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ABB Smart Power: Clear and smooth material flows with automated warehouse Agilon
ABB Oy, Smart Power acquired its second automated Konecranes Agilon® warehouse system shortly after the first one to improve the efficiency of its operations. The system also freed up coveted floor space and improved employee safety.
ABB Smart Power’s plant in Vaasa is in full operation. The market leader’s switches are in high demand for energy-efficient uninterruptible power supplies for solar energy, backup power, data center and industrial solutions. Every year, some three million switches, ranging from fist-sized solutions to massive products of hundreds of kilograms, are shipped across the world.
Just over six months later, in 2022, the second Agilon system was installed in the receipt of goods during internal logistics development.
We wanted to offer better ergonomics and a higher level of safety for picking employees; and moving them away from forklift routes.
We needed to increase our box storage space in logistics. Various odds and ends were on pallet shelves, which is not a smart way to store items considering the use of space or picking efficiency. In addition, we wanted to offer better ergonomics and a higher level of safety for picking employees, and moving them away from forklift routes,” Project Manager Jussi Pirskanen says.
We also wanted an advanced system to minimize errors resulting from manual picking and increase accuracy
Marcus Mattila, Planning and Fulfillment Specialist, underlines the need to clarify the use of space and material flows. “We specifically wanted storage space for smaller items. We also wanted an advanced system to minimize errors resulting from manual picking and increase accuracy,” he says.
Agilon batch picking
The 72-meter-long and 6.1-meter-tall Agilon system was installed in only a few weeks, which both Pirskanen and Mattila highlight as one of the advantages of the modular structure. The goal is that roughly a third of all the parts and components required in production pass through Agilon at the right time for the production process.
The system is equipped with four access points, two robots and a parallel picking. It is integrated into the plant’s SAP system, from which picking lists can be sent to picking employees at only a few hours’ notice. In March 2023 ABB deployed an automated batch-picking immediately after Konecranes completed its development.
Batch picking saves considerable time, because we have many of the same work orders from Agilon, which often contain the same components.
"Batch picking saves considerable time, because we have many of the same work orders from Agilon, which often contain the same components. Our warehouse workers have been very satisfied with this functionality and its clarity and ease", says ABB Smart Power Planning & Fulfillment Specialist Aleksi Laitinen.
“The Agilon automated batch picking functionality makes it possible to combine several picking lists into one via Agilon’s user interface. In batch picking, picking lists containing the same items are be picked even faster”, explains Agilon Consulting Services Manager Juho Kuisma.
Data is always available, and warehouse modifiable
As the new Agilon is a relatively new addition to the receipt of goods, employees are still studying and developing its use. “The system is now 70 to 80 per cent full, and we are constantly transferring more items into it from storage shelves. We are also accelerating picking processes, which means that we are only taking our first steps in the use of Agilon,” Pirskanen says. He is actively monitoring all the data available in the Agilon portal regarding picking rates and the circulation of items, among others.
The system is a perfect fit in a plant environment, and we can use storage space from floor to ceiling and get rid of storage shelves.
Both Pirskanen and Mattila name the system’s impact on the cleanliness of storage spaces, and its expandability and modifiability as its advantages. “The system is a perfect fit in a plant environment, and we can use storage space from floor to ceiling and get rid of storage shelves,” they say.