Case Study: Manufacturing
A global manufacturing company partnered with Miebach to increase the production capacity of one of their manufacturing facilities located in the Southeastern United States. The client anticipated future production volume at the site to increase due to strong demand of current products, along with the upcoming launch of a new product. Current production utilized a high level of automation, and there was a desire to integrate additional automation within areas of facility where it did not currently exist.
The areas identified for added automation were raw material storage and picking, as well as material transportation to and from the production lines. Miebach utilized the client's historical data and 5-year growth projections to develop the design requirements for the masterplan of the site and accommodate new automation capabilities.
Site Masterplan Solution
The company’s robust growth in the next five years was simply not achievable within their current production footprint. Therefore, a new production space doubling available production lines would be required. The new masterplan sized the production space to accommodate growth while increasing efficiency among current processes and seamlessly integrating automation.
As the company’s existing warehouse was off-site and increased the lead time for raw materials to reach the facility, a new on-site warehouse connected to production would enable automation to easily bring raw materials to and from the warehouse and production space. The additional production space and on-site warehouse added nearly 273,000 square feet to the existing site, with plenty of room for expansion still available if the company experiences further growth.
Automation Solution Design
Two types of automation were proposed: AGV turret trucks and Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs). Within the new warehouse, Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) racking would be utilized to store pallets of raw materials. AGV turret trucks retrieve pallets from designated handoff points at the beginning of each racking aisle and transport the pallets to their appropriate storage location. Four turret trucks were able to quickly access the warehouse’s approximately 30,000 pallet positions, as the trucks can easily navigate across multiple racking aisles.
Twelve AGVs were required to properly accommodate all material movements within the warehouse and production. The movements were divided into two segments: first, AGVs transport raw materials from the warehouse to production lines. Then once production is complete, AGVs pick up pallets of finished goods and deliver them to the outbound shipping docks.
Developing a site masterplan in conjunction with increasing automation capabilities unlocked many benefits for the client. This cohesion accelerated production rates, as daily production volume could be increased 200% in two years and 250% in four years. Despite adding 273,000 square feet of warehouse and production space, automation would eliminate the need for repetitive human contact with pallets, and labor subsequently would be decreased by 30%. Bringing the warehouse on-site also would enable cost savings annually in leasing and transportation expenses associated with the off-site warehouse. Between labor and 3PL, the client will be able to reduce expenses at the site by over $1M annually.