Wettenberg/Gießen 02.08.2021. As a family business, the SMS group is a heavyweight in the truest sense of the word. Globally positioned, the company is a leading partner to the metals and non-ferrous metals industries. SMS supplies plants and technologies to produce, process and recycle all major metals. The company’s commitment is to the success of its customers and the pursuit of value creation along the entire value chain of the global metals industry.
As part of its DNA, the SMS group describes a high quality standard and great innovative strength. Thus, the company sees itself as a pioneer for a carbon-neutral and sustainable metals industry, with a key role in transforming the world of metals.
Adaptation of the production warehouse of the SMS group at the Hilchenbach site to Industry 4.0 with TELOGS
With the modernization of the production warehouse at the Hilchenbach site, the SMS group takes a further step towards future security. The company TELOGS from Wettenberg (Gießen), which specializes in RetroFit, provides support for the modern digitization of the warehouse. In the past, the long-standing partnership focused on the modernization of the electrical engineering in addition to the renewal of mechanical components of the production warehouse. As part of the digitization of operating processes, the renewal of the material flow and system control of the production warehouse in Hilchenbach has now been tackled. Holger Langenberg, Head of Intralogistics at SMS, comments: “We commissioned TELOGS to carry out a risk assessment. The need for adaptation to the current state of the art was identified. With the subsequent retrofit, process improvements such as the elimination of the manual I-point were also implemented and the automation was brought to a future-proof level.”
The fine art – retrofit during operation
The greatest challenge of the retrofit project was seen by both companies in implementing the complete retrofit during ongoing operation without risking a significant impact on production supply. The two-aisle automatic high-bay warehouse comprises about 3,600 pallet spaces with a normal capacity utilization of about 250 pallets per early shift. Approx. 1,500 trays are used in the two-aisle small parts warehouse. The conversion largely took place during the night hours, so that warehouse operations were secured during the regular operating hours between 06:00 and 15:00. Both companies cite excellent collaboration with goal-oriented project coordination for the success of the project. The production supply was not affected at any time.
Future-proof controls with SAP using state-of-the-art technology
According to TELOGS, comprehensive adjustments were made to renew the control system: The central control cabinet was replaced with a model designed by TELOGS using EPlan8, equipped with current PLC hardware from Siemens (S71500) and the corresponding PLC control programs were rewritten. At the same time, the control of the drives and the sensors in the field was changed to a decentralized “Profinet” field bus system. Among other things, this has made it possible to reduce the number of lines, which means a reduction in possible sources of error. The warehouse is currently operated under SAP ERP ECC and the Warehouse Management (WM) submodule. By using interface software integrated by TELOGS, the warehouse can later be linked to SAP/S4HANA. The production warehouse of the SMS group in Hilchenbach is thus well prepared for the future.
I-Point replaced by barcode scanner
The retrofit project also included the dissolution of the manual I-point, with its manual identification of stock. The task is now taken over by an automated system with barcode scanner. In addition to the increase in efficiency and improved quality, Holger Langenberg sees other advantages: “The additional automation has reduced the operator capacity from two to three people to one person. We were able to make good use of this employee potential for other activities.”
Reftrofit – what are the benefits?
TELOGS cites a number of advantages for the SMS group resulting from the retrofit. For example, Jürgen Dönges, retrofit specialist and managing director of TELOGS, reports improved technical availability and an increase in safety according to today’s standards – which was the trigger for the project. “Retrofit is not always the right solution,” says Jürgen Dönges, “but very often our analyses and the subsequent key figures show that there is enormous potential here to increase efficiency for our customers. It doesn’t always have to be a completely new warehouse; a lot can still be taken out of the inventory for our customers.” Reduced energy consumption, for example, is also part of this. And also the improved mapping of warehouse processes with more key figures, in order to be able to derive more targeted management measures. The result of the retrofit for the SMS group is, for example, that the system control is now visualized. This offers more convenience and a better overview of the processes, says Jürgen Dönges. “Before, we had a very machine-oriented visualization. Now the focus is on visual control of the processes and obtaining more process data.”
“The cooperation with TELOGS in the joint retrofit project was extremely cooperative. Our mutually open and honest communication and joint willingness to find solutions and compromises was crucial to the success of this measure, which is so important for us. The cooperation with TELOGS has already ensured the high availability of our plants for many years.”
Holger Langenberg, Head of Intralogistics Global Supply Chain Management, SMS group
Key Account Manager
In the east park 25
Key Account Manager
In the east park 25