About 1,000 people work at GKN's plant in Köping. GKN, which manufactures components for 4-wheel drive vehicles, has been a Prevas customer since 1991. Prevas has created a specially adapted MES solution for the entire plant based on the LIPS platform.
The new solution is a complement that increases safety and improves efficiency for a large number of assembly lines. Prevas is responsible for overall delivery of application software in LIPS, while GKN and other suppliers are responsible for electrical and mechanical solutions, certain aspects of automation and IT hardware.
Assignment: Logistics flow, MES solution based on the LIPS platform.
By streamlining the logistics flow at a larger assembly plant, the time-honored technical giant GKV Driveline can now deliver to more customers in the automotive industry. The background for the new supply solution is in the company's meticulous approach to internal safety.
GKN's history is one of success, with the plant having gone from Volvo as its sole major customer to manufacturing components for a large number of different automotive manufacturers. This has increased the need for more material at the assembly lines.
The new material supply solution enables material to be delivered to assembly in smaller units. From having worked with entire pallets that were delivered with forklifts, the necessary parts are now brought out in boxes, which means that smaller volumes of each part can be moved at a time. An essential advantage of the solution is that less space is required at assembly line storage areas and that less material needs to be handled.
Thomas Möller, Material Handling Engineer, Logistics explains:
“The biggest reason for our changed work process is that we were no longer permitted to use forklifts in assembly out of consideration to employee safety. GKN's motto at all our plants around the world is ‘Think Safe’. If something happens at a plant, anywhere in the world, we immediately assess and analyze the incident, and then implement a corrective measures program to achieve the highest possible safety. The gains in efficiency are naturally a substantial extra bonus. The challenge was in eliminating eight forklifts and finding alternative ways of transporting all the parts that are constantly delivered from our automated main warehouse to the respective assembly lines' local part shelves.
“At GKN we divided the parts into two material types. One is for light materials that are taken from parts withdrawal units in the main warehouse, box by box. These parts units have a specific location and are supplied with pallets with the right parts based on the needs at the various assembly lines. Logistics personnel take out parts based on supply needs and load a ‘logistics moped’, which is then used to drive the parts out to the respective assembly lines and fill the parts shelves. The other material type is delivered on full pallets, which are driven out to parts carts that are docked in the main warehouse. The parts carts are then coupled together into a logistics train that pulls the carts in the train to the assembly lines. Prevas' software solution automatically keeps track of parts levels on the lines' pallets and requests replenishing when levels reach a predefined point. To avoid material shortages, we always have two pallets at the assembly lines – one active and one for backup. The optimized logistics flow has greatly improved efficiency in assembly.”
Do you want to know more about this project or find out what Prevas can do for you, please contact us.
Håkan Serner, e-mail