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Cimcorp customer magazine 2 | 2013


Shaping the future of everyday life

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Managing constant change is a necessity

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Speeding with slotcars

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Dietmar Jobes, Continental Aachen:

proactivity + predictability = productivity

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HORIZON Warehouse automation for Olvi brewery Experiences from Valio and Itella Cimcorp+ leads the way New dairy facility for Kroger Cimcorp 3D Shuttle – Fast lane of order fulfillment




Communication is key for GKN Driveline



Continental Aachen believes in trust, competence and availability


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Business trip over the sea and back


PICK OF THE COLLECTORS slotcar enthusiast kai kivekäs


Professor Aarne Halme:

Intelligent machines will be developed along two lines DIETMAR JOBES, Continental Aachen:

Now is the time for predictive maintenance



From evolution to revolution

Jan Andersson, Project Director, GKN Driveline:



Electricity on the track

Cimcorp handles change very well, working hard to introduce it in the fastest and most cost-effective way. Everything is based on the strength of our working relationship, really.

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 |, phone +358 10 2772 000

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Taking care of our capital Work productivity has increased sevenfold during my lifetime. This increase has been enabled by investments in human capital, investments in machines and equipment, and technological development. A good company is in fact recognized by the fact that it takes good care of its capital – both human and physical. Human capital is invested in people. This capital develops and grows through experience and training, in other words, through improved expertise. PHOTO: TOMI GLAD

We take care of human capital by investing in people’s welfare, training, and safety. In industrialized countries, the role of the individual employee is now much more important than earlier. Production has been automated to a great extent, there are fewer employees to oversee it, and systems have become more complicated. Therefore looking after human capital is even more crucial than ever. Besides people, we also need production machinery: machines and the automation to control them. The more efficient the production machinery,

Ilpo Nummelin Business Unit Director, Customer Support

the more profitable the company’s business and the higher the return on capital employed. Production machinery plays a key role on the corporate balance sheet. Investments are significant, profit expectations are high, and they should have a long lifetime. We take care of the productivity of the machinery through continuous maintenance and regular updates, which take into account changes in production. The necessary support agreements are made to ensure continuity of production. Whatever the type of property, it needs taking care of. The measures men­tioned above should largely be seen as the care of property. In order to ­implement them, a comprehensive plan covering the entire life span is required, which is followed systematically. Neglecting the plan creates a “liability” and thus a risk that the production machinery and its users will not function optimally. Cooperation and continuous development play a key role in maintaining and growing productivity – there is more on this in the articles in this issue. An efficient production chain is the union of skilled personnel and effective technology, so let’s take care of both!

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Aarne Halme is an internationally renowned scientist, currently working as the head of the Centre of Excellence in Generic Intelligent Machines Research at Aalto University, located in Helsinki, Finland. His resumé includes over 200 publications in the field of automation and systems technology.

The development of smart machines has progressed at a dizzying pace from assembly line articulated robots to the current autonomous equipment and comprehensive robot systems. Science and technology have nevertheless advanced considerably further than you might deduce based on the applications in use. Making machines smarter offers opportunities for new growth and added competitiveness for companies.

From evolution to revolution – intelligent machines will be developed along two lines In modern mines, on the face of it machinery is operating as before, apart from the fact there that there is nobody in the ­operator’s cab any more. At ports and warehouses, the logistics are mostly handled automatically by mobile and smart machines. In the home, the vacuuming can be done by a robot equipped with sensors, and at shopping malls, customers can be guided by a robot that speaks 30 different languages. We have come a long way since the start of the development of smart machines. “In the mid-1980s, it was almost as if robots stepped outside of plants and production lines. Then people began to see their potential for use other than in traditional industry,” explains Aarne Halme, Professor Emeritus and Director of the Centre of Excellence in Generic Intelligent Machines at Aalto University, Helsinki. 4 | Pick

According to Halme, the robot technology used for traditional industrial tasks is already mostly complete – now the aim is to develop new types of uses and applications. “Tasks no longer come to where the machines are, but the machines must move according to the tasks. The keys to compe­t­ itiveness lie in current ICT, mobility, and automation,” says Halme. Thus machines are no longer just machines, but to a greater and greater extent they are intelligent entities, which function on the basis of information systems. “The modern automobile is no longer just four wheels and a body, but rather a computer that you can drive,” Halme describes.

Revolutionary development Making machines smarter has enabled for instance the remote operation of construction

site equipment: whereas the driver used to sit in the operator’s cab, he can now control the same piece of equipment through the Internet and even from another city. The time spent on work trips decreases, the risks of hazardous working conditions diminish, and productivity increases when one person can control several pieces of equipment at the same time. “There has not yet been an attempt to replace human perception, or visualization ability, with artificial intelligence. For instance, at a mine, the equipment may be moved ­fully automatically, but tasks requiring precision, such as bucket filling, are carried out remotely by an operator sitting in a control room,” says Halme. Developments in mining equipment epitomize the evolutionary trend of smart machinery, which aims to improve the performance of existing machinery. “The development of the machinery, raising the degree of automation, and finding suitable solutions for the markets are the deciding factors for both the objectives of the evolutionary line of development and the competitiveness of the companies using the machinery.” Another trend is as its name says – revolutionary. Instead of developing existing equipment, it aims to find completely new types of applications.

