Kitting From Carousels Increases Forney's Productivity, Lowers Space Requirements

"The material stored in these carousels would otherwise require 66% more floor space"

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The customer:

Forney International

The application:

Store and pick components for the burner management system manufacturing process.

The situation:

Forney International is a leading manufacturer and integrator of burner management systems. Forney stored its small parts on double-tiered static shelving. Walking up and down the aisles and stairs to access parts wasted valuable time and energy, slowing the production process and increasing the chances for error and rework. It also occupied more area than it needed to.

The desired solution:

  • Fast access to kit components
  • Increased accuracy
  • Reduce floor space required
  • Speed the manufacturing process

Solution implemented:

Two Vertical Carousels. To assure fast and accurate kitting, Forney selected a computer controlled vertical carousel system. The 22 pan carousels utilize a split shelf design to provide 44 levels of storage capacity. A 2400 series vertical carousel holds up to 800 pounds per pan with a total capacity of 25,000 pounds. One carousel stores mechanical parts, while the other stores electronic components. Since a static electricity discharge could compromise the integrity of a component, the carousels are equipped with anti-static floor pads, counter mats and wristbands.

There are three types of orders picked from the carousels: a "kit for sub-assemblies," "spares or repair" orders, and "requisition" orders. When a purchase order comes in, the MIS department enters it. Each order is then broken into sub-assemblies, and a corresponding routing document or "traveler" for the sub-assembly is printed.

Orders requiring parts from the carousels are automatically downloaded to a PC and queued at each carousel. The software determines commonality between orders and directs the batch pitching operation. Up to eight kits can be picked simultaneously from a single carousel rotation.

Totes with anti-static liners are set up on the conveyor next to the carousel. Large orders require a full tote, small orders can use one tote divided into eight cells. As new orders are downloaded from MIS they are automatically queued.

When the operator selects a pick, a label is automatically printed and the carousel rotates to the first pick. The picker places the specified number of items in a bag, seals it and applies the label. The bag is then placed in the proper tote or cell. This process continues until all of the items are picked. The completed kit is then delivered to one of the nine workstations within the facility.

Spares and repair orders are handled in the same manner as a sub-assembly kit except the tote is delivered to the shipping department. Requisition orders are created when there is a change in the required parts. The order is entered into the host computer. The original parts are returned to inventory and new parts are picked and delivered to the workstation. Forney uses a "Dock to Stock" method of replenishing their inventory.

When materials are received, inventory is entered into the host computer. A label is generated with the part number and pan location. This is then placed on a cart and replenished between picks.

The results:

This system allows Forney to quickly and accurately store and pick components required for manufacturing while reducing floor space requirements. Additionally, the carousel delivers the requested items to a conveniently positioned work counter. Dan Sparrow, materials handling manager stated, "We eliminated probably half of our stock room by utilizing the carousels-floor space wise. So now, instead of running all over the stock room, an operator can stand in front of the carousel, access the shelves one at a time, pick his eight kits, turn and put them on the conveyor."

With the installation of two vertical carousels, Forney has eliminated the need for a second tier of shelving, and dramatically increased efficiency by reducing the amount of climbing, stretching and bending required.

"The material stored in these two carousels would otherwise have required 66 percent more square feet of floor space if stored on standard shelving. Because of the carousels, we've become more productive - our sales volume is the same, but we're doing it with 25 percent fewer people."