Zoller is a market leader in tool management, presetting and measuring technology solutions for manufacturing processes. In January 2018, Zoller expanded in North America with a new 44,000-square-foot headquarters. At the center is an 8,800-square-foot Industry 4.0 Technology Center, where vertical lift modules (VLMs) demonstrate a complete tool management solution.
Zoller uses three 26-foot shuttle VLMs (Kardex Remstar) in the Tech Center for spare parts handling. The company picks and ships spare parts daily to customers throughout North America. Orders are sent directly from their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to the VLMs for fulfillment. The VLMs deliver the tray with the correct part to the worker and use a light-directed system to ensure accuracy.
Upon tray delivery, the transaction information center (TIC) located beneath the access opening illuminates to direct the operator to the exact location of the tool required. The TIC can be programmed to display the tool identification number and quantity to pick next to the pick location arrow. This aids the operator in locating the tool faster and picking the correct tool.
“Managing our spare parts inventory with shelving would have required double the floor space,” says Alexander Zoller, president of Zoller. “The VLMs are also much more efficient—workers shouldn’t have to run around looking for parts in shelving.”
Zoller says the VLMs are also the most efficient way to keep parts secure, clean and organized in a compact footprint.
“Year-end inventory is also much easier and more convenient,” he says. Inventory is counted and reconciled twice a year. Upon request, the VLM presents each tray for a physical count and the inventory is easily reconciled in the Zoller software.
“When we built the new facility,” Zoller says, “we organized the Tech Center in such a way that we can simply add more VLMs as our business increases.”