“The revolutionary trend will change people’s everyday lives considerably in the future. For example, the so-called service robots will carry out tasks that people, for some reason or another, do not wish to do. Automatic vacuum cleaners can clean the house, waste sorting centers can be automated, and various military tasks can be performed using robots.” However, profitability and the markets form a threshold to generating new kinds of products. “At the moment, technology and science are moving way ahead of the productized applications already in operation. This is largely due to the fact that revolutionary applications are always new, and there is not necessarily a market for them yet. Still, there are plenty of development projects underway,” says Halme.

Blue-sky thinking, social effects Emerging robotics will probably bring with it opportunities that were previously beyond the reach of humans. What seems impossible today may be the norm in the future thanks to intelligent machines. Halme regards the role of intelligent machines as significant for instance in creating the conditions for space research. “We have already studied the possible ­ applications of intelligent machines in the ­construction of space stations and ­bases in

cooperation with the ESA (­European Space Agency) and all the major countries have ­corresponding projects underway at the ­moment.” Another of Halme’s future visions is related to catastrophe management. “Robotics could have been used to prevent or at least considerably reduce the effects of recent nuclear plant incidents. In the cases of Fukushima and Chernobyl, in my opinion, it was a disgrace that technology had still not been developed enough at the practical level for the power plants to be given critical first aid.” The development of machines will inevitably also change our current society. It will become possible to transfer unpleasant, dangerous, and monotonous jobs to machines, and people will be able to concentrate on other kinds of tasks. The negative side of this is usually considered to be the possibility of an increase in unemployment. “In the 1980s, automation through robotics was perhaps adopted in the European automotive industry too quickly, and this gave rise to massive unemployment. However, it survived this and the targeted competitiveness increased considerably,” Halme reflects. Nevertheless, the overall picture of the potential of intelligent machines to create new growth rises above scenarios related to individual applications.

The warehouse of the Generic Intelligent Machines Centre of Excellence is packed with different prototypes and robotic applications for different purposes and studies. "Some machines can be controlled over the internet from another city," says Aarne Halme.

“Research and development into intelligent machines is a growth area with huge potential, which may lead us not only to find effective solutions for industry, but also for instance new consumer products like the cell phone. In this way, we also have the opportunity to generate new prosperity,” says Halme. Text: TOTTI TOISKALLIO Photo: sini pennanen

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Text: Paula ovaskainen & HEIDI SCOTT Photo: arto helin

These are the key assets of any supplier, according to the maintenance team at Contin­ental’s tire plant in Aachen, Germany, and Cimcorp delivers all three


Competence. Availability. Dietmar Jobes has a challenging job: as Maintenance Manager at Continental Aachen, he is responsible for the technical availability of all the tire factory’s production machinery and handling systems, from the tire curing process to the finished tire warehouse. This means that he and his department of 60 staff – mechanical, electrical and software engineers and fitters – must continuously review the condition and analyze the performance of some 400 machines. Among them are 15


• ranking among the top five automotive suppliers worldwide • produces a whole host of equipment for personal and commercial vehicles, from braking systems to networked communication solutions • 170,000 employees globally • the corporation comprises five divisions

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Tire division

handling robots supplied by Cimcorp for the plant’s final finishing area buffer, palletizing buffer and rickrack palletizing area. Ranking among the top five automotive suppliers worldwide, Continental produces a whole host of equipment for personal and commercial vehicles, from braking systems to networked communication solutions. Tire manufacture at the Aachen facility is highly complex. About 1,600 staff are employed in the production of tires of various kinds in


9 M tires/year ORGANIZATION • 69 locations • in 39 countries

staff 1,600 employers in production

PRODUCTION • tire sizes from 15” to 20” • 530 tire types • 100 –110 types being manufactured each day

VOLUME Output 28,500 tires a day • over half of tires are conventional tires • over a third run-flat tires

93% PCR

passenger car radial tires


replacement tires main markets: Germany, the UK, the Americas

7% LTR

light truck radial tires

31% OEMs,

major clients: BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen/Audi

Dietmar Jobes Maintenance Manager Continental, Aachen:

Our key principles are: do it right first time, do it as quickly as possible and do it as cost-effectively as possible

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sizes from 15” to 20”, resulting in an impressive 530 tire types at the plant, with 100-110 types being manufactured each day. Over half of tires produced at Aachen are conventional tires, while over a third are run-flat tires.

Built on trust To be successful in its objective of maximizing the uptime of the production and hand­ ling equipment, the maintenance team at Aachen needs reliable partners. “The most important factors in terms of co-operation with a supplier,” explains Dietmar Jobes, “are trust, competence and availability.” Cimcorp has been working with Contin­ ental for over eight years, having supplied a number of robotic handling solutions for the tire division. At the Aachen facility, Cimcorp has delivered two large projects recently. The first involved moving a palletizing buffer system that was originally installed at Continental’s plant at Clairoix in France to the Aachen site in 2011. The second was an extensive retrofitting of the final finishing area buffer, completed during the two-week Christmas shutdown in 2012–2013.

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Obviously, the length of co-operation between the two companies contributes to the aspect of trust. Dietmar Jobes adds, “The fact that there is one contact person at Cimcorp who is responsible for meeting our needs and who has worked with us for several years is another key element of the confidence we feel.” When it comes to competence, it is not only the ability to deliver an optimum solution that is under the microscope. ”We can really get a feel for the competence of a supplier when problems arise,” says Mr Jobes. “Resolving issues quickly is imperative in a business such as ours.” This obviously links in with availability, which Cimcorp provides through its 24/7 customer support hotline. “This is underpinned by personal relationships,” explains Dietmar Jobes. “We have the mobile phone numbers of key people with whom we have worked for a number of years.”

