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Automated handling system optimises efficiency and space

An automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) is enabling the Lear Corporation factory at Coventry to triple the output of car seats to over 300,000 sets a year in hundreds of different specifications and meet its customer’s just-in-time delivery schedules.

The ASRS designed and installed by Nottingham-based Gebhardt European Conveyor Systems Ltd takes components from multi-level storage racking to the production area with minimal manual handling and also replenishes stock, which has freed floor space for production and improved productivity, safety and efficiency.

The racking can store over 20,000 trays of products in two sizes and is served by 14 multi-level shuttles (MLS) in four of the aisles and a single mini-load crane in the central fifth aisle.  This design has a potential throughput of 770 trays/hour to picking stations where items for each order are assembled.  Totes with completed orders are delivered by conveyor to a specific drop point in the assembly area.

The ASRS system also enables 185 trays/hour to be delivered from an incoming induction area into the racking.  The shuttles and crane are compact and fast-moving, allowing Lear to have the maximum amount of storage while also achieving the throughput required.  All products can be stored in all parts of the system. 

The Gebhardt warehouse control system controls all high-level functions in the automation, such as the routing of the trays on the ASRS and the conveyor systems, the location of the trays in the ASRS, the linking of products with the tray identification, and it also manages the operator (HMI) screens on the system.

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