values are key factors for Cimcorp too. The aim of the development work was to improve the quality and efficiency of the Cimcorp MBR robot series. All the good and proven technical solutions developed for the MBR700+ were selected for the MBR800+ too. Aluminum is used in the moving parts instead of steel,the in-use maintenance requirement is minimized, the number of components is reduced. The new advanced control system makes the robot a smart energy miracle. 30 percent of the energy consumed by the robot can be fed back into the network and used again.


Cimcorp’s TWA handling system enables

JIT automatically In the automotive industry the production strategies are based on the Just-InTime principle. Sets of wheels are also ordered for the assembly line with only a few hours’ notice. Cimcorp knows how to ensure deliveries on schedule. Even though fitting a tire onto a rim is highly automated, the collecting of vehiclespecific sets of wheels (front and rear wheels and spare wheel) has largely been done manually. The order from car plant to supplier is sent in real-time and usually no two sets are the same. This is to take into account the different preferences of car buyers regarding tires and rims. Cimcorp’s robotic system for buffering, sorting and order picking of tire-wheelassemblies (TWA) revolutionizes the logistics at TWA assembly plants. After the assembly line, the Cimcorp robot stores mounted tire-wheel assemblies in a buffer storage to await dispatch to the automobile plant. The system is able to handle hundreds of SKUs (different product items). The robot picks up vehicle-specific wheel stacks from the buffer storage on the basis of orders from the auto plant. The conveyor system delivers the wheel stacks from the gantry robots to the delivery trucks automatically.

Cimcorp’s system can handle a wide range of different product items (SKUs) and different combinations of vehicle-specific tires and rims.

Keeping to schedule by automation Automobile plants usually supply their subcontractors with weekly forecasts of the sets of wheels they will require. The only problem is that the order of deliveries is not defined in advance. Wheels are ordered for cars on the assembly line only a few hours before they are fitted. Subcontractors incur substantial penalties for late or incorrect deliveries. Cimcorp’s robot system enables the more

efficient manufacture of larger series ready for storage according to the weekly forecast. When the final order comes through, the gantry robot takes the right sets of wheels from storage and delivers them to the loading dock in the right sequence via conveyor. Keeping to schedule is one of the definite strengths of Cimcorp’s system. Gantry robots work untiringly and do not make mistakes; they are quick and can handle even the heaviest car tire-wheel assemblies with ease. Pick | 21


Experiences through a lens Hannu Rinne, a software specialist at Cimcorp, packs his bags and photographs birds in different corners of the world. Souvenirs for this collector are photos rivaling the finest nature documentary. Hannu has been a photography enthusiast

Hannu Rinne’s favorite picture is a photo of an encounter between elephant seals and penguins. ”I have been hankering for a trip to Svalbard, but it won’t be happening this year.” The elephant seal seems to be roaring at the penguins. In reality, it is a male roaring to another male.

22 | Pick

for about 40 years. His first camera was a Konica, but on this trip he’s taking two SLR cameras. He has spent the equivalent of the price of a small car on photography equipment. “I have been watching birds since I was in elementary school, and that led to the idea of taking pictures of them. I also take photos of other animals but birds are the easiest to find. And after all, birds do have the most colorful plumage.” Hannu goes on holiday in search of things to capture on film. He is away on photography trips about six weeks a year on average. “I would travel a lot less without my camera.”

Safe journey

The traveler has managed to avoid danger, but there are always challenges to be faced on his trips. Sometimes when going after a subject to shoot, you have to climb up a rock face, sometimes you can be caught out by the tide. In Chile, a general strike led to some tricky situations. “The strikers had closed the motorway from the airport to Punta Arenas apart from police cars and ambulances, and there was a tense situation at the road blocks. To reach the city,

you had to walk 15 km, but for the way back, the Honorary Consul of Finland negotiated an ambulance ride back to the airport for us. That was how we got all the luggage and a passenger whose leg was bandaged up to fool the strikers,” Hannu reminisces. Thanks to his hobby of photography, Hannu has brought home a vast amount of photos. Through them, he is able to look at the situations in a new light. Sometimes the man has got very close to what he was shooting. “There is a considerable variety in the timidity of animals. In isolated parts of the world, such as the Galapagos Islands and South Georgia, the animals do not really avoid people at all. On the other hand, in Europe they are quite timid.” Capturing the perfect moment requires both luck and skill. Hannu believes that careful preparation can improve your chances, but luck plays an important role. “The skill is in being able to take advantage of the situation,” he smiles. TEXT: ANNA KORPI-KYYNY PHOTOS: hannu rinne, ARTO HELIN see more:

The yellow-billed pintail is taking a bath – not performing for the penguins.

The Norwegian whalers brought reindeer to South Georgia for food. The whalers are long gone but the reindeer remain.

Pick | 23

See you at the expos! Post-Expo 2013

RubberTech China 2013 CeMAT 2014

October 1-3, 2013 Vienna, Austria •

November 13-15, 2013, Shanghai, China •

May 19-23, 2014 Hannover, Germany •


Cimcorp 3D Shuttle® – Success at LogiMAT & IMHX Cimcorp exhibited big at LogiMAT in Stuttgart and IMHX in Birmingham this spring. A large stand made it possible to install a live demo of the Cimcorp 3D Shuttle® robotic handling system, which literally stopped visitors in their tracks. The new innovation got the attention it deserved. Many discussions with the interested audience confirmed that the Cimcorp 3D Shuttle® is perfect for serving goods-to-person order picking stations in retail, food service and e-commerce distribution centers. It is also ideally suited for handling parts and components, especially applications in which there is a large product range and a requirement for high service levels.

watch video intervieW =YDIzOt2WBo4

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.


Satakunnantie 5, FI-28400 Ulvila, FINLAND phone +358 10 2772 000, fax +358 10 2772 200, North America RMT Robotics Ltd. (a Cimcorp Oy company) 635 South Service Road, Grimsby, Ontario, Canada L3M 4E8 phone +1 905.643.9700, Brazil, Parana M2 Concepts Solucoes Empresariais LTDA phone + 55 41 32052937, China, Qingdao Qingdao Great Ocean Co., Ltd. phone +86-532-8097 0696, India, Chennai Larsen & Toubro Limited, LTM Business Unit phone +91 44 2249 1932, Japan, Tokyo Itochu Machine-Technos Corporation phone +81 3 3506 3528, Russia, Moscow LLC International Representative House, First Link phone +7 495 223 6839,, Scandinavian countries, Gothenburg, Sweden KAP Management phone +46 3126 2512, South Korea, Seoul EKL Korea Corporation, phone +82 2 2242 2963,, Taiwan R.O.C., San Chung City, Taipei Hsien Song Rock Exim Industrial Group phone +886 2 2999 4647, United Kingdom, Devizes Logistics Planning Ltd phone + 44 (0)5601 482815,

Cimcorp Customer Magazine 2013/1  

MERCADONA: Speed, accuracy & return on investment - The Spanish grocery giant improves its efficiency with Cimcorp automation • Cimcorp 3D S...

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