Support around the clock Although the production department is ­responsible for the operation of the ­machines at the plant, the maintenance department must ensure the technical availability of the

Cimcorp’s robotic systems installations at Continental, Aachen • Final finishing area buffer for the sorting of PCR tires arriving from the visual inspection area and going to the uniformity measuring machines.

Norbert Totzek, electrical and software specialist at Continental, and Esa Koivumäki, Service Coordinator at Cimcorp, responsible for the retrofit project, now enjoy the excellent results of their job

• Palletizing buffer for the sorting of PCR tires arriving from the uniformity measuring machines, and robots for the rick-rack palletization of finished tires. • Cimcorp’s WCS (Warehouse Control Software) for controlling the flow and storage.

equipment – including the curing presses, uniformity measuring machines, inspection systems, robots and transport systems. “The worst thing to ­happen would be a ­software failure that stops a machine or ­system totally,” explains Jobes. “Mechanical failures are easier to solve – by repairing or changing a part – but it can take time to resolve an IT problem. If the control of the system is disrupted, the results can be dramatic. And if a machine or handling system stops totally, it immediately affects the the whole production line and causes losses in output. This is why we have the 24/7 system support service agreement with ­Cimcorp,” continues Dietmar Jobes. “Our operators can call Cimcorp ­directly and the customer support team there has ­remote access to our system, so they can see what has happened and solve any software problems. Help is only a phone call away.” Cimcorp is also contracted to undertake routine maintenance of the robotic system every six months. “Cimcorp has worked out a maintenance plan that includes all the required measures – and their costs – right up until 2017,” says Jobes.

Proactive maintenance Continental’s philosophy when it comes to maintenance is to be thorough and proactive. “Our key principles are: Do it right first time; Do it as quickly as possible; and Do it as cost-effectively as possible,” explains ­Dietmar Jobes. “There is, of course, a little ­contradiction between the second and third points,” he admits. “If you do something quickly, you ­cannot always do it cost-efficiently, but we have to try to reach the optimum c­ ompromise ­between these two.” Dietmar Jobes has a clear vision for the future of the maintenance team. “Now is the time for predictive maintenance,” he says. “In the past, we often reacted to errors and failures, waiting for something to break down and then repairing it. We cannot afford to work like that any more. We must employ predictive maintenance techniques to ensure that we don’t face any unplanned ­stoppages. As many of our machines operate to their limits, with nothing in reserve, it’s no mean feat to ensure that they stay operational all the time.”

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retrofit project

An extensive retrofit – including new gantries and servo grippers – was completed in the final finishing area robotic buffer system for PCR tires in early 2013. Leading a team of 60 people, Dietmar Jobes is Maintenance Manager at Contin­ ental’s Aachen factory, responsible for ensuring the availability of all the production and handling systems in his section. Here, he answers some questions about the project.

Most of the time we work without any failures, 24 hours a day – that’s a great result! 10 | Pick

Why was this retrofit project undertaken and what did you want to achieve? We had a dramatic decrease in the availability of this system; it was at an unsatisfactory level. In addition, the maintenance costs had increased. In short, it was causing production losses. The system had endured intensive use and high volumes for five years – amounting to 50,000 working hours over 3 shifts – running at its utmost limit. According to the component life expectancies from Cimcorp, the usage hours of the wearing parts had been exceeded and many of the longer-life components were nearing the end of their lifeThe system cycle. We investig­ated the had endured causes of the wear in great for five years detail and found that, as the – 50,000 working six-robot system was located hours over in limited space within our 3 shifts rather crowded site, the driving distances of the robot axes were very short. The robots were actually accelerating and decelerating for 90% of their ­operational time. They were therefore running at a steady speed for only 10% of the time. This rapid ’stop/go’ operation caused oscillation and vibration, which in turn led to high wear of components, excessive play in the system, inaccurate positioning and material fatigue. Not surprisingly, the result was continuous failures. How did you arrive at a solution? We sat down with Cimcorp’s customer support experts and discussed the problems very openly. Cimcorp proposed three alternat­ ives, each with a different scope of supply, starting from smaller changes to a complete retrofit. Continental decided to invest in the most extensive solution – a complete system retrofit, including new gantries – because this would secure the best results.

In addition, the downtime involved was a­ ctually the shortest of the three options and the ­system would be modernized to a whole new level of technology, with significantly longer expected lifetime than for the alternative options. What was involved in the retrofit? The retrofit was implemented in just two weeks during the Christmas shutdown in 2012–2013. The robot units – both the overhead gantries and the grippers – were replaced. The new gantries are lighter and yet more robust, while the servo grippers are faster. The rack and pinion drives were replaced by belt drives and software changes were also implemented to make the robots’ movements smoother. What have the results of the retrofit been? The availability of the buffer system has increased significantly, now reaching 99.5%. Most of the time we work without any failures, 24 hours a day – that’s a great result! At the same time, maintenance costs have been reduced dramatically – to half or even less than half of the previous costs. How would you rate Cimcorp’s performance in terms of technical solutions, project management and customer support? Cimcorp’s solutions feature the highest level of technology – the robots really are state-of-theart. In this retrofit project, Cimcorp developed the various solutions, made detailed proposals and quotations, and then implemented the job as they had planned and promised. As for It was highly professional, with customer no time delays or crisis points support, during the project – an excellent Cimcorp job! As for customer support, is always Cimcorp is always available. available We have absolute trust in that.


