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Installed vertical lift module a first in SA

Home Manufacturing & Processing Installed vertical lift module a first in SA

THE first South African Gonvarri Tornado ninth generation Vertical Lifting Module (VLM) was designed and installed for ACDC Dynamics (ACDC), a market leader in the supply of electrical components for the automation, commercial, industrial, and mining sectors. The VLM from Logistics Systems Engineering (LSE) was designed to improve the efficiency of ACDC’s warehouse.

It is an ultra-fast, virtually noiseless, computer-controlled storage and transfer lift. Using minimal floor space, this innovative storage system automatically optimises loaded goods on trays, substantially increasing picking rates while offering security on high-risk items.

“Only once it was installed and operational, did we realise the machine’s speed and versatility, a definitive advantage compared to conventional VLMs, enabling us to serve our customers better. The capacity from LSE’s VLM allows us to increase productivity in storing and picking,” says ACDC CEO, Mario Maio. “The ninth generation Tornado VLM, which is 12 100 mm high, carries the same quantity as four competitor VLMs currently in our warehouse – and is close to three times faster. The technology and features incorporated into the Gonvarri Tornado VLM are beyond any other solution we have experienced or reviewed,” he adds. The VLM is aesthetically pleasing and well-engineered from an automation perspective.

The official handover to ACDC occurred at the beginning of the second quarter of 2024. The VLM has already demonstrated the effectiveness and accuracy of its delivery system by accelerating delivery times and enabling simultaneous retrieval of multiple trays. This improvement has increased the company’s picking rates and handling efficiency by up to 65%. The VLM continuously optimises the heights of trays, finding the most appropriate space to accommodate storage units of various product sizes and heights. This HOT (Height Optimisation of Trays) feature has been an extraordinary advantage. Each tray in the VLM measures four metres wide by 820 mm deep and has a standard capacity of 500 kg.

When deciding to make this purchase, ACDC was swayed by the VLM’s functionality. “Its functionality is equivalent to having six additional personnel managing stock. The ability to utilise every millimetre of space is extraordinary,” says warehouse manager, Floris Venter.
The scope of work saw LSE carry out machine specification design, functional design, delivery, installation, commissioning, and personnel training.

The VLM is also designed with LSE’s TCPlus System, a warehouse management system (WMS) that seamlessly interfaces with the customer’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

“The project was engineered, manufactured, programmed and shipped from Finland,” explains Fred Albrecht, LSE CEO.

“As the exclusive Gonvarri distributor and partner, we conducted the installation and commissioning in just eight days. The installation was, however, made more complex due to the confined space in which the VLM had to be installed.”

A simplified process

With a user-friendly interface, the VLM is easy to use. “It simplifies our processes,” says Venter. “It allocates space based on product height and precisely indicates the location of each tray.” When the ERP system calls a tray for picking, all orders are populated on the interface screen and then loaded sequentially. “However,” adds Venter, “we can implement various rules during the picking process, such as prioritising the most crucial orders for execution.” The VLM is equipped with safety barriers and light curtains that stop it from operating when an alarm is triggered, which helps guarantee personnel safety.

Commenting on the VLM’s innovation, Albrecht says, “The entire system is Industry 4.0 ready, taking storage and picking space to the next level.” “It offers numerous advantages to us,” adds Venter. “ACDC’s order,” adds Albrecht, “which was one of the first global orders, was South Africa’s first order, and there are now close to 1,000 units installed worldwide.”

High-value items

In addition to boosting picking rates, the VLM ensures the safe storage and transfer of high-value items through a secure password system. “Simply put,” Venter explains, “it provides a safe risk environment and can be managed by a single dedicated controller.” Proving the system’s security, this specific VLM-type is used by pharmaceutical companies for scheduled drugs and by police departments to store and retrieve confiscated firearms, to name only two examples.

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