Discrete and Process Automation

Digitalized material flow with eKanban and tracking of mobile load carriers

01 June 2022

Uninterrupted data and information flow is a key prerequisite for the digitalization of material flow in production and assembly. Frequently, however, the information chain breaks down at the "last hurdle," or its precision leaves a lot to be desired — for example, when staff request replenishments via hand scanners.

At the International Trade Show for Intralogistics Solutions and Process Management (LogiMAT), Steute will be presenting a system that promotes material flow transparency and thus more precise (requisition) control. A wireless network on the shop floor employs special sensors to detect when a box is removed from an eKanban rack. Other types of sensors detect pallets or individual packages on pallets, whileSource: SteuteSource: Steute others are installed in tugger train and dolly "stations," recording the path of components and containers within the assembly area.

All signals — resulting in a digital and complete visualization of the material flow — are transmitted wirelessly to a sensor bridge, which in turn communicates via an interface with superordinate IT systems for material flow management (ERP, PPC and WMS).

This leads to truly uninterrupted information flow, providing transparency from the supply of parts to the materials stations and "supermarkets" to the assembly points. Thus nexy — as this wireless and sensor-based system solution is called — not only represents a requisition system that is tailored to individual needs without bottlenecks or excess stock; it also provides users with a data set allowing them active, improved and continually optimized control over material flow.

Last but not least, nexy is a platform facilitating the control and organization of additional functions — for example the transfer of containers from stationary conveyors to automated guided vehicles (AGV), the operation of signaling columns or stack lights, as well as the integration of Andon buttons for manual consignment. For these and other applications, pre-configured software modules are available.

The latest developments within the nexy wireless network will be presented by Steute at the LogiMAT, scheduled for May 31 through June 2, 2022, in Stuttgart, Germany, with the focus on eKanban applications and dolly/tugger train monitoring. Visit Steute in Hall 5, booth D 45.

To contact the author of this article, email engineering360editors@globalspec.com

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