In a different lane Motoring is nice; motorists always give each other room to change lanes and nobody behind the wheel ever suffers from road rage. Motoring may be like this in the future, when smart machines are in charge of driving and people illustration: SHUTTERSTOCK/teija himberg

are only in traffic as passengers. Soon there will no longer be any sense in yelling at other people in traffic. Accusations about other people’s ineptitude will no longer be directed at individual drivers, but at car models that are programmed to act in a certain way. “How could someone have programmed a car to function so stupidly?” The sound of tooting will disappear from the city soundscape when every vehicle flows smoothly forwards in harmonious mutual understanding. The last people driving in old cars will of course try to increase the speed of their vehicles by honking the horn, but I doubt that the cool logical smart cars will react to the impatient attempts of humans to provoke them. Nobody will stop at gas stations any more other than to fill up, since you can enjoy a picnic in peace in your own car when a computer is handling the driving. Of course, old hillbilly types may still be found in roadside diners in small towns in the future, with time on their hands as the tractors work independently in the fields. At car shows, you won’t be admiring the cars any more, just the computers. Software programmers will tune up the cars in dark rooms throughout the night, and the only oil on their fingers will be from potato chips. The best part about cars becoming smarter is that there will be no need in the future for age limits for driving. Why would you need age limits if steering is done by a computer? After all, you don’t need a driving license to be a passenger. So let’s enjoy our own strange traffic culture as long as it still exists. In the future you will only see passengers fumbling with their smart phones in cars. Road signs, speed limit signs and roadside advertizing will be roadside trash, which will be scrapped. So toot at the idiot in front of you – tomorrow it may be a computer.

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TEXTS: PAULA OVASKAINEN, Lori vaughan totti toiskallio PHOTOS: Esa Kyyrö, olvi, Valio, itella, shutterstock

Cimcorp to implement warehouse automation in Olvi brewery:

Increased capacity Olvi plc, a Finnish beverage company, has commissioned Cimcorp to design and implement an extensive automation system to boost the efficiency of their dispatch operations

Olvi plc is a Finnish beverage company, which wants to offer beverage enjoyment and positive experiences for its consumers. Olvi has already produced beverages for over 130 years in Iisalmi. Currently the company operates locally in Finland, Belarus and the Baltic states. Agility, flexibility and a certain “Olviness”, which is appreciated by the stakeholders, are characteristic to the operation of Olvi.

How are you doing?

Pick magazine contacted two major clients from the past years to find out how Cimcorp intralogistics solutions have changed their operations

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Olvi, which manufactures beers, ciders, long drinks and soft drinks, such as Angry Birds, Hello Kitty and HeviSaurus, is investing in new warehouse technology to increase their warehousing capacity and order picking efficiency. Olvi has awarded Cimcorp the contract to supply the high-bay warehouse,

Improving productivity at Valio A buffer storage area using the MultiPick robotic system was installed at the Finnish dairy product giant Valio’s Jyväskylä warehouse in 2009. We interviewed Tero Ruusuvirta, maintenance manager at the Valio Jyväskylä warehouse. What kind of benefits has the system produced in the last few years? The buffering storage has developed the whole system enormously. The passive waiting times of the packing lines have been decreased by 30% since 2008, while at the same time, the number of different products being picked by the robots has increased by 20 percent. Are there any specific features that have made your work easier? By enabling the possibility of frame-specific picking, which allows delivery picking in the right

boosted efficiency conveyor systems and order picking systems. Cimcorp’s MultiPick robots will automatically pick all drinks delivered on trays. The manual picking will be voice-controlled. The whole dispatch area – warehousing, material flow and order picking – will be managed by Cimcorp’s WCS (Warehouse Control Software), which takes care of the products all the way from the production machines to the shipping dock. Also the already installed Cimcorp’s order picking robots will be integrated into the system and controlled by the same software. The automation system, which will start operation during 2014, is based on Cimcorp’s

order for loading, the system makes loading of delivery trucks more efficient. Also in the peak periods, such as holiday seasons, we can increase our picking and delivery capacity by picking some of the orders already in the buffering area. The frame-specific picking also makes the work of the operators easier, by reducing the need of walking around in the warehouse. Has the system changed the way the storage works? The system has enabled exact follow-up and control of the products – which would be at the least challenging without an efficient warehouse control system like Cimcorp WCS. Together with Cimcorp, the proficient staff of the Valio Jyväskylä warehouse has developed the system to be more and more efficient and user-friendly.

Solid performance at Itella In 2010, Cimcorp delivered 21 new mail-sorting robots for Itella, the Finnish


MARJATTA RISSANEN, Customer Service and Administrative Director, Olvi plc.:

Our target is to increase the warehouse capacity and to boost picking efficiency, because we are diversifying our product range MultiPick order processing concept. It takes care of goods reception, put-away, location of stored items, retrieval planning, picking of crates, sorting and preparation of crates into discrete orders as well as loading of the orders onto transport units ready for delivery. “Our target is to increase the warehouse capacity and to boost picking efficiency, because we are diversifying our product range according to our mission to be a versatile beverage company. We are so delighted with the robotic order picking system previously supplied by Cimcorp that we want to continue the co-operation with them,” states Marjatta Rissanen, Customer Service and Administrative Director of Olvi plc.

postal service, to meet the ever-growing challenges of modern day postal deliveries. How have the robots performed their jobs? We asked Mikko Lanu, service specialist from Algol, the subcontractor for robot maintenance at Itella. – Cimcorp's systems are used in four different Itella distribution centers – at Helsinki, Oulu, Tampere and Kuopio – as a sorting and buffering storage in mail acceptance, inward sorting and outward sorting of mail, and loading of transport units for distribution. Together with other technical changes made in the centers, the Cimcorp robots have radically modified the way things are done – more efficiently, that is. The Cimcorp robots are working brilliantly and perform the given tasks as expected. What about the technical support from Cimcorp? As Algol takes care of the maintenance and service of the systems at Itella, we also cooperate with Cimcorp's technical support and HelpDesk when needed. The support has always been ­professional and we've been very pleased with the way Cimcorp has handled the situations.

Proven track record of robotic systems control

Cimcorp+ leads the way

In the spring of 2010, Cimcorp launched an advanced controls concept for its wide-area gantry robot solutions. Three years later, the Cimcorp+ control system has truly earned its stripes.

The Cimcorp+ series control system was designed in partnership with Cimcorp and Bosch Rexroth, a world-leading controls and drives specialist. As a result, a genuinely greener and more efficient solution – offering 30% higher productivity and 40% lower energy consumption – was created. Initially developed for Cimcorp MBR700+, the first of the Cimcorp+ robot series, the control system has now gained its position as a standard part of all Cimcorp›s gantry robot system deliveries. The all-inclusive control The Cimcorp+ control system covers both robot and cell control. The cell control system handles all cell-specific product data and controls the storage content and material flow. It also communicates with external systems, controls the safety devices and acts as a common user interface for the cell. The other side of the new controller, robot control, includes a motion controller and axisspecific servo drives. Controlling the movement of the robot and the gripper according to commands coming from the cell control, it in fact acts as the heart of the whole concept. Due to the robot control system, the goals of speed, low energy consumption and feeding braking energy back to the power network are reached. The control system’s software modules are standardized for each application, and fitted to interact with every customer’s own extant systems at installation. For the time being, the concept has been used in a ­variety of applications including testing buffer, palletizing buffer and horizon­ tal palletizing in the tire industry, tray sorting and ­sequencing in mail sorting centers as well as order picking systems for fresh ­produce and goods-to-man order picking systems. The control system’s application range is continuously growing, and novel ­applications are already underway. Pick | 13


New dairy facility system enables

Kroger Co. The Kroger Co., one of the world's largest retailers, employs more than 339,000 associates who serve customers in 2,422 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 790 convenience stores, 344 fine jewelry stores, 1,141 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the U.S.

FASTER PICKING, ACCURACY AND RELIABILITY RMT Robotics, a subsidiary of Cimcorp, recently announced the sale of an automated crate storage and picking system for The Kroger Co. in Denver, Colorado, United States. The equipment will be installed in a new dairy facility, the initial system being operational in the second quarter of 2014. “We look forward to providing Kroger with leading edge technology that will demonstrate the collaboration of solution design between our Finnish head office, Cimcorp, and RMT Robotics”, said Derek Rickard, Distribution Systems Manager, RMT Robotics Ltd. “This solution will be the first application of its kind in North America after having many years of success in the European market.” “The system developed by Cimcorp and RMT Robotics achieves our objectives of faster picking, accuracy and reliability enabling us to give our customers excellent standards of service”, says Larry Noe, Manufacturing

Jugs of milk are inserted into the cases from three separate filling lines, then upstacked 6-high. A conveyor line will hold back a slug of nine stacks before releasing them onto the main infeed conveyor line. For tracking purposes, all nine stacks from the same filling line will convey as one entity to one of the four Multipick gantries.

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Products from outside the plant can be injected into the system via the manual induct station.

Stacks are singulated into the pickup zone where the robot will pick the entire stack and place it in storage. Storage is completely dynamic, which maximizes floor space usage by automatically adapting to ongoing production and picking fluctuations.

Engineering Manager, Kroger Mountain View Foods. “The system will reduce our operational costs, while ensuring customer orders are picked and shipped quickly and accurately.”

30,000 crates per day The system is designed to store up to 36,000 crates and process in excess of 30,000 crates per day. Crates are stacked, accumulated and conveyed to four MultiPick Gantry robots. The robots then move the inventory to storage positions on the floor until order fulfillment. Order pallets are picked by the robots, palletized and banded before being loaded onto a route truck. TEXT: Lori Vaughan PHOTOS: Lori Vaughan, SHUTTERSTOCK

As soon as orders are released for picking the robots start to build customer stacks and place them on the outfeed conveyors. As each stack is placed, data associated with the stack including the target pallet is passed to the outfeed conveyor information system. Data management is an import-­ ant aspect of the system – all characteristics of each case are logged and tracked throughout the system.

The stacks required for a given pallet can come from either a single MultiPick gantry or several. In either event, the conveyor system will control and merge all stacks required for a given pallet in the desired sequence.

The slug of stacks is conveyed to the palletizer where they are automatically palletized and banded. At this point, a label is printed and a marquee screen will inform the operator of the dock destination.

Cimcorp 3D Shuttle

FAST LANE OF ORDER FULFILLMENT First introduced in the beginning of 2013, the new automatic


it in action on our website

storage and retrieval (AS/RS) solution for goods-to-man order picking, Cimcorp 3D Shuttle™, has already proved its competence in intralogistics. The unique AS/RS concept uses proven gantry robot technology – combined with an innovative shuttle device integrated into the gantry – to store and retrieve goods in the plastic crates, totes, bins and containers required for order fulfillment. As a totally new innovation, the robot solution fills a gap in the intralogistics robotics offering by being able to retrieve single crates from floor-based stack storages and delivering them with ultimate speed to a designated point inside the warehouse – whether the operation is run by third party logistics providers or companies themselves. With a retrieval rate of 1,000 crates per hour, it delivers not only the crates needed, but a significant boost for productivity as well. Compared to manual order picking, the system can make order fulfillment six times more efficient. With about 20 deliveries within the first year, Cimcorp 3D Shuttle now has a proven track record of delivering better results in various different applications.

Distribution centers for daily consumer goods Cimcorp 3D Shuttle can take care of a distribution center’s entire operations or, alternatively, it may operate as an ‘island of automation’ w ­ ithin a manual facility. When a particular SKU is required to fulfill an order, the nearest corresponding tote is retrieved and deposited on the shuttle device. The shuttle travels along the gantry and transfers the tote to the outfeed conveyor, which then transports it to a conveyor line that feeds the picking stations. The solution greatly benefits order fulfillment by making deliveries fast and accurate.

Mail tray sequencing

Automotive industry

Based on Cimcorp 3D Shuttle, Cimcorp’s Tray Sequencer is designed to organize trays optim­ ally between the first and second passes of the flat-sorting machines. With trays stacked directly on the floor – without the need for racking – the robot can pick any single tray from anywhere in the three-dimensional storage envelope. It takes the picked tray to a conveyor belt that runs alongside the storage area, returning immediately to its sorting and picking operations. Separation of the tasks of transporting the retrieved tray to the outfeed conveyor and picking significantly increases efficiency.

Designed for plastic crate and tote handling, Cimcorp 3D Shuttle is an ideal solution for ser­ving car assembly lines, storing a wide range of SKUs and retrieving the required items when they are needed. Cimcorp 3D Shuttle allows for “just in time” (JIT) order picking with 100% accuracy and minimum labor. Providing real time inventory records of the component ­storage, Cimcorp 3D Shuttle also enables model changes to be accomplished with little or no redundant stock write off. Text: TOTTI TOISKALLIO PhotoS: ARTO HELIN, SHUTTERSTOCK

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Communication is key For GKN Driveline, the world’s leading manufacturer of automotive driveline components, managing constant change is a necessity. The company’s plant in Köping, Sweden, designs and produces all-wheel drive units for some of the world’s premier automotive manufacturers, with a constant stream of new product variants being introduced.


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Jan Andersson, Project Director, GKN Driveline:

The relationship between GKN and Cimcorp is more than a normal clientsupplier relationship

The Köping factory has its roots in the Swedish car industry, beginning life as a production department of Volvo. Now part of the global GKN Driveline group, the facility manufactures a range of all-wheel drive components, with other components being produced at various GKN Driveline locations in Europe. Its customers own prestigious marques such as Land Rover, Volvo and BMW. As well as driveline solutions, the Köping plant manufactures some automotive chassis components and gears for robots. Driveline product lifetime is generally between 5 and 10 years but the precise design can vary two or three times during this life cycle. When a particular assembly line produces drive units for several car manufacturers and can run up to six variants, it is inevitable that line modifications are required now and then. A new car model normally means a new drive unit variant. Jan Andersson, Project ­Director responsible for Assembly & End-of-line Procurement & Projects at the Köping plant

explains, “The pace of change is most intense when a new product – a PTU (power transfer unit), RDU or RDM (rear drive unit) or FDU (final drive unit) – is introduced and taken into production. The design of a new drive product can change even during the construction of the assembly line on which it is going to be produced. Of course, this not only affects GKN’s operations but it has a huge impact on the suppliers and subsuppliers of the new system.”

Keeping on schedule is critical Adding extra spice to the process of developing a new drive product and getting it into production is the fact that the time schedule set by the car manufacturer must be kept at all costs. In spite of continuous changes during the design process, this time pressure is a constant feature. Although the design and development period of a drive product may be quite long, when it is finally ready the time schedule is always very tight and it must be

brought into production as soon as possible. “Clients never change their launch plans, so GKN has to meet their schedule requirements. Our overriding priority is that we keep to the customer’s project dates,” states Andersson. The ideal situation with a new product is when it can be modeled on the ‘base product’ and fitted into one of the existing production lines. “In our product development,” says Andersson, “we have a base product which we try to keep unmodified, although it is not always possible. When a client wants a new variant, modifications are made to this base product. This includes consideration of the manufacturing technology too. The first priority is that the new variant should be manufactured using the existing assembly lines. That’s why they need to be flexible from the outset. If this is not possible, however, a new line will be designed and purchased. But this is more expensive, of course.”

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Flexibility and communication are paramount Given the need to meet tight schedules, GKN’s system for choosing suppliers considers more than simply quality and cost. ­Other factors in the equation are existing ­relationships with suppliers, experience with ­previous deliveries, lead times and the ­total cost-­effectiveness of the scope of supply – e­ ncompassing not ­only system price but also factors such as design flexibility. According to ­Andersson, excellent communication and a solid working relationship form the basis for a successful project. There is a clear need to work closely with an experienced assembly line supplier that has both a flexible approach and sound project management skills. Five of the ten all-wheel drive assembly lines at GKN Driveline’s Köping plant have been supplied by Cimcorp, with the first installed back in 2003. All five of these lines have been modified in some way by ­Cimcorp 18 | Pick

over the years – including lines being completely rebuilt, moved to a new location on the site or simply upgraded. Jan ­Andersson justifies the longstanding co-operation in terms of experience and efficiency: “Our first choice for a modification is always the ori­ginal supplier of the line. It is simply ­ easier for us and we can be confident that everything will be fine.” Now Cimcorp has been commissioned to deliver its sixth and seventh assembly lines to the Köping factory – one for PTUs and another for FDUs – as solution provider and systems integrator, supplying the lines on a turnkey basis. “Cimcorp has learned that there will ­always be changes, and is prepared for this and able to handle them,” says Andersson. “Actually, Cimcorp handles change very well, working hard to introduce it in the ­fastest and most cost-effective way. Everything is based on the strength of our working rela-

tionship, really – we have to communicate the changes we need clearly, and Cimcorp has to take care of them effectively.”

Safety comes first As you would expect, product ­quality ­demands in the automotive industry are extremely high nowadays. This requires highquality assembly lines that are able to ­manufacture precision-engineered products, day ­after day. In the assembly of drive units, measurements need to be particularly exact. “It is tricky to assemble the product,” explains Jan Andersson, “because it must be precise in every aspect. Cimcorp has under-

Jan Andersson, Project Director, GKN Driveline:

Clients never change their launch plans, so GKN has to meet their schedule requirements. Our overriding priority is that we keep to the customer’s project dates.

stood what the quality factors are and is able to deliver on this.” Alongside ­product q­ uality, personnel safety is a priority. “It used to be that quality was the top priority but now it is safety first,” explains Andersson. “­Cimcorp has grasped the importance of this and is able to design lines that prioritize ­safety. We have a S­ afety Engineer, who checks all proposed systems and gives feedback to sup­ pliers. C ­ imcorp listens, modifies its designs and avoids repeating any mistakes.”

Trust is essential “A close working relationship and clear lines of communication are critical in our dealings with suppliers,” concludes Jan Andersson, “because of the time schedules we are committed to for our clients.” As well as its own personnel, GKN Driveline involves main suppliers and subsystem suppliers in its projects. Experts in all fields meet to ensure that every ­scenario

has been considered and that all parties have the information they need for the project to be successful. In a fitting analogy, the trust ­between client and supplier can be seen as the oil that lubricates a project, easing it to a ­successful conclusion more quickly than would otherwise be possible. “The relationship between GKN and Cimcorp is, I would say, more than a normal client-supplier relationship,” admits Andersson. “It’s a very close co-operation because together we have to find a way of dealing with changing situations rapidly and effectively – communicating, getting answers, ­making a decision, giving the ‘OK’ and going for it! It’s easier nowadays,” he admits, “because we know each other well – we at GKN know what Cimcorp is capable of and Cimcorp’s project team knows what we want. Without a good client-supplier relationship, everything could take twice as long, and that could be enough to put a company out of business.”

GKN Driveline – the world leader in automotive driveline technology – has 22,000 employees at 57 facilities in 23 countries. Working in partnership with vehicle manufacturers – including Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and BMW – the company develops driveshaft and geared component technologies that feature in millions of cars produced every year. As ever, the challenge is to transmit power from the engine to the wheels in the most efficient, ­economical and reliable way possible. The GKN Driveline factory in Köping, Sweden, employs 850 staff in the manu­facture of the all-wheel drive parts of the driveline, meaning PTU (power transfer units), RDU/RDM (rear drive units/ modules) and FDU (final drive units).


the interview of Jan Andersson in our e-magazine

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Business trip over the sea and back

When our project manager Jari Jylli boards a Turku-Stockholm cruise ship, it’s usually for business rather than pleasure. He has a packed day of negotiations with a customer ahead. TeXT: ANNA KORPI-KYYNY PHOTOS: ARTO HELIN, SHUTTERSTOCK


Arrival in Stockholm The journey began the previous evening in Turku. The night on the ferry passed peacefully. In the morning we drive the car off the ship and head for Köping, a town of 25,000 inhabitants. Köping is a port, even though it is situated in the center of Sweden and is about a two-hour drive from Stockholm. The project management team of 2-3 people is on the trip, often accompanied by a sales manager. We drive to our customer GKN’s plant. GKN designs driveline products for the automotive industry. We have supplied the same plant with several assembly lines on a turnkey basis. That means we act as the systems integ­ rator, and the delivery has to include all the equipment required to start up production.


Meeting in Köping

Key elements for success • Change management in the implementation phase of the project • Keeping to the original schedules • Active liaison with the customer and subcontractors

20 | Pick

We start the meeting and go through items concerning the ongoing project. I am the project manager on this project, in other words I am responsible for the overall delivery and liaise with the customer. These kinds of assembly line projects are always tailored according to the pieces to be assembled and customer requirements. They demand extremely close ­collaboration with both the customer and the subcon­ tractors, but above all within our project team, starting right from the sales stage. After the sales stage, we work closely with the customer to find the final concept.

In this case concept means a detailed operational description that defines all the work steps for each operator and piece of equipment. The determining factors for the concept are the cycle time and technical challenges. The gear system components are measured to an accuracy of a thousandth of a millimeter, which places great demands on the whole line.

12:00 Lunch

We go to eat at the cafeteria next to the plant with the customer. The food is traditional Swedish home cooking: this time it is boiled potatoes, baked salmon and a green salad. After lunch the meeting continues, and we go through matters related to previous projects we have supplied. As far as project management is concerned, the most demanding part of my work is project schedule management. This is made particularly challenging by change requests

during the project implementation stage, which often come from changes in the fi­ nal assembled product. Normally, ­modifications have to be carried out so that the overall schedule remains the same. Good cooperation between all parties is an essential condition for meeting these demands. The systematic documentation and logging of what has been agreed is crucial for both sides, because there are so many changes. Changes may occur throughout the project, and even afterwards when the line has already been installed and is operational.

and the project team. Earlier I spent several weeks in Sweden during installation and commissioning, but recently my trips have been negotiation visits of a couple of days. On projects, we usually have two fulltime project managers, one a mechanical expert and the other a control specialist. My responsibility is the control side, which includes coordination of electrical and software design from equipment specification up to the final start-up trip.


Set off on return journey

Plant tour

We go to have a look at the points of change or repair requests on previously installed lines and talk to people we know working there. They also give us some feedback. In the last three years there has been continuous cooperation between the customer


We go back to Stockholm and drive on to the evening ferry. A certain pattern has evolved for ferry crossings, which we usually routinely follow. First of all, we always have a beer and talk over the events of the day. Then we go shopping in the duty free shop and have a salad or something light for supper in the familiar restaurant. The current projects will continue until spring 2014, so there are more ferry trips coming up. Finns and Swedes are fairly similar, so cooperation has been seamless from the start, which is a great thing. Only the hockey world championships in May caused some needling on both sides – depending on which country’s team was doing better.

READ more about the project on page 16 Pick | 21


Big men & small cars Kai Kivekäs owns a rare Scalextric electric car track, collects slotcars, builds his own racing cars and travels around Europe to find out who is the fastest

Scalextric Super 124 24C/603 Jaguar E Type, Nokian Historic Race 22.11.2003

22 | Pick

Scalextric Super 124 24C/501 Ferrari 158, Nokian Historic Race (Open Class). The Rulebook demands 'closed wheels' – so, I did it!

Kivekäs is a motor sports fanatic. In his youth he competed in Enduro and motocross, and he has even tried driving a Formula 1 car. However, it was the hobby of electric cars that got him hooked. “Slotcar racing is a cheap, safe and environment-friendly way to do motor sport,” says Kivekäs. Rare collection in constant use It all started when Kivekäs was a little boy and he and his brother were given an electric car track between them. They really got into the hobby, and this lasted throughout the 1970s. After a ten-year break, his interest in car

Scalextric C18 Ford F3L, Nokian Historic Race 11.12.2004

Kai kivekäs, project manager, Nokian Tyres:

My hobby is also beneficial for my day job in product development at Nokian Tyres. When building racing cars I deal with exotic materials, so technology transfer takes place in both directions.

tracks and collecting them was reawakened. “I collected Scalextric Super 124 track almost all through the 90s until I had got every single piece. I picked up some parts by fax and Internet from all over the world, whatever the cost. The parts that came from the furthest away were from South Africa.” Kivekäs has not counted how much money in total he sunk into his track, but he estimates that in view of its collectible value, the amount was not “outrageously expensive.” Nevertheless, this rare collection is not handled with kid gloves, since the track is in frequent use as the home track of the Nokian Tyres Slot Racing Club. The track length is 33.4 meters and includes a 9-meterlong straight that demands power from the cars and bends that test the skills of the drivers. “As far as I know, there is no other track set up like this anywhere else in the world. This track was manufactured in 1968–70, so the production volumes were really small.”

Handmade racing car Kivekäs has limited his collection to Scalextric and related products, in other words, the set that started off his electric car racing hobby.

Now, in addition to the track, Kivekäs possesses more than 500 different slot cars and a lot of accessories, such as buildings and figurines that can be placed beside the track. Kivekäs says that he is one of those rare collectors who also compete with his slot cars at international level. Building a racing car can take hundreds of hours of work by hand. “First I design the chassis that I am going to race with, and I order the laminated body from a Finnish friend, who does excellent work. The race organizer always supplies the rear wheels and engine,” Kivekäs explains.

level is extremely tough. The best position he has reached in the individual World Championships is third, and in team com­ petitions, his team is fighting this year in the top ten at European level. “Slotcar racing is enjoyed across all continents, so in that way I have made a lot of new friends. My hobby is also beneficial for my day job in product development at Nokian Tyres. When building racing cars I deal with exotic materials, so technology transfer takes place in both directions.” TEXT: ANNA KORPI-KYYNY PHOTOS: vesa tyni, TEPPO MÄKELÄ

Work reaps benefits from hobby A good racing driver needs calmness and concentration, and excellent physical fitness doesn’t do any harm. “With an ordinary automobile you get a basic feel, but for a slot car you have to have good eye, finger and brain coordination. A good sense of rhythm also helps in driving.” Through his hobby, Kivekäs travels to compete in Central Europe, where the

Scalextric C7 Mini Cooper, my birthday present 24.10.1975

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See you at the expos! Logistics Link South February 11–12, 2014, Esher, UK •

CeMAT 2014 May 19–23, 2014, Hannover, Germany •

CIMCORP OY 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, Poland, Pyrzyce Europa Systems Spólka z o.o. phone +48 91 579 0350, Russia, Moscow LLC International Representative House, First Link phone +7 495 223 6839,, Scandinavian countries Gothenburg, Sweden KAP Management phone +46 3126 2512,

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 a strong supplier for retail, food & beverage and postal services sectors. The group has 250 employees and has delivered almost 2,000 robotic systems across five continents.

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 2013/2  

INTELLIGENT MACHINES Shaping the future of everyday life • GKN DRIVELINE - Managing constant change is a necessity • Dietmar Jobes, Continen